02 Dec2014

The small cheeky laminated sign we had posted above our restaurant urinal in the new Marina Mall branch read:

“Please stand closer. It’s shorter than you think.” And a cartoon drawing of Calvin taking a whizz.

The sign was there because for some reason, men seem to stand way clear of the urinal, assuming the floor is part of the contraption. And while we pride ourselves in keeping one of the cleanest toilets around, we DO NEED HELP from customers to do their part and not trash the place. The sign was cheeky, it was irreverent, but it was private property. And I admit it was only worth a few pesos, unlike these toilet fixtures that were stolen but worth thousands of pesos…

SO, when you intentionally take private property, conceal it and remove it from the premises, that is called THEFT. No ifs, buts or whys about it. YOU ARE A THIEF. I don’t care if it’s worth no money, 10 pesos or a thousand. It’s not yours to take, you are in no way entitled to it, and if someone did the same thing to one of your possessions, you would probably be annoyed.

Just a day after getting back to Manila from Europe, I had to fly to Cebu this so morning to do the wonderful task of giving out Christmas bonuses for 180 staff, after thanking each and every one of them for their service and efforts on behalf of Zubuchon — it’s a time of year I really enjoy, and I am often in an impenetrably good mood for this particular week. But heeding the call of nature right off the plane, I stopped off at the Marina branch and noticed that the urinal sign was missing, intentionally ripped off the wall, leaving just the adhesive on the back. It had apparently been stolen by a customer over the busy previous weekend.

Seriously?! I know, I should just laugh it off and I did. And we can certainly get another one and secure it better. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized some folks are just fools. And thieving fools at that. What possesses one to do such a thing? Is there so little respect for others property that they think this is acceptable behavior? And while it was fodder for light banter and laughter at the dinner table with some of our managers this evening, I thought I would do a post on it anyway. Here’s my light take on things…


1. She stole it. Because she wants to post it over her toilet at home. Because her boyfriend, partner or husband has the shortest dick on the island of Cebu.

2. He stole it. Because he is suffering from Alzheimer’s or memory loss and needs to remind himself to stand closer every time he takes a leak so he doesn’t splatter his suede shoes, staining them forever.

3. He stole it. Because slightly tipsy or high on controlled substances, he thought restaurant management was specifically referring to him, and he couldn’t accept reality.

4. They stole it. Yes, sometimes two ladies (less often two men) enter our unisex bathroom simultaneously, and giggling uncontrollably at the sight of the sign, and the spacious handicapped friendly room with lots of mirrors, which some folks have TAKEN PICTURES OF and posted on their Facebook pages, they stole it to put in their office bathroom since their co-workers all seemed to be shorter than a vienna sausage, based on the messed up floors.

5. He/She/They stole it. Because they were too lazy or too stupid to realize they could easily take a photo of the sign, just type and print one up for themselves, or buy a similar sign at a bookstore or curio shop, without having to engage in theft.


a. Our restaurant is monitored by 4 CCTV cameras that are on 24 hours a day, and store data for several days. And while we don’t have one in the bathroom, which would be creepy, we do have one of the area and EVERY SINGLE PATRON who used the bathroom.

b. Because we try to tidy our bathroom up every hour or so, we know the approximate HOUR or even less, approximate 30 minutes when the sign went missing on that particular day.

c. If we review the tapes, there are say just 7-8 people who are now on our suspected toilet theft case. Of which x are men, and y are women.

d. Our CSI skills suggest that the sign, some 5 inches by 5 inches in acrylic, wouldn’t fit most front or back pockets of men’s pants (particularly jeans) unless they wanted to risk hurting their already diminutive member.

e. People with bags, therefor, along with folks with jackets or other things to conceal the sign move up the suspect list.

f. In other words, we may have already pinpointed the culprit. So how ridiculous is that? DUMB JUST GOT DUMBER.


