22 Nov2007

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?

Scotch tape:

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!

Price Tags:

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.

Ink Stamps:

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…



  1. Lissa says:

    It’s true Marketman … I especially hate it when they put a price tag around a ballpoint pen, AND THEN put Scotch tape around it, presumably to make sure the price tag doesn’t get unstuck. What do you get in the end? A pen with sticky, dirty stuff around it for the rest of its useful life, or worse, you leave the price tag on because of frustration. = )

    Nov 22, 2007 | 1:55 pm


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  3. fried-neurons says:

    LOL. Ah, the infuriating idiosyncrasies of Philippine retail. A few months ago, my first time in Manila in 5 years, my brother and I were buying sundries like toothpaste, painkillers, and deodorant at Mercury Drug. All I had in my wallet were US dollars and 500 pesos, so I decided to use my credit card to pay for the purchases.

    My brother, who flew to Manila 5 days ahead of me, said, “Kuya, pay cash nalang. Trust me.” I didn’t listen to him. Imagine my surprise when the cashier had to call someone else to the register (supervising cashier???)and then made me sign 3 different charge slips! All for a measly 400-something pesos. Too funny. One for the store, one for the bank, and one for God-knows-who. All for a lousy

    Annoying. Funny. Annoying! :)

    Nov 22, 2007 | 2:01 pm

  4. Em Dy says:

    I so agree with you.

    I hate…trying to remove staples without ruining the product…having to remove the stickers carefully so they don’t leave stains the product…wiping off stains left on the product to make it presentable.

    If possible, let’s get our purchases without the plastic bag. Stow it away in our bags and help the environment. That way, they don’t have to use too much tape or staples.

    And about staple wires…they may indeed be dangerous to one’s health, if left on food.

    Toothpicks too for that matter. A study has shown several cases of intestinal perforation from toothpicks. The victims were mostly men who loved to drink. In their drunkenness, it became difficult to distinguish the toothpick from the olive.

    I guess the same could happen with staple wires.

    Nov 22, 2007 | 2:02 pm

  5. miclimptrp says:

    For me, its the annoying price tags that are placed at the back or front of books. National and Powerbooks are guilty of these little annoyances. Imagine ruining a good paperback because of the resulting smudges from removing the price tags. :(

    Nov 22, 2007 | 2:08 pm

  6. dee says:

    So so true!! The biggest culprit for me is LANDMARK. Oh my goodness, 3 people in the counter! – the cashier, the one ticking off and putting those silly red pen marks, and the package girl. Yikes, I always get annoyed.. And to top it off, once you are already in the counter, they have to shout and get the BRAND girl to issue a separate order slip for certain items!

    Nov 22, 2007 | 2:15 pm

  7. lee says:

    all these makes you want to scream.. WHAT DA PACK!

    Nov 22, 2007 | 3:00 pm

  8. Duday says:

    Oh my same Dilemma, you are not alone MM, so frustrating and hazardous to health if you have high blood pressure ticking while waiting

    Nov 22, 2007 | 3:56 pm

  9. Dennis says:

    Its mainly SM and its affiliate stores that are notorious for 1+3 cashiers per register. On my last few trips back, I use plastic whenever accepted and have had no any issues except at SM. Not even at a Mercury Drug store and a department store as far away as Tabaco, Albay.
    As for the annoying stickers, I don’t think it would be much of an added cost to use “easy-peel” stickers. Kinda reminds me of those very annoying brand name stickers found on some fruits and vegetables, specially on tomatoes.

    Nov 22, 2007 | 4:00 pm

  10. ichabod's hubby says:

    I’d like to clarify the mystery of the much hated tag price. I work for a company that supplies various items to the local department stores and supermarkets. I myself hate those price tags because it means added costs to us suppliers. Sometimes we have to purchase those price tags from the retailers, other times we are obligated to buy barcode printing machines and gum stickers so that we can print the price tags ourselves. We also have to hire extra personnel to put the the price tags on the items. Now why are suppliers, and not the retailers, shouldering the cost of both the price tags and for tagging the items? The retailers say it’s for the benefit of us suppliers since it minimizes erroneous tagging and reduces delays in putting the stocks on display. Of course, the retailers won’t mention that their overhead is reduced by passing the burden of tagging to the suppliers.

