I got back from a short trip last week and headed to the Duty Free Arrival Store near the NAIA Airport to pick up a few things. I have bad karma in this building and EVERY single time I go there something outrageous or ridiculous happens. On a bad day, I view this place as a microcosm of everything that has gone so incredibly WRONG in our national economy and view of the world. I won’t go into THAT heavy discussion now, but I will write a quick post on my most recent amusing (thank goodness) exchange with one of their staff members…
At the registration counter last Friday, I was greeted by a pleasant staff member seated at her computer terminal. She asked me for my passport, she flipped through it and asked where I arrived from, punched my name into the computer and my “file” came on-screen. I could see the terminal screen from where I stood, albeit upside down. She checked my name, properly spelled, passport number, and when she got to the first line of my address, she read:
Address: “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS”
To which, without skipping a heartbeat she asked me: “Ay sir, Makati pa rin kayo?” (Oh Sir, are you still residing in Makati?) And I answered, “Oo.” (Yes.) Hahaha. Confused?
Well, the last time I was at Duty Free several months ago, the person manning the computer insisted on updating my address on file, which dated back some 20 years and which had long since changed. They were quite aggressive and when they pressed me for my new home address, I told them that in fact it was “NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS” and that they had no right to know nor any good use for my personal details. There was no Philippine law that forced me to give the details up in order to buy chocolate or cologne or Charmin toilet paper. And in fact I had some degree of legal protection as to my rights to privacy. So like a well-trained and totally shell-shocked data encoder, they obviously then typed in “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS” to the first line of my address…
Let me just say that when you register at buildings and give your ID’s, do you really think an impending terrorist or bomb specialist is going to leave their real personal information? Get a grip. The guards don’t even check what you write down. I know of someone who writes “Shah of Iran,” or “Emperor of China” or Robert Redford and in decades of gatekeeper registrations, they have NEVER once been stopped or asked for identification that matches what they wrote on those infuriatingly narrow lined pieces of paper on clipboards… So there. When the next person asks you to divulge your home address and there is no REAL INTELLIGENT reason for you to give it up, just politely but firmly say “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!” :)