1. If not for potential defamation lawsuits, I would post a “Wanted or Stolen” poster or notice, containing the faces of the three tops suspects, and say, “WANTED FOR STEALING OUR TOILET SIGN”…

2. If I could figure out where the thief lived, I would arrange to have their home broken into, and ONLY steal their toilet bowl, leaving our sign firmly stuck to their wall, and scribbled on it this note: “return our sign and we will return your toilet”.

3. Call in a few favors from friends of friends of St. Peter, to make sure that when said culprit dies and is presenting themselves at the gates of heaven, he reminds them that they will first have to spend ten years in toilet purgatory as THAT ONE TILE JUST IN FRONT of a urinal at SM that gets splattered with “short fall”.

4. I am not a lawyer, but come from a family of generations of lawyers, and I would just like to quote from here:

“The elements of the crime of theft as provided for in Article 3089 of the Revised Penal Code are as follows: (1) that there be taking of personal property; (2) that said property belongs to another; (3) that the taking be done with intent to gain; (4) that the taking be done without the consent of the owner; and (5) that the taking be accomplished without the use of violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things.”

And in theory, from what I understand, penalties might range from public censure like say, an advertisement in the newspaper like those who admit to stealing electricity and promising to never do it again with their photo and name on the advertisement, to 1-30 days in jail. Hopefully in a jail without a proper toilet or urinal.

Oh and one more thing, if you were an ACCOMPLICE, i.e., a friend or dining partner that helped in the theft or concealed the theft from staff after knowing that your friend stole the item, YOU TOO ARE LEGALLY LIABLE.

5. If I were to be really pilyo or naughty, I would figure out a way to imbed a camera in the next urinal to be used by the thief and photograph their mini-gherkin, and POST THAT PHOTO with a caption along these lines “THIS DICK IS A THIEF”…



Hahahaha. Time to go to sleep. Good night. :)



  1. Betchay says:

    This is hilarious! Ha!ha!ha! But you are right, a thief is a thief!

    Dec 3, 2014 | 12:21 am


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  3. EbbaBlue says:

    Just woke up and read this post; gosh it cracked me up and at the same time got serious too. Deng, what are they thingking. I wonder if they sort of know you, MM, and wanted to see how you will react if they do the act.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 12:40 am

  4. Jane says:

    OMG, this is just hilariously funny, ha ha ha!…thanks, it definitely lighten up my otherwise grumpy day!

    Dec 3, 2014 | 12:49 am

  5. La Emperor says:

    Replace the missing drawing with the photo of the thief/thieves, but with the faces digitally scrambled. Make them sweat a bit coz for sure they’ll be returning to the crime scene. :):)

    Dec 3, 2014 | 2:36 am

  6. marilen says:

    haven’t read such a funny rant in a while .
    hope you had a wonderful Paris vacation before getting into the beehive activity of the Christmas season. (love your epicerie post) spelling??!??

    Dec 3, 2014 | 3:41 am

  7. EJ says:

    Unbelievable how some people have no sense of right and wrong. Hope you nail down the culprit ASAP – not quite literally.
    For future WC’s, maybe you can have a Schiphol type. Then let’s see if any customer tries to scratch off the main attraction.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 4:59 am

  8. scott says:

    this pisses me off too MM, you have the cleanest restaurants in Cebu, I hate it when people do not respect others property..but we all know you will have the last laugh, just knowing the good you do in your life will come back twofold.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 5:13 am

  9. Marketman says:

    Ej, thanks for that link, I have seen those “flies” on trips to Europe, and have always been amused by them. When we helped set up an elementary and high school several years ago, I toyed with the idea of donating some money to have my picture baked into the urinals so the kids would have something to aim for. We never took it further. :) marilen, the holiday was brilliant. And now it’s crazy for several weeks until Christmas, and the daughter is coming home for the holidays, yay! La Emperor, hahaha, yes, I hope they do return for the food, though I suspect this one could have been a tourist from Manila or elsewhere. Ebbablue, I don’t think this was targeted at me or with sinister intent, they were just being dopey about it.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 6:50 am