    Why are the price tags so difficult to remove? Sticker tags nowadays are designed to be difficult to remove to eliminate tag-switching which is very much prevalent. To illustrate, some unscrupulous customers and even sales personnel get price tags from cheaper items and put them on more expensive ones so that they can buy them at a lower cost. Some price tags feature “security cuts” so that the tags can’t be easily removed without destroying the tag itself. Sometimes the price tags damage the items too but, no worries for the retailers, the damaged items will be returned to the suppliers.

    Why not eliminate the prices tags all together and just put up signage? This time the retailers are not to blame. Philippine retailing laws require retailers to put price tags on all their items. I recall a few years back the DTI was threatening to penalize SM supermarket for putting the prices on the shelves instead of the items. SM Supermarket argued that the law was antiquated and that all their items have barcodes which can be scanned for the correct prices at the cashier. I don’t know how the case was resolved but the price tag law has not been amended as far as I know. Since sticker tags are the cheapest way of affixing prices on products, don’t expect any changes or high-tech ways of eliminating their continued usage.

    Nov 22, 2007 | 4:19 pm

  11. miclimptrp says:

    Which goes back to the original statement of MM saying:

    “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.”

    So its already redundant that stores keep tagging items when its the barcode part that gets “scanned”. It would also be easier if the price of the items are just posted like what some stores do.

    I’ve had bad experiences wherein the prices reflected on the tags are different at the cashier’s area. One example is the Landmark grocery in Trinoma.

    Nov 22, 2007 | 4:43 pm

  12. wendolene says:

    this post is about my biggest pet peeve! from SM to national bookstore – yeesh. retailers, get a clue.

    to the list above, like Em Dy says, let’s try to avoid disposable plastic bags. i’ve boycotted them and go around with my own reusable nylon or canvas bags. most places are pretty evolved and get why one doesn’t want any more of these environmentally unfriendly bags. EXCEPT SM. every time i go there, it’s a showdown between me and bagger boy. it hasn’t happened yet (i’ve always gotten them to see reason), but if they insist on bagging my purchases, i’ve VOWED to walk away and not patronize the store.

    thanks for writing about this MM.

    Nov 22, 2007 | 4:49 pm

  13. michelle says:

    The absolute worst are the books sealed in plastic with the price tags under the plastic. After removing all that plastic from the book, you have to scrape the price tag off. I’ve actually emailed and complained Power Books because of this. I like giving books as presents. The scratched up bit where the price tag was, is just ugly.

    Nov 22, 2007 | 4:56 pm

  14. ragamuffin girl says:

    HK has got to be one of the most efficient places in the world. More than Canada, in fact. When they say it takes an hour to apply for a HK identification card, you get yours in 60 minutes or less. Last week we had some official documents stamped and after I went to the toilet on another floor, it was done! Less than 15 minutes and I could go home and do other stuff. And the airport express train, not to mention the airport itself, is awesome. I love the Octopus card- a prepaid card you can use on buses, trains, 7-11, McDonald’s, all major grocery stores, some fast food places, parking meters, ferries, etc… Now if only they allowed it in taxis:)

    Nov 22, 2007 | 5:26 pm

  15. artisan chocolatier says:

    hmmmmm….this reminds me of the joke about how many morons it takes to change a lightbulb. We have our own version with how many to bag an item!!!

    We should just bring our MarketManila totes and tell the bagger to just put it in the bag and we hold on to the receipt. Afterall, they have security checking your item and receipt as you go out (as if the 3 counter-checkers are not enough!).

    Nov 22, 2007 | 5:37 pm

  16. HD says:

    I found a way to remove most of the price tags easily… Soak a piece of cotton in vinegar, then place it on the price tag, after 30 secs-1 minute, it will be easier to peel. Obviously, this will not work on paper products lest it gets wet.

