11 Nov2008

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:

City: Makati

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!” :)



  1. chinkee says:

    That makes perfect sense:-) Will definitely take note of that…

    Nov 11, 2008 | 3:57 pm


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  3. MarketFan says:

    Then we’re neighbors pala, MM. I live near “None of your business” ha ha ha.

    Nov 11, 2008 | 4:22 pm

  4. Lei says:

    i will also bear this in mind MM. thanks for the tip. gives me an idea to write down the name of my favorite actress hahahaha!

    Nov 11, 2008 | 4:43 pm

  5. nina says:

    Well, here in Qatar, it’s all P.O. Boxes. Physical address almost has no use and everyone just refer to nearest landmark :)

    Nov 11, 2008 | 5:10 pm

  6. RobKSA says:

    I actually wrote something similar on my last trip to that duty free building and my wife said why are you saying that. I told her that is what you have to put as it is really none of their business to know where you live. I think they use or sell the information to marketers or some sorts? Next time, I’ll remember the exact words “none of your business”, hahaha.

    Nov 11, 2008 | 5:26 pm

  7. zena says:

    Very useful tip!

    Nov 11, 2008 | 5:38 pm

  8. mojito_drinker says:

    hi mm – hahaha, my friends do that all the time! =)

    Nov 11, 2008 | 5:47 pm

  9. annette says:

    Do we need to write the complete address?? No way! Its really NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!!

    Nov 11, 2008 | 5:55 pm

  10. bernadette says:

    sometimes I say to myself, kawawa naman sila so I’ll just be kind. But then when they ask me in a perky yet robotic way, I would really like to say “none of your &*()% business!”
    Don’t send people to study in AMA—!

    Nov 11, 2008 | 6:25 pm

  11. Quillene says:


    This made my day!

    Thank you, MM!

    Nov 11, 2008 | 6:32 pm

  12. miles says:

    interesting….. will remember this when i am harassed by people asking for personal info again :)

    Nov 11, 2008 | 7:36 pm

  13. cumin says:

    So true! Have always hated it when, upon entering a building, guards pester me to register so in the past year I’ve confidently written Angelina Jolie. If any reader identifies himself as Brad Pitt, shall we meet up? :)

    Nov 11, 2008 | 8:20 pm

  14. ECC says:

    Some stores in the U.S. ask you for your phone number when you check out. They say it is because it will facilitate returns when you don’t have the receipt (which is true). But, in reality, what they really want to do is a reverse search to get your address. They share/sell the information with other retailers and then they bombard you with ads. Junk mail are a waste of resources – in our household, they go straight to the trash.

    Nov 11, 2008 | 8:55 pm

  15. shalimar says:

    My first few months here in the US it irked me so much that they asked for my email address.
    I always reply IS THAT REALLY NECESSARY?

    Nov 11, 2008 | 9:02 pm

  16. TJ Monserrat says:

    This is the first entry I’ve ever read and it quite made my day (err… night) hehehe…

    None of your business… and they really typed it… hahahaha

    Nov 11, 2008 | 9:21 pm

  17. Raneli says:

    Thats a swell tip MM- am thinking of writing down in the future, “Leave me alone”!

    Nov 11, 2008 | 9:24 pm


    also in shoemart malls, they always ask if you have sm advantage card. i just answer WALA. so my falling in line is faster plus people will not see that i don’t have money. he he he.

    Nov 11, 2008 | 9:40 pm

  19. FoodJunkie says:

    He He MM! It is late in the afternoon, I am alone in the office, the weather is wet and grim and your post really made me laugh! On a more serious note, I think you are absoloutely right!

    Nov 11, 2008 | 10:08 pm

  20. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    I’ve written “White House” as my address.

    Nov 11, 2008 | 10:34 pm

  21. solraya says:

    In a coffee bar, when they ask your name, it is because to call you after your order is ready. But in a Chowking..when after you pay and given a number for the server to know where to serve you…why do they ask what your name is? I replied “what good will it do to you? No reason to have it”…ahhahha its as if they say “thank you (your name)”. They don’t anyway.