  10. millet says:

    you’re hilarious, MM! but you’re right about these “petty” thieves – in our restaurant, the favorite targets are our decorated wooden spoons that hang on one wall, and our handmade (by yours truly) christmas ornaments that are lifted straight off the tree. i don’t know where these people get the nerve, really, and i don’t understand why they do not see any wrong in doing this. most of these thieves are high school or college students who do it just for fun, or on a dare. in the early years of the store and prior to CCTV, we had cute, unique salt and pepper shakers on each table that just disappeared one by one. it has eased up some since we had CCTVs installed all around, but occasionally, we realize a few things missing.

    but this one tops the cake, though…we were having dinner at the buffet restaurant of one of the largest hotels here, and as part of the display, huge red and yellow bell peppers were strewn all over the island counter, as were tall vases filled with lemons and limes. lo and behold, a couple of very senior citizens were stuffing lemons and peppers into their bags, their hands hidden by jackets. it went on for a few minutes, but it was too funny and too pathetic no one had the heart to take pictures of the two doddering criminals.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 9:04 am

  11. Dragon says:

    Funny indeed! It can turn out not too funny for the culprit. For the same act (theft), the culprit may be sued for simple or qualified (theft id commited w grave abuse of confidence) theft which impact penalty severely. E.g., simple theft penalty may be 3 yrs, qulified may be 20. Minimum. For the same act.

    When you replace the sign at the urinal, either add a sign to indicate where they can buy and save themselves embarrassment and jail time. Lol.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 10:02 am

  12. tina vitas says:

    Thanks MM for making a big fuss over a small thing! Because people don’t understand, especially in this country, that small things eventually progress to bigger things. Small theft, small lie, small infidelity….. It doesn’t ever stay small. Once they get away with it, the size of the deed will get bigger and bigger. I admire you for taking the time to rant about it and rant about it in detail!!! Thank you! :)

    Dec 3, 2014 | 10:36 am

  13. general says:

    sometime last year, i think, i saw a teenage girl who was with a bunch of friends pick up christmas decor from the middle of the escalators in sm mall of asia. dunno what happened next but i hope one of the mall personnel accosted her and retrieved the christmas ball (and gave them a good talking-to).

    another time, a boy, also a teenager, spat on the floor outside of toy kingdom in the same mall. it didn’t even appear to be a case of oh-my-god-i-have-to-expectorate-right-here-right now, more like ‘sige dito na lang.’ grabe na mga tao ngayon!

    Dec 3, 2014 | 11:22 am

  14. AlexME says:

    Hey MM…since you sell pasalubongs at your stores…it seems you have another seller here! Post one at the urinal and tell them it can be bought outside, thus maybe preventing thievery.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 1:30 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    People have already stolen our new snazzy menus, printed on stone or rock paper. No trees cut to make the menus, just pulverized stone and resins. They cost a wicked lot too… and folks just put them in their bags. If I catch one I will charge them PHP1,000 on their bill…

    Dec 3, 2014 | 1:38 pm

  16. ignaciolegarda says:

    A favorite item stolen from one of my customers is the little Tabasco bottles, peanuts when considering the cost, but multiply this by dozens of tables at dozens of stores and you start to feel it. Their solution was to move to the bigger Tabasco bottles, more costly per item, but the incidence of theft was reduced significantly just because of the size.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 1:45 pm

  17. Lee says:

    The invention of the Closed Circuit Television makes me think and re-think the words of Freddie Aguilar…

    “Ang CCTV ang sa isip mo nang malaman mong ika’y nagkamali.”

    Dec 3, 2014 | 1:50 pm

  18. Tok says:

    OMG, MM! my Saudi boss just asked me what is going on! (while i am reading your post). i can’t resist to laugh :-) You made my day so unwinding. Thanks for the post MM.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 5:05 pm

  19. Alex says:

    Thanks for this post…

    Dec 3, 2014 | 5:17 pm

  20. Kasseopeia says:

    Thanks for the (many minutes of) laugh(ter)… and for writing this detailed rant.
    It is indeed a slap in the face of many people who think that “it’s just a sign” and that it is such a “small thing”. Great things start from small beginnings – whether good things or bad ones.