    Nov 22, 2007 | 6:39 pm

  17. Teresa says:

    One thing i loathe the most is when store put the tag prices in places that are highly visible. After atemping to remove the sticker what is left is an unsightly sticky rectangle in your newly bought item. I hate it so much when you have to clean this redisue off stainless steel kitchen stuff :(

    Nov 22, 2007 | 7:18 pm

  18. maddie says:

    @ Lee, “WHAT DA PACK” indeed! hahaha. had fun reading this post. not sure if anyone mentioned that aside from the blind ticking off in red of the items and the stamping (stamp crudely attached to the other end of the pen, there’s the circling of something after the stamping with a flick of the wrist! IT”S AN ARTFORM!!! Just like the scotch tape that’s expertly formed like a bow for the receipt. Only in the Philippines!

    And what about buying illustration boards at National Bookstore. They place the price tag on the board itself (not on the plastic case). So if you are making a presentation, and would need to mount your layout on the board, ala na! I had to devise stick-on logos just to cover these tags!

    And those charge slips that you sign. In supermarkets, after signing, they have to place the slips in a printer pa! One by one! Aaaaack!

    Nov 22, 2007 | 8:03 pm

  19. Catalina says:

    Amen to all of the above.

    My daughter in the US gave me a bottle of Goo Gone, a non-toxic solution that removes stickers (also grease, tar, gum, crayon, etc.) from most surfaces except silk, leather, suede, or rubber. Works perfectly in removing those pesky sticky price tags.

    Now I just need to contend with staples and ink stamps :-)

    Nov 22, 2007 | 8:41 pm

  20. dizzy says:

    yes, it’s really annoying and wasteful but on the other hand…it does create (meaningless..?) jobs which a lot of people need in this third world country of ours…wonder how we can get out of this rut?
    just thinking aloud…

    Nov 22, 2007 | 9:06 pm

  21. kayenne says:

    i’ve taken to refusing the tiny plastic bags at mercury when buying only a few tablets/capsules of medicines. same goes for nbs – especially for only a pen or when buying only 1 folder. i just hold on the folder and the receipt showing, walking out the door. i wonder if nbs is willing to buy back the plastic bags per kilo? lol

    Nov 22, 2007 | 9:18 pm

  22. mich says:

    Goo Gone is available in Robinson’s Handyman stores.
    All your worries on pesky stickers gone.

    Nov 22, 2007 | 9:30 pm

  23. kulasa says:

    You really made my day MM!

    Another peeve I have is when there are just two of the three ladies in the counter and they give you this blank baffled look when you ask where the heck is the cashier. Duh! Then just when she comes, she has another lady in her trail then they start counting cas,h yun pala shift change. Then you look back at these two ladies, who probably feel guilty they didn’t tell you to go to another counter, so they look at their nails. Sometimes you just want to mummify them with the scotch tape or put red little markings on their foreheads!

    Nov 22, 2007 | 9:44 pm

  24. John (qwertz) says:

    This doesn’t only happen in the Philippines. I live in Austria (Europe) and when we purchase fresh sliced ham, cheese or other fresh sliced meats, they are weighed, priced and slipped into a paper bag which is then stapled shut with the price tag on the top. What are we going to do? Eat it? Add some more ham to it? (impossible)Why not a gummed price tag sticker on the paper bag and let it be? The staple is a pain to remove to get at the contents.

    You’re not the only ones with a gripe against pricing and staples and sticky tape and . . . !

    Nov 22, 2007 | 10:23 pm

  25. chunky says:

    i saw this when i had some gifts wrapped for free at some department stores- they used scotch tape to remove the scotch-taped tags! o di ba? twice pa talaga ginamit ang scotch tape.talk about pagsasayang… even the sealed to the max na credit card statements are stapled- for what? sealed na nga, i-staple pa! so, when you open the envelope at wala kang staple remover, sa inis mo, sirain mo na yung papel. kainis!

    Nov 22, 2007 | 10:31 pm

  26. siopao says:

    Yeah tape, staples, and more tape on delivery and take-out food really irritates me…

    I also hate how the sticker tags ruin the clear cases of CD’s making unsightly, kulangot-like residue on your music collection… thank God for Goo-gone. I LOVE that stuff

    Nov 22, 2007 | 10:54 pm

  27. The Steak Lady says:

    very interesting comment of ichabod’s hubby. gives us a perspective of the supplier’s side as well. as i am typing this, i am desperately trying to remove price stickers of 5 Pilot sign pens i bought earlier at National. Geez!