    Nov 11, 2008 | 10:35 pm

  22. myra_p says:

    When asked at Starbucks, my young son said his name was Free. He had a nice laugh when his order was called out: “Mocha Frapuccino for Free!” Corny, but the barista played along and made a kid happy.

    Nov 11, 2008 | 11:28 pm

  23. cheesehead says:

    It is quite amusing that everyone writes “OB” under “Reason or Purpose” in those clipboards.

    Nov 11, 2008 | 11:34 pm

  24. mabuhay says:

    sir MM, dont get me wrong. im a big fan. i respect you a lot. while i do agree that it is none of my business, why should it be such a big deal to give your “real” address?

    sana hindi lumaki ang inyong ulo . . .


    Nov 12, 2008 | 12:43 am

  25. Maria Clara says:

    Got you – like your stride.

    Nov 12, 2008 | 12:59 am

  26. ted says:

    Most stores here in the SF bay area have stopped asking for phone numbers, they are now just asking for your zip code. I guess they need this demographic surveys to find out if non-area residents are coming to their business.

    Nov 12, 2008 | 1:04 am

  27. ted says:

    mabuhay, it’s what you call “PRIVACY”

    Nov 12, 2008 | 1:07 am

  28. sylvia says:

    mabuhay, there really is no reason for Duty Free to know one’s address other than for the purpose of sending you junk mail in the future. Mail that we do not need or want. In this day and age, one really needs to be wary of disclosing too much personal information. You never know who else is going to see that info and use it for their own agenda.

    Nov 12, 2008 | 2:45 am

  29. Tasha says:

    I love this! I give mine when asked if I wanted to be in their mailing list, but I have not given it a thought why Duty Free would want the address.

    Like your site!

    Nov 12, 2008 | 3:14 am

  30. Marketman says:

    mabuhay, it is about your privacy. It is about avoiding unsolicited marketing materials and junk mail. It is about getting calls for real estate you don’t want and don’t need. It is about the fact that they DON’T need your address for any legitimate purpose that would help your shopping experience. Do you need to give your address to shop at the duty free shop in the airport on departure or arrival? No. Do you need to give your address when you buy some prescription or non-prescription drugs at Mercury Drug Store? No. (Which, by the way would make more sense than at duty free as the abuse of drugs is more likely than the abuse of hershey’s chocolate…though they have limited sales of liquor as well…) My resisting to give personal information being equated with having a big head is like my equating your having a small head for not understanding the issues at play, it is a totally dumb analogy. Are you aware how many OFW’s are robbed, swindled, cheated of their hard earned money when they get back to the country? What if bad folks got a list of all OFW’s that have recently been to Duty Free and spent more than $1,000 and had their home addresses and had bad intentions? Does it seem so ridiculous now that you would NOT want your home address and telephone number out of such situations? And by the way, there is LOTS of information requested by institutions that is just plain dumb, if not illegal. We have non-discrimination laws in this country, and yet, you are often asked if you are MALE or FEMALE for job applications, at Duty Free, etc. Now, what possible intelligent reason does it make a difference what your gender is in such situations? There are few jobs left in the world that are truly gender specific (think female attendant for the female bathrooms). If you have swayed your mind regarding a person simply because of their gender, then you have in fact, discriminated and broken a law, I hope. Does anyone really need to know you are separated or sleeping with four different people simultaneously, or have never slept with anyone to date? Of course not. And frankly, if you were going to discriminate on a job application form, I would probably be more likely to have a question asking “Are you smart or not?” Rather than “are you male or female?”

    Nov 12, 2008 | 5:13 am

  31. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Hahaha MM. Address: None of your business…hahaha…anyway,was figuring you live in Wack-wack. You do have a point. But they really wrote “none of your business” ha? Hahahaha…crazy they!!