    Nacho – it’s one of the things I see being pilfered at restaurants: Tabasco bottles. Add to that salt and pepper shakers, especially if it has the emblem or name of the resto. I felt bad for Millet’s hand-made decor. I only wish those who “lifted” them truly appreciate them… and did not just toss them after completing a dare. Kainis no?

    Dec 3, 2014 | 5:38 pm

  21. EJ says:

    Dragon and AlexMe have excellent suggestions. Maybe you can include a note in your menus on how much they cost and if/that they can be bought.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 6:18 pm

  22. Mart says:

    Urinal stall sign? Eeew. I even make it a point to use the paper towel that I dried my hands with to hold the bathroom door handle from the inside.

    Me thinks it is the degradation of values that progresses with each generation. Even if they’ve been taught proper values/manners as children, some people just don’t know how to be parents.
    I would have said that it is just in the Philippines but I’ve witnessed my fair share of patrons taking restaurant “mementos” here in the US. Yes, even fair skinned patrons.

    Maybe just etch the menu into the table top. Just remember to bolt the table to the floor. :-)

    Dec 4, 2014 | 12:52 am

  23. DhayL says:

    Love it!! “Dumb just got Dumber”….. “This Dick is a Thief” :)

    Dec 4, 2014 | 4:05 am

  24. ntgerald says:

    When I became Chairman of the department in a huge government hospital, I noticed that the toilets in the waiting area were locked up so I had them opened and arranged for their cleaning three times a day, so that people can use them. Kawawa naman kasi many of them come from distant provinces.

    The flushing mechanism was stolen.

    Because it is a government institution, it took sometime before replacements can be provided.


    Dec 4, 2014 | 9:15 am

  25. shane says:

    “return our sign and we will return your toilet”…imagine them waking up in the morning and instead of answering nature’s call they read this…hahaha…

    but on a serious note, it’s sad that some people do these things…it’s just so wrong…thinks that since it’s just a small item it won’t be considered theft…duh…if they take something belonging to another that’s definitely stealing…

    penalties for theft definitely imprisonment duration depending on the amount stolen (or fine if the thing stolen does not exceed Php5 and the thief acted on impulse due to hunger, poverty or difficulty in earning livelihood for his family)…but i doubt the thief acted on impulse caused by hunger, etc. in this case…

    Dec 4, 2014 | 12:16 pm

  26. Ted says:

    I’ve read somewhere, that in one of the restaurants in Singapore, they have painted over a black fly in the middle of the urinal, and they found out that by doing that, the males now have a target to direct their pee and this has minimized their cleanup of the floors….Something to think about doing.

    Dec 5, 2014 | 5:10 am

  27. Patricia says:

    Ha! Too bad for the perpetrator. Sometimes, people do dumb stuff just for kicks.

    Just read the latest comment. I like idea of using a black fly in the middle of the urinal as a target. Sounds practical. :)

    Dec 5, 2014 | 3:14 pm

  28. Susan says:

    MINI rant? haha

    Dec 5, 2014 | 4:50 pm

  29. Juny B says:

    This cracked me up so much that it even occurred to me to post here that it was me who stole the sign! Please do replace it soon, as it did bring a smile to my face when I saw it in there back in September when I had such a splendid lunch at Zubuchon near Mactan Airport. I love these rants of yours!

    Dec 11, 2014 | 12:07 pm

  30. MP says:

    After laughing, I mused about this and felt so bad that people actually think it is okay to steal.. In this case, I assume that the thief/thieves/he/she/they thought it was ok since the sign wasn’t of substantial value anyway!

    I once overheard someone saying “ok lang na nagnanakaw ang Binay family at least may libreng cake at movie tickets ang mga senior citizens”! OMG… So it is okay to steal small things or in the case of the Binays, okay to be corrupt as long as the cakes keep coming?

    And Lee, nice one….

    Dec 13, 2014 | 9:37 am


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