    Nov 22, 2007 | 11:36 pm

  28. abi says:

    cant help but laugh when i read the posts…same dilemma!!! who would be annoyed: i bought dozens of cutleries and to my dismay every piece with sticky price tags!!!my gosh i had to “kutkut” one by one and those sticky stickers leave a greasy mess!!!

    here in gensan, malls here are “OA” in labels and there are security guards in every exit points and will mark your receipts with a red ballpen or sometimes, marker! and not just mark it, but they slash the pen on the receipt…and what do you get, a torn receipt!

    btw, i still cant use the spoons, forks and knives…

    Nov 22, 2007 | 11:59 pm

  29. Naz says:

    I don’t know if I am the only one to notice this but most if not all the salespersons in SM or most stores in the PI are too serious looking. They don’t smile, don’t say hello and don’t even say “thank you.” Why is that? How hard is it for this people to smile and be customer friendly? Do they get fired for doing this? I have to personally ask a counter person one time how much it is for her to smile. I got a “simangot” from her instead. LOL

    Nov 23, 2007 | 12:41 am

  30. jayjayv says:

    i completely agree. Just tonight i prepared some reports and used folders i bought from NBS … the price tag on the inside back portion of the folder ! absolutely ugly and jutting out of my report. I tried removing the tag but the folder got scraped. super annoyng. my books have red marks as well because they so love stamping it with this red initial of the saleslady. don’t you get annoyed with these people checking your receipts when you exit their establishment. really wonder what they check in the price smart receipts. An exclusive by invitation sale did this once and it was so annoying being made to rummage through your bag for the receipts. sigh only in the Philippines

    Nov 23, 2007 | 12:46 am

  31. bayi says:

    You are perfectly apt in all your descriptions and unfortunately so.

    Nov 23, 2007 | 1:17 am

  32. bedazzle says:

    oh i hate those darned staple wires! they’re so difficult to remove and if it’s a food item that’s stapled, you’re in danger of having it in your food. yikes! bakit nga kaya ganun dito sa atin?

    Nov 23, 2007 | 7:37 am

  33. Hchie says:

    This guy at the gift wrapping area at Rustan’s took out the paper stickers by cutting a piece of scotch tape and putting it over the tag and then he rubs it over with his fingernail and lifts off the tape. Voila!…the sticker is off.

    Nov 23, 2007 | 7:52 am

  34. Juli says:

    So true. One solution to the pesky price tag. If you can’t find Goo Gone or Dissolve It, try Eucalyptus Oil to get rid of the sticky residue. Works perfectly.

    Nov 23, 2007 | 8:08 am

  35. isagarch says:

    OMG – i went to manila to visit my mom, come to find out she needs a whole bunch of new appliances for the house – Yay – shopping spree, bought a new stove, washer, microwave, toaster over, etc. Seeing as how I was going to spend A LOT of money, I quickly acquired 5 or 6 groupies following me around. Now why is it that there are salespersons for specific brands who know nothing about any other brand? To make a long story short, it took an hour to pick up 10 appliances and 2.5 hours for them to sort out the invoices and get me out of there! First all the invoices had to be had written, call the credit card company for approval , enter into the computer, print out an invoice in QUINTUPLICATE. The best part is I needed a Gate Pass to get out the door when the gaggle of sales ladies walked me out anyway! Oh wait, the best part is, they had to take each appliance out of the box in the middle of the store and plug them in to ensure that they worked! i had 2 friends of mine from Canada that were aghast at the inefficiency and all the pencil pushing. Stuff like this is what makes it hard to think of moving back home, when if I was at Best Buy here, I would be at the cashier for less than 5 minutes after being helped by someone just out of high school. I say again OMG!

    Nov 23, 2007 | 8:20 am

  36. carina says:

    whenever i buy small items, i request the bagger not to place the items to plastic bags since i can put them in my bag. it’s disappointing that some of them won’t do it and give me this weird look after.