    Nov 12, 2008 | 7:10 am

  32. dee says:

    Hahaha, you are right on MM! Nothing annoys me more than people asking pointless questions – and they dont even know they’re being pointless hahaha :) In the US, they ask for your email address – but they give you free goodies just for giving it so you at least have a choice to divulge or not – depending on the goodies they offer haha :)

    Nov 12, 2008 | 8:00 am

  33. JJ says:

    I can so relate to this. Long time ago I had a sparked up discussion with the outbound immigration in NAIA because she wants my complete address abroad, my destination. She insisted I write it down, then tapos, she asked for more identification (hello, she has my passport!) like my credit card. Ano ba, gaga ba sya? Well, I found out, after a much heated discussion that she just needed to write down something, anything, on the computer system so she can proceed (press tab) to the next window. Haaay, so narrow minded. These people do not have to know where I am going to stay!

    Nov 12, 2008 | 8:41 am

  34. greasemonkey says:

    rotfl! i always use inigo montoya as my pseudonym.. haha! take it easy, MM!

    Nov 12, 2008 | 11:29 am

  35. Tings says:

    I agree MM. My hubby likes to write “Elvis was here” instead of his real name. We get all sorts of junk mails from banks, shops and would you believe, after giving birth in Medical City just a few months before, I received a call in my cellphone from a sales agent, offering me the “best” water for my baby’s milk formula? How did she find out about my personal number…heck, how on earth did she find out about the fact that I wasn’t able to breastfeed??? Ugh! The infos I gave were, I thought, necessary for the birth and hospital records, not for a darn bottle of water!

    Nov 12, 2008 | 11:54 am

  36. Tings says:


    I also agree about the Male Female thing, and asking people what their religion is on their job application form? Like I need to pray before I encode or call God’s name (it’s imperative that our Gods have the same name..) before I do a layout for a poster? Tsk, tsk….and the age thing, please don’t get me started on the age…

    Nov 12, 2008 | 12:02 pm

  37. ana5678 says:

    How about those idiot guards who man the village gates? They not only ask for your driver’s license and who you’re going to see but have the nerve to inquire as to “Ano ang gagawin n’yo doon?” I often answer, “Nanakawan ko sila, bakit?!”

    Nov 12, 2008 | 7:55 pm

  38. Chu says:

    I’m sorry, but you all are, obviously, smart people, so please don’t pick on the clerks. They just have a job to do and if they do not do as they are told, they might lose their jobs. Pangangaya na yan.

    Nov 12, 2008 | 9:23 pm

  39. annette says:

    Pwede bang mag-comment ulit? What annoys me most are those security inspection guards in every malls who will ask you to open bags as if you’re hiding all sorts of explosives, well that’s fine with me, if for security reasons, but to make “kapkap” my body as if searching for something, hey “dont touch me puhlease”! One more thing…give your complete address…and you’ll get bombarded with sales agents, solicitors, scammers the next day, mayroon pang kunwari mag-survey pero in the end bebentahan ka ng regulator ng LPG, hahahaha.

    Nov 12, 2008 | 9:35 pm

  40. mama says:

    first time to post. relax ka lang sa comment ni mabuhay. init ng ulo mo eh! :) Chu, I agree with you.

    Nov 13, 2008 | 12:10 am

  41. Zita says:

    MM, maybe they should just start asking for postcodes na lang. In a shop here (Brisbane) they ask for postcode instead sa address. Dunno why though, pero at least may privacy pa rin. Australia has a privacy law which sometimes can be annoying lalo na when you’re in charge of updating details about your family. LOL

    Nov 13, 2008 | 7:22 am

  42. peanutbeanma says:

    i have a friend who always puts the name PACIFICA FALAYFAY (as an homage to dolphy) down on everything. it’s quite funny to hear it called out in starbucks…

    Nov 13, 2008 | 9:10 am

  43. Marketman says:

    Chu and mama, I agree that a lot of this has to do with management, which is why they end up with “NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS” on their mailing lists. But I also wonder at what point “clerks” as you seem to suggest are helpless to determine what they do for a living. Just because one is paid a salary doesn’t mean they should be expected to do something patently ridiculous or illegal or discriminatory. I too, was once literally a “Clerk Class B” at a bank in Manila, and that doesn’t stop me from telling a “clerk” when I think what they are asking for is “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.” Position in life and attendant helplessness should not be driven by title or lack of it, but by personal capability, intelligence, self-worth, logic, rational and critical thinking, etc….

