Do We Invent Some of the World’s Stupidest Rules, Or What?


I know it’s a Sunday. I should have more patience for stupidity. Or should I? There should be a special category in the after-life for folks who knowingly insist on creating stupid rules. And worse, forcing their subordinates to apply them regardless of the consequences. Worse, when they are taken to the mat to explain why the rule could possibly be in any way NOT stupid, they stand there speechless and unable to even utter a lame defense for said stupid rule. When you combine stupid rules with a service industry, you better be prepared for equally stupid (better than violent) responses from customers. My personal chant this morning repeated in rapid succession in my brain was was “Silly Market, Silly Market, Silly Market…” which soon turned into “Stupid Market, Stupid Market, Stupid Market…” And here is why.

We needed a few items from the grocery this morning and stopped by the large grocery nearby. Thinking I only needed a basket to hold my stuff, I reached for the “basket carts” that had two blue plastic baskets nestled in them and proceeded to do our shopping. As almost always happens, I rapidly filled up both baskets to the brim with groceries, and just as they were about to fall out, decided we should check out. There were several people in the single line for “blue baskets” which were served by several check-out counters, but I noticed that one of several “large cart” lanes was completely free, with no other “large silver carts” and customers in sight. So naturally, thinking like any logical normal IQ shopper, I brought my blue basket cart to that line and started to unload.

The cashier gave me this look like I was a moron or something and said (translated) “you have to go to the blue cart lane only” to which I answered “there is no one on this lane, and I have more stuff than most people put in a silver cart, don’t you think you could just check me out here?” to which she said her supervisor would nail her if she did that. So understanding immediately that the cashier did not make the rules, I told her to call her supervisor, but in the meantime I asked why she couldn’t see why it made sense for her to just process this sale… Why the hell was the type of cart used MORE IMPORTANT than the volume of products being purchased? And worse, the cashier could have just been picking her nose, waiting for another large silver cart, while a long line formed for the blue basket lane?

But first, let me step back. The blue basket lanes or the express lanes or the 10 items or less lanes in groceries were designed precisely for folks which had only a few items, and in rapid succession they could be checked out WITHOUT having to wait behind serial grocery shoppers like myself that sometimes have 230 items piled into one cart. In other words, it is designed for the CONVENIENCE of the CUSTOMER. And there is a science to it… it’s called queueing theory. Groceries can logically ask folks with BIG FILLED carts not to use these express lanes as it could seriously screw up check-out speed for those who have a few items. However, this is the first time EVER ON THIS PLANET I have come across the opposite logic. In other words, being banned from a big cart lane when there were NO OTHER customers with big carts in sight. AND given the fact that I had more groceries in my two bloody blue baskets than most people had in their silver carts!

The supervisor, of course was NO WHERE to be found. Call, call, call on the phone. Raise ridiculous ping pong paddle looking thing in the air and a few minutes go by and the cashier absolutely refuses to check me out. And still no other silver cart shopper in sight. So, understanding the rule of law, I hastily ran to the entrance of the grocery, grabbed a silver cart, and brought it back to the cashier, parked it right under her nose, and told her to ring the grocieries up as I NOW HAD A BIG SILVER CART. Sorry, I know it sounds stupid. But not as stupid as the rule that started this whole episode off. The supervisor finally showed up and despite being asked to explain the logic of the rules, she COULD NOT UTTER A SINGLE SENTENCE in defense of the rule.

I told her that if I got a BIG SILVER CART and bought one package of instant noodles worth PHP5 and lined up at the big cart lane, she would have to check me out. Yes, was the logical answer. But now that I had two blue baskets filled with over PHP3,500 in groceries, they were making me wait 10 minutes instead? Blank stare. And forget the discussion over the silver cart lane being completely and utterly empty. And forget that no intelligent or normal IQ shopper in their right mind with 2 items would voluntarily choose to line up behind 8 heavily laden silver carts rather than behind 10 people in the express lanes with a few items each. I actually asked her if she thought it would be amusing if she had to go urinate in a public bathroom but the gatekeeper there told her she had to wait only for stall number 3 because that was the only stall for people wearing Stupid Market uniforms, and there were already 7 in line ahead of her… even though stalls number 1, 2 and 4 were utterly empty, but designated only for those with black pants, yellow shirts, and those needing to defecate and fart only.

Good grief. We do create some of the dumbest rules on the planet. And have they forgotten it is their job to serve the customer who is spending money to pay for their salaries? The moral of the story, and the stupid customer response? In an SM grocery, upon entry, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS get a big mother of a silver cart. Then for good measure, throw in a blue basket in the undercarriage. So even if you only buy one item and notice the same situation I had, you can check out with your PHP5 instant noodles and stick to the rules. Or, if you notice the blue basket lane is shorter, throw your noodles into the blue basket and check out there. And don’t ask me what happens if you hand carry the package of noodles and DON’T HAVE a blue basket, because in theory, if they were sticklers for their own rules, you couldn’t buy it at all! Leave your silver cart for some SM employee to have to collect and put back in its place. Yes, only in the Philippines and only at Stupid Markets indeed.

P.S. If I had been more awake, rather than in a Sunday morning fog, I should have done this instead. Go run and get 10 big silver carts, then put one grocery item in each and check out, then get more 10 more carts and so on, and in that way, use up the time of one cashier for roughly 1 hour to check out some 78 times. Then pay with a large bill as many times as possible to finish off all their change. Refuse to give them any exact change. And when I ran out of large bills, switch to a credit card instead. Signing each and every time, waiting for bank approval. And using up 60+ multi-sheet carbonated credit card forms. And ask that each item be bagged separately. And have them bring it to the car and not necessarily tip the bagger. And THAT would be within the stupid rules. ARRRGGHHH. :)


153 Responses

  1. hehehe! people sometimes are stupid stickler for rules… same thing happened to me here in Palawan. Only this time in reverse. So what I did was get a 2 small plastic baskets and transferred the items right in fron of the cashier then she punched me in.

    Good grief… Only in the Philippines. Stupidity has no limits. hehehe

  2. What a hilarious post. I had a good laugh before I hit the sack. I feel your pain, MM.

  3. Incredibly stupid! But sorry, MM, couldn’t contain myself from falling over laughing at this post! … Nam-yo-ho-renge-kyo, namyo-horeng-gekyo, namyo-horeng-gekyo!

  4. i totally understand the rant. i don’t shop there and the one time I did two weeks ago, as in early in the a.m., I did not understand the logic of it. I had to make the cashier explain it twice to me and I still didn’t get it; now, I still don’t.

  5. stupid rules… only in the philippines indeed. for the life of me i can never understand the logic behind the rule.

  6. The exact same thing happened to me in Rustans Rockwell,but what really got me was when the cashier said to me, “Sige na nga, pagbibigyan kita”—gee thanks, so much for courtesy.
    I spoke with the manager and they were apologetic. I still think they need better training.

  7. Yes Romwell and MM, It happened to me too in Palawan….wrong basket at the right lane, ha, ha, ha, grrrrr…..

    Sometimes, common sense is the rarest sense! Another way to