    Nov 23, 2007 | 9:07 am

  37. Nina says:

    My pet peeve here in Sydney are the security stickers on DVD cases and books. The barcode stickers have a metallic backing that is supposed to be disabled at the cashier when you pay for your purchase. Sometimes cashier forgets and off you go ringing all the security gates, complete with blinking red lights, in all the stores you visit. It’s a humiliating experience having people look at you like you’re a thief. Now, after I purchase a DVD or book, I remove the barcode sticker (which fortunately doesn’t leave a gooey mess) when I leave the store to go to other stores in the shopping centre (mall). Learned my lesson not once but twice.
    With regards to the price tags on grocery items, we do not have that here anymore (unless you buy at small shops or sari-sari stores) but what we have are the barcodes imprinted on the product labels (not simply stuck to it) and the prices are clearly displayed on the shelf. If there is a dispute over the price on the shelf vs. the price in the barcode, a reputable store will give you the product for free or in case of a multiple of the same product, they will give you the first for free and the succeeding ones at the correct price.
    There are also security gates at the entrance and exit of the store and at each check-out which will create quite a racket if you go in or out with suspect “cargo”.
    This is not to say that there are no shoplifters here. They are just more creative. What these people don’t realise is that it’s not the shops nor the insurance companies paying for their crime it’s us their fellow shoppers who (1)have to pay for the cost of all the security (there in the Philippines, for the people who apply the red stamp, blue ballpen circles, scotch-tape and stapler, bag boy person, plain-clothes in-store security and uniformed security guard) , (2) have to pay for the stuff they rip-off, and, most of all, (3) have to suffer the inconvenience and embarrassment of having a group of strangers look at and touch the stuff one has just purchased.
    What happens if you purchase more than one shopping trolley/cart full of grocery? Does it take hours to tick off/red stamp/blue ballpen circle/scotch tape and staple your receipt and have them perused by the security guard again as you leave the store? How long is the queue (pila) on a bad day?
    Any chance of ever having a self-serve check-out counter there someday like what we have here now at one of the shops? (Just teasing!)
    BTW, are the SM cashiers/sales people now allowed to sit when they have no customers around? I remember years ago, there was a big to-do involving SM not allowing their sales persons to sit. They have to stand the whole time they are on duty. Maybe, after (or at the prospect of) standing the whole day, they don’t have the energy to smile anymore.

    Nov 23, 2007 | 9:14 am

  38. The Steak Lady says:

    i actually have a different experience with SM staff. they shout good morning/afternoon/evening at the top of their voice – to the point of being a bit annoying sometimes, presumably because their superiors are around. courtesy and manners of staff have drastically improved though, maybe due to new company policy regarding customer service? but all the packing style really still sucks BIG time.

    Nov 23, 2007 | 9:41 am

  39. The Steak Lady says:

    to clarify, courtesy and manners improved, not product knowledge and efficiency =)

    Nov 23, 2007 | 9:43 am

  40. wendolene says:

    goo gone works great on those pesky stickers; so does heating them up (slightly) with a hair dryer. you’ll look like you’ve lost your mind blow-drying the bottoms of new plates and glasses, but they do help soften the adhesive, and the sticker lifts off in one piece, not 5 million.

    we need to draw a collective zen breath…things are getting better. le coeur de france has realized the folly of bagging already bagged bread, i think they actually charge a couple of pesos if you asked for a plastic bag.

    Nov 23, 2007 | 9:48 am

  41. Naz says:

    Thanks for the update Steak Lady …
    I am looking forward to experiencing the improved courtesy and manners. Happy thanksgiving everyone …

    Nov 23, 2007 | 10:18 am

  42. meekerz says:

    all too true!

    on that note, do you know where to buy wireless staplers? The type that sorta punches and folds a small part of the paper. I’ve looked everywhere for those, but can’t seem to find it locally…

    Nov 23, 2007 | 11:11 am

  43. Blaise says:

    This is how inefficient our country is becoming.. you need to hire three people just to do one person’s work.. There has to be a proliferation of staple wires, sticky price tags and dwindled scotch tapes instead of finding out a better way of addressing these annoyances, not to mention additional costs..

    Nov 23, 2007 | 11:17 am

  44. CecileJ says:

    I am selling Goo Gone. Any takers?

