Introducing the new "I Know A Guy" Category
Tuesday, December 18 2007 @ 08:29 AM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - In Panama one of the most important things you accumulate over time are contacts, especially for people to do "stuff." Usually it's little things that are both incredibly handy and indispensable - like a guy with a pickup truck and a helper to move some furniture. Or even a better example would be all of the postings I've put up for the world's best car mechanic, Alvaro. I would like to see this category used by everyone for both recommendations and warnings, but if we're going to get into that territory there has to be some minor rules... (more)
Registered Users: In order to post to this category you will have to please first register as a user. It's easy to do - just create an account and log on. That way at the very least your recommendations will show up as "Contributed by PapaJohn" (or, whatever you choose as your user name, which can be anything.) This protects me somewhat legally, because if there's some electrician out there that someone wants to complain heartily about, it's not me doing it but rather the person that the electrician ripped off. So, if he finds out about it he can go complain to them (and not me.)
A Valid Email Address: In order to register there is a "real person filter" mostly to keep the spammers at bay. You have to create a user account using a "Captcha" filter, meaning one of those things where you have to type in the letters and numbers that appear in a box. Then, your login and password information are sent to your email address. This loop allows me to make sure that the person who is registering and logging in is a real person and not just a machine.
Recommendations: Remember the saying "if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all." I would rather this section be used more for favorable recommendations than random bitch sessions. Like, try to keep it positive unless you had a really terrible experience from hell. For example, once I made the mistake of asking a guy to install some floor tiles for me. He did the job, but it looked like crap. It was not really his fault, and it was only a few tiles, but the mistake was more mine than his. No need for that kind of thing...
Echo With Comments: Say I post an article about an electrician, and then based on my recommendation you use the guy and it turns out great. The best way to "echo" or add your two bits would be to just add a comment to my base article, something that says "yeah, I used this guy too and it worked out fine..." You can also use the rating system (five is better) to rank or rate the articles with a single mouse click.
Help Your Local Panamanian: This can be your opportunity to help direct work toward people who have done a good job and who should be getting a little extra work. If we all use this, then we can (over time) create a kind of directory or bulletin board of general workers that we all need at one time or another.
Information To Include: At a minimum please include the person's name, cell phone number, what he did for you (type of work) and how it turned out. Also please include what you paid so the newbies know what's a fair price or at least a ballpark figure to start negotiations. Also, please indicate level of English language capability, which is an issue for a lot of people. If you're really a happy camper, please include (or send to email@example.com via email) a photo of the person so that people know who to expect when the guy knocks on the door. Safety and security, crosscheck, verify, etc.
Post Your "Want Ads" Here: You can also use this category to ask others for recommendations. Like "I need someone to install an air conditioner..." Again, the responses will pile up into a resource that's useful to everyone.
It Will Be What You Make It: I will be posting things here, but this category in particular will rely on the participation of a lot of people in order to make it useful and valuable. So, dig through your cell phone and find that guy who did that thing back then, because he did a good job and Christmas is coming. Santa will be watching for that "one good turn deserves another" kind of stuff, or else it might be coal in the stocking for you, fat man...
Copyright 2007 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.