    Nov 13, 2008 | 9:51 am

  44. Lee says:

    peanutbeanma: LOL… your friend can also use Fefita Fofongay, another dolphy character.

    Nov 13, 2008 | 10:03 am

  45. Joey in Dubai says:

    Hahahaha! This reminds me of the currency exchange shops in all SM stores. I’m an OFW and I hate exchanging my hard-earned dollars there because of previous experience wherein the salesgirls insisted that I write down the serial numbers of all the dollar bills that I wished to exchange. After that experience, I never, never went back there until my last vacation. I was in Baguio with my wife for the weekend. Because she didn’t bring clothes with her, we went to SM Baguio to shop. Unfortunately, I only had a few pesoses with me and some dollars. She picked up a couple of maternity jeans (she’s preggy) and a pair blouses but my pesos were not enough so I was forced to change my dollars. There were no customers in the currency exchange shop so I just went straight to the salesgirl and gave her my $200 to exchange. She didn’t accept my dollars but instead pointed me to a counter and asked me to fill out the form. Reluctantly, I filled out the form but I almost collapsed when I read the information they wanted. Aside from my name and address, the form wanted my phone number, email address and, believe it or not, my EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT!?@!?! Whaaaat! What does my educational attainment had to do with my $$$$$$$???? Anyway, to make the story short, I filled up the form with my fictitious name and address and the serial numbers of my dollars. For educational attainment, I wrote “Kindergarten dropout”.

    I wonder where does SM use the information that they collect? Do they send job offers to their customers???

    Nov 13, 2008 | 3:47 pm

  46. myra_p says:

    LOL@ ‘Fefita Fofongay’

    Joey in Dubai, do you change in SM because it has a better rate? All the other money changers just want your money; they don’t give a hoot who you are.

    Nov 13, 2008 | 7:42 pm

  47. Yuan says:

    MABUHAY, now you know! you have to learn your lesson from the expert.

    MM, thanks for the post.

    Nov 14, 2008 | 10:15 am

  48. k. ramos says:

    If I were MM, I’d probably write ‘CHORVA’. Just kidding :D

    Nov 14, 2008 | 4:24 pm

  49. chu says:

    Noblesse oblige, sirs, noblesse oblige.

    Nov 14, 2008 | 7:21 pm

  50. MOMMY says:

    I agree with you MM, when I fill out forms, I don’t put my phone, cellphone numbers or address anymore ( unless necessary like school forms…etc). I hate receiving phone calls from insurance firms, credit cards, various promotional companies who offer services through telemarketers. Whenever I ask them where they got my number, it’s always from a database. I tell them to send through formal correspondence (mail) all their offers…usually they’ll say all they have is my number. Wonder who sells our name and number to these firms. Sometimes, I think it is from the various raffle stubs we’ve been filling-up.

    Nov 15, 2008 | 8:55 am

  51. betty q. says:

    Mabuhay si Fefita !!!! Mwahahahhaha…

    Myra_P….I think your son is an avid Homer and Bart Simpson fan!!!!

    Nov 15, 2008 | 12:47 pm

  52. liz says:

    these companies (eg. duty free, SM, etc) actually compile lists, which they can then sell to research companies or marketing services groups that, in turn, either use them for research, consumer profiling or sell them to consumer goods companies (ever wondered how you sometimes get junk mail inviting you to subscribe to this magazine or attend that event?).

    that said, why would we want to help them by giving vital information :)

    thanks for this post! more people should realize not to blindly fill up information just because.

    Nov 15, 2008 | 1:20 pm

  53. pauline says:

    MM, your point of view may very well be NONE OF MY BUSINESS…but I can’t help but think (after reading all the comments and your answers to some comments which are not in league with what you feel and think)…that your irritation to institutions like these may very well be displaced. You wrote in your entry “Position in life and attendant helplessness should not be driven by title or lack of it, but by personal capability, intelligence, self-worth, logic, rational and critical thinking, etc….” But let me point out that the reason they are in that position is because that’s about all the intelligence they can muster. If you really want to vent out your frustration and irritation, vent it out to the institution’s head, the people who placed these security guards, clerks and cashiers directly in the line of your fire. Sometimes it’s so easy to put up an attitude to someone lower than your status, but not so easy when you’re really in front of someone who packs an equal amount of punch. Hey just my two cents…