    JOKE!!! I agree with all the above comments, esp. those hateful tags on books and ballpens.

    Nov 23, 2007 | 12:30 pm

  45. sometime_lurker says:

    LMAO on siopao’s analogy.

    And The Steak Lady, you’re probably cute, aren’t you?

    I noticed that male SM staff do that top-of-the-lungs greeting when attractive customers pass them.. ;)

    Nov 23, 2007 | 1:39 pm

  46. sometime_lurker says:

    Oh, in my observation, it’s because they ‘announce’ to other staff to look their way because of their find, and they can appreciate together. ;)

    Nov 23, 2007 | 1:40 pm

  47. caryn says:

    hahaha! true MM, i understand completely. i hate it when they affix the price tags to the back of books (usually at national bookstore) and it usually covers part of the excerpt. kakainis. you’re left guessing if you should buy the book or not based on the few sentences you were able to read. eto pa, they sometimes tag items twice! they tag the book itself, cover it in plastic and then tag it from the outside. its such a waste of resources!

    plus, don’t you just hate it when SM comes out with special promo items and the ‘packers’ staple large flyers onto your bags? ahahahah!

    Nov 23, 2007 | 2:25 pm

  48. erika says:

    Oh my god true about LANDMARK… i was there last week to buy a pack of socks for my husband…. i went to the counter thinking its ok to go pay…then the cashier called the merchandiser for her to issue a receipt, then i had to pay the cashier and it took forever to get the item i bought because the checker HAD TO… encircle and put a check mark on my receipt for the socks i bought… um can i just have the socks, you can have the receipt! draw on it if you like…

    Nov 23, 2007 | 3:35 pm

  49. lee says:

    sometime_lurker: valid point you got there

    Nov 23, 2007 | 3:40 pm

  50. Noel says:

    Agree with Steak Lady. Two weeks ago while buying crib for the upcoming baby, the 2 sales person of the crib brand doesn’t know if the paints on the cribs are lead-free or not. One time while buying a broiler, the guy doesn’t the broiler’s capacity, how much power it consumes, how long to broil a whole chicken, etc.

    Nov 23, 2007 | 4:44 pm

  51. Roberto Vicencio says:

    The use and acceptablity of plastic here has improved dramatically since I cam home 7 years ago. But still the SM cashier batallion takes the cake. One to punch the price and take your money, the other to bag and tag and the last one to count the items.
    But it is the small change that drives me nuts. From the jeepney driver to the cashiers at any repeat ANY store. They ask if you have smaller bills, exact change, etc. I always ask in return, Did you not know you’ll be opening today?” I used to drive cabs at a Navy base in Japan and I had to have a substantial change fund at the start of my shift.

    Nov 23, 2007 | 5:11 pm

  52. Blaise says:

    I agree with Roberto Vicencio..

    The jeepney drivers, bus conductors, etc. in fact are those who actually have the nerve to scold the passenger for paying with a bigger bill.. It happened to me once. I usually have smaller bills but sometimes, I do ran out.. This bus conductor scolded me as I handed him my 500 peso bill, to tell you that I was so IRATE at what he did I lashed the hell out of him.. You know, it doesn’t mean that if one did not finish school that he has the right to be rude..

    Nov 23, 2007 | 5:31 pm

  53. cumin says:

    I usually bring my own plastic bags to the market/supermarket. Or if the items are few/small, I refuse to bag these. Staff responses range from Oh you’re an environmentalist (rare) to insistence on bagging these as required by management. I feel I’m doing an environmental seminar each time I time I argue with the staff!

    Nov 23, 2007 | 5:37 pm

  54. wendolene says:

    maybe this post and the ensuing comments should be forwarded to the biggest culprits in terms of wasted man-hours and environmental resources. and all in the interest of – what? – insuring that customers, the very people keeping these businesses alive, don’t STEAL from said businesses?!

    retailers have gone to ridiculous ends to ‘protect’ their products. i’ve seen facial moisturizers taken out of the box so that what’s on display are rows and rows of empty boxes. to get one, 6 people scramble to match the product to its rightful box (no one tracked that there was more than one type). aighhhh.

