This is just a little random observation, with very little to do with food. For years, I have been trying to figure out why Pinoys are so gosh-darned enamored with all of the above. And the best explanation I can think of, is that DESPITE being the most Catholic (and therefor, thou shall not steal, or so I would think) nation in the region, we have some of the HIGHEST rates of pilferage in retail environments (read: folks steal stuff). So as a defense for this awful fact (or is it?), retailers have taken to some bizarre and outrageous steps to prevent pilferage. I wonder if anyone has done a study if all of this really works and if the net benefit really is positive…
Every darned plastic bag is stapled at least three times, presumably to stop you from stuffing more products into the bag as you contemplate shop lifting. But for each 1 or 2 would-be robbers in a store that day, the practice has instead wasted hundreds if not thousands of staple wires, hundreds of minutes of cashier time, and worst of all, countless annoyed shoppers who get home and have to pry open their bags and often ruin clothing or other goods because the staple wires damage the items while you are removing them from the package. If they are really stapled shut, you basically have to rip open the plastic bag, making it far less likely it will be re-used or recycled… And if you buy food products packaged in bags that are stapled, woe be you if you opened it in the tight confines of a small kitchen and a single staple finds it into food you are preparing or cooking…this has happened to me twice. And finding a small staple in your dish is VERY disconcerting because you stomach acids aren’t likely to dissolve it so easily. So cut out the bloody staples, will you?
We must use the most scotch tape per capita for a developing country. I kid you not. Even nice food shops with nice boxes think it is necessary to use so much scotch tape that you must literally burn calories to remove it and get to the food. The excuse is that the box is often flimsy and needs more support. Then why not just make a better box to begin with? And why all this twisting the bloody tape so you can attach a receipt to it? Is there a college class for credit that teaches you how to best do this? Rip it off the roll, cut it without maiming yourself and twisting it nicely in one smooth action? Worse, what about taping things which then have a stain from the sticky residue? Or what if you wanted to re-use the box? I think the worst offenders here are bookstores, that must extort the tape to begin with from their tape suppliers. I notice some bookstores use a heat sealer with would seem better, but then that wastes electricity and you have to use a chainsaw to open the thick non-biodegradable bags!
I hate most local price tags. They are impossible to remove, and often ruin the product. What the heck are bar codes for if they still have to put stickered price tags? And if they are worried about folks switching price tags on products, then just post the prices in a sign near the products and use the bar codes to avoid confusion. There are truly few things more annoying than making “kut-kut” price tags from gifts, especially if you give them out by the dozen during the holidays. Good price tags obviously cost more, but stores should frankly either eliminate the price tags or figure out a way that customers don’t have to waste their time removing them.
The dude or dudette who stamps a receipt at a large store as though they are God’s gift to the audit police is almost laughable. Never once have I seen them catch an anomaly. Never once have I seen them ask for identification on a large charge or to check my signature. In fact, I would argue that their presence ABSOLVES the cashier from carefully doing her/his own work. The two brains is better than one has got to be false in this case, in my dopey opinion. And then, not only do they stamp it, increasing the risk of ink on clothing by the way, they have to sign the darned receipts. And at SM, they have to tick off each and every item with a red pen, as recently experienced at toy kingdom. So not only do you have to remove a price tag, your toy box is now marred with red ballpen! And can you really bring a bag checker to court if they screw up and scribble their initials on your receipt?
And for anyone who thinks I am being silly, all I can say is, why do we seem to be the world’s champion staplers, scotch-tapers, sticky price-tag users, most ink stamped and ballpen marked country on the planet? Why does it take 3x longer to check out of a store in Manila than say, Hong Kong? I sure hope all these local stores are saving all of that “pilferage” that would have occurred without this silliness, but as usual, it’s the honest shoppers who represent the vast majority of their business that have to suffer with all of these packaging and check-out inanities…