Here’s a general mindset of Indonesians, in action. The individual rather than the group, the specific issuer rather than the brand.
Conversation I had in a retail store yesterday, trying to purchase a steering wheel lock for my wife:
Me: (hands over item)
Clerk: That’ll be Rp. 155.000,00
Me: (hands over MasterCard)
Clerk: (ponders over the card for awhile)
Clerk: Where is this from?
Me: What is where from?
Clerk: This card, which bank?
Me: Canadian bank
Clerk: Oh, foreign huh? (Note: Is there a territory named Canada in Indonesia I wonder???)
Clerk: Have any other card?
Me: No, what is the matter?
Clerk: I’m afraid this might not get processed
Me: (It’s a MasterCard for crying out loud, it should be accepted anywhere a MasterCard logo is displayed!!!)
Me: Of course it’ll go through, it’s a MasterCard, doesn’t matter who or what issued it!
Clerk: (Runs the transaction through and what do you know, it works) (duh!).
This is quite mind boggling for me. Somehow the clerk’s concept of a credit card is still wrapped around the fact that it’s issued by a specific bank instead of a bank using the MasterCard brand, as if a MasterCard issued by a foreign bank would be rejected just because the transaction is in Indonesia. Such a narrow mindset makes me wonder just how ready Indonesia is for globalization.