    Nov 23, 2007 | 7:16 pm

  55. Raneli says:

    Yup, MM its annoying as hell to see so much waste due to some retailers panicking over their merchandise. Nowadays I normally tell those checkers and packers NOT to staple the plastic bag and just put the receipt in,,so far no heavy complaints. Oh man..those pet peeve price tags..grrrr..some wise crack clerk tries to be clever by placing them strategically over an item which will be in a sorry state when you try to give that said item as a gift…because YOU tried to peel those damn price tags off!

    Nina: Yes..its true ..I learned from a friend who used to work as SM years back as a working student that sitting is not allowed for the sales clerks. But if you are a smart cookie, you should work as a cashier to get your sitting benefits!

    Nov 24, 2007 | 8:37 am

  56. acidboy says:

    You must’ve gone to National Bookstore, MM! LOL!

    YOU know what I also find irritating? S&R’s policy of checking your purchases at the door before you leave. They even have a nice spiffy explanation on the wall- they’re doing that to make sure you’re charged correctly. I call it BU++$#!T. Don’t get me wrong, I love S&R too, but that thing they do, checking and prying and poking at your purchase and “counter-checking” the receipt is just ridiculous. Who are they trying to fool? They’re so afraid to get shoplifted or gypped by their staff. Who believes, in this age of barcoding and POS systems and advanced retailing techniques, that a store has to permanently place somebody by the door to check if your purchases were correct. S&R, HINDI LAHAT NG TAO MAGNANAKAW, NO!

    Nov 24, 2007 | 8:52 am

  57. cumin says:

    Acidboy, a security guard in Puregold checked my handbag on my way out even when I didn’t buy anything — grabe, insulting. Gosh it feels good to rant! Is it cleansing or what! The other thing that irritates me, and it’s to do with customers this time who,when no one’s around to help bag the groceries, simply stand by doing nothing while the overworked cashier packs the groceries after she finishes the bill, which always causes a long delay. In other countries, shoppers have to bag it themselves, which makes sense. The more efficient exception is SM North Edsa supermarket which has hooks in the counter to hold plastic bags open, so that as soon as the item zips through the scanner, it goes straight to the bag. They probably did a motion study, I wish everyone else would adopt it.

    Nov 24, 2007 | 9:30 am

  58. semikewl says:

    MM! See what you’ve done? Hahahahhahaha……..Pinoys are addicted to red tape. It seems wrong if something can be done in 1 step so we do it in 3 steps. Besides, we have the manpower…. Again, LOLz.

    Nov 24, 2007 | 11:27 am

  59. cien says:

    What annoys me is the price sticker on the cover of magazines. Booksale in particular is guilty of this. I love my magazines and don’t want to waste my time peeling off the sticker! specially if i bought vogue magazines, i am an avid collector and i hate it if in the process of peeling the sticker, i ruin my magazine.

    Nov 24, 2007 | 2:50 pm

  60. Ginger says:

    I am annoyed as well with the door checker in S&R. I was double charged for an item once and had to go back to point it out! Useless! I don’t really know what they check at the door.

    Nov 24, 2007 | 10:58 pm

  61. looker says:


    Nov 25, 2007 | 12:38 am

  62. Marketman says:

    looker, sorry, I am not familiar with ice crumble. Perhaps other readers will chime in.

    Nov 25, 2007 | 7:05 am

  63. michelle says:

    Two years ago, I bought a cryatal bowl at Rustan’s. The sales attendant did that tape-scratch bit to remove the excess glue. She exerted too much pressure on the bowl. In the end, they had to reverse charges on my credit card (P4,500)and I lost out on a rather lovely bowl.(It was the last one)…Here’s a Goo Gone story. Same year, gave my ten yr. old niece the green light to decorate the living room for Halloween. Her creativity extended to my ceiling. I tried to remove the sticky tape bits from with Goo Gone. It didn’t work. I spent the next month staring at spotted ceiling. My ceiling looked like it had grease stains.

