I have written on other occasions that most Chileans like to be liars, cheats and thieves, but none wants to  be known as such or to be caught red handed (pillado). Another aspect of Chilean culture is that no Chilean wants to take responsibility for errors or problems he causes. He will always blame someone else or the person that complains.

For instance, I have a swimming pool (image source) membership and the times for free swim are posted under the website tab called horarios (open hours). However, like in so many places in Chile, the management of the fitness club is poor. They arbitrarily change rules and opening hours. In the case of the pool, they decided to rent the lanes and close free swim for several blocks of time during the week. They did put a notice in an obscure part of the website (current events section) which contradicted what was listed under the horarios tab. In other words, someone neglected to update the main hours section of the website. The trouble is that members are more likely to look at the obvious place, the horarios tab, to see what the free swim times are. The result? Wasted time and conflict when one shows up to swim and cannot do so.

The administration, not wanting to admit fault, blames the customer and member for checking the website to see if there is contradictory information. They also point out that they laser printed a schedule that they keep behind the desk and if one would simply read that paper then they would have known. Very stupid. Old folks like me leave their eyeglasses in the car since they are not needed to swim. Not only that, many non-Chilean natives are not accustomed to snooping behind the desk for calendars or notices.

The biggest problem is not just this fitness club. The issue is that many businesses in Chile are similarly poorly run. People are neither careful nor thorough in collecting facts or presenting information. In fact commercial information is often irresponsible and based on childish research. (Think: here’s a business opportunity!) They will often not admit they are wrong and are loathe to take the blame for any problem. So just get used to it.

Check out this free book of Chilean slang phrases dealing with corruption and blame shifting: Diccionario del Corrupto de la Lengua – Súmate al Chile Sin Corrupción.

If you are going to live in Chile you are going to experience this sort of thing time and again. If you approach any situation knowing that you will possibly be disappointed and dissatisfied, then the likelihood of being enraged and having a really bad day is greatly diminished.

Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.