    Nov 17, 2008 | 7:11 pm

  54. Prixie says:

    I often go to hotels for business meetings and sometimes, the guards at the parking area ask me “anong gagawin nyo dito?” My response has always been to snap and say “wala na sa ‘yo yan.” I tend to feel a little guilty after. I don’t like it when companies here ask for so much information and I don’t like the way they teach their personnel to pointedly ask questions. Fact is, a lot of people have the tendency to act like “little tyrants;” their lives are miserable so they jump at any chance they get to bully anyone that comes their way. We can always blame the educational system but that is just a part of the issue.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 7:30 am

  55. thea says:

    hello, mm…
    first time on this site…liked the exchange..very stimulating…hehehe…now, my two cents worth…
    to joey: yes, i hate sm’s forex rules…iwas busily writing the impt. stuff sa info sheet nila and the line was super haba pa (weekend crowd)…when it was my turn, the lady just put the paper in a small box w/out reading it. after 10 minutes of standing in line, the sm girl just glanced at my dollars and said…sorry, po..we don’t accept 1996 US dollars…DUHHHH!!!

    Nov 24, 2008 | 7:46 pm

  56. herms says:

    hi MM!g’day or should i say good eve from queensland.i was just looking for an article about the kamias tree when i come across your site.after i read your story,wala na akong tigil ng kaha2 gik2!so my husband heard me cackling(humahagalpak),he asked me why.so i let him read your story.he said;”that’s a good idea!”well anyway,i just hope that i could get a kamias seed or seedling from here kc ang hirap2 humanap dito ng different plants/seeds na galing dyan sa atin unless you go to a site.advance merry Christmas 2 ol our kaba2yans & a wonderful new year!sad to say,everytime i watch Bandila from 6:43~7:15 am,di pa rin nagba2go mga corrupt gov’t officials natin dyan.it’s realy a shame dahil if my hubby will watch the news also,for his benefit i translate it.napa2 iling na lang sya.lalo na nung nasa NAIA sya pabalik na dito australia,hiniya din sya nung 1 big lady daw sa airport questioning him too many questions!muntik na syang di naka sakay sa plane!grabe talaga mga iba nating kabayans!pati b-day card na pinadala ko for my friend ping interesan pa ng mga taga p.o.!akala ata may $!kaya kada send ko ng card,di ko na c-ni seal that way di na nila na2kawin,o di ba?mga walag takot sa ITAAS!DI SILA AWARE SA KARMA WHEN THE TIME COMES.cheers to ol!

    Dec 14, 2008 | 7:45 pm

  57. herms says:

    hi joey of Dubai!what did they say when you wrote in your educ’l attainmt.na kidergarten drop out ka?ha ha ha ha!serves them right! ;-}

    Dec 14, 2008 | 7:54 pm

  58. jon says:

    It seems a little bit rude to tell the receptionist to tell her its ” none of her business”, after all she is just doing her job. We expect service personnel’s to be respectful at all times in return we must do the same thing. A simple, ” Thank you, i prefer to keep my address private”. Remember, it does not cost us anything to be nice or polite. “What goes around comes around”. Peace, and have a nice holiday everyone!

    Dec 20, 2008 | 1:06 am

  59. mabuhay says:

    polite na, you still maintain privacy pa. nuff said. peace

    Jan 10, 2009 | 7:15 pm

  60. Marketman says:

    Saying “none of your business” does not have to be assumed to be “rude” and “offensive.” It’s how you say it, and even then, that is irrelevant in the context of the discussion of privacy.

    Jan 10, 2009 | 8:08 pm

  61. Jing_Bacolod says:

    guys, if your not comfortable with MM’s “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS” then you can change it to….”i’d rather keep it private, please”….straight and firm. Yun. Nobody does it better but, the MAIN MAN (MM)himself…basta para safe tayong lahat don’t give out personal infos.

    Jan 14, 2010 | 5:03 pm


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