    Nov 25, 2007 | 3:06 pm

  64. Cor says:

    Seriously. The excessive stapling and tape usage aren’t the only annoying things about Philippine retail. The thing I hate the most about sales people here (aside from the fact that they never really have a clue about what they’re selling) is that they follow you around the store THISCLOSE as you’re trying to look through their items. Do they think I’m gonna steal something? Or do they think that their breathing down my neck will actually encourage me to buy something? Quite the opposite, actually! Sigh…we have a long way to go…

    Nov 25, 2007 | 6:23 pm

  65. dhayL says:


    I remember “ice crumble” back in elementary days, it is infact one of my street foods faves… although I DO NOT have a recipe, but as far as i can remember, it is made of shaved ice, some pink colour flavouring (sorry i can’t bring up the exact flavour) and its topped with choco syrup, right? Maybe you can substitue other flavours or so..good luck.

    Nov 26, 2007 | 2:35 am

  66. Ebba Myra says:

    I got many pet peeves in Pinas retail practice.. but one thing in particular is the selling of shoes in SM which I visited this year (after being away for 5 years). They have ony 1 shoe on display (to prevent “crooks” from walking away with a new pair?), and when I ask for the other pair to try on both feet (since my left size is different from the right) they cant’t find it or have a hard time looking for it and they insist I just try on what ever is there on display. And here I am already spent more than $200 worth of other merchandize from them.

    Another time (also in SM) I used my US debit card (with the visa logo), its brand new and have not signed it, it has my picture on it, and the 3 cashiers won’t take it till its signed. Well, can’t find a “permanent marker” (had to buy one with a cash from one of my staff), and when I finally signed it, I had to show them another signature specimen by writing on a blank piece of paper, and showing another ID, they then try to compare the signature, which took forever, ignoring my pointing out of the photo which is laminated securely on the card.

    Here in the states, when buying yards of fabric, they “pin” the initial receipt to the cut fabric itself, and this “pre-receipt” is what front cashier uses for the price confirmation, after he/she “un-pin) it before wrapping. Not only 1 I have seen them get pricked with this process, and when the cashier don’t take out the pin, I am the one who gets pricked since I always forget that its there when I reached for other items in the plastic bag. Hahaha, I wonder if its better they “staple” it.

    Nov 26, 2007 | 10:09 pm

  67. miles says:

    @looker: ice crumble or ice scramble is made up of shaved ice, powdered milk, sugar and food coloring. you can top this off with chocolate syrup and marshmallows :)

    hmm… national bookstore has this device that the cashiers scan the items on to deactivate code for the exit scanner alarm. this being said, there should be no need for plastics as long as you have the receipt as proof of purchase. and both SM and national have the reusable shopping bags already. i prefer national bookstore’s red see through bag. they are supposedto give you a 50 centavo rebate/discount every time you use it to shop there but the last time i did they didn’t put it in :(. shoemart on the other hand gives points to smac holders who use the reusable green bag.

    Nov 27, 2007 | 5:59 pm

  68. onionista says:

    What annoys me is that moviegoers who intend to come back inside a cinema are ink-stamped on their palms as reentry ticket. Really primitive and unhygienic.

    Dec 2, 2007 | 9:06 pm

  69. cwid says:

    I have an easy solution for removing glue residue on most things except paper products. Rub cooking oil on the residue or the sticker. Wait for at least 30 minutes, then wash the product in warm water. You’ll probably have to rub the sticky part for a bit but this will not require a heroic effort to be successful.

    Dec 4, 2007 | 12:39 pm

  70. Em Dy says:

    I was just at Automatic Center the other day. I was in a hurry as it was almost 830 and I still had a store to go too. I intended to buy 3 mugs (yes, for Christmas gifts, nakakahiya man). Somebody assisted me, got my chosen items and then I went to the cashier where I thought I would spend just a few minutes. Well, that was not the case. The one who assisted me had to write a purchase order, have it checked by the manager until it gets handed to the cashier. So much red tape for a mug at 78 pesos (less 10% discount) each. When I mentioned that I would be paying by credit card, they debated whether I qualify for the discount. I asked for my credit card back (at that time, my purchases have not reached the cashier but was being mulled over by the manager) and left the store. Suddenly, I missed SM. After all, at the latter, it’s straight to the cashier and the counterchecking with the red ballpen and all does not really take up much time.

    Dec 14, 2007 | 10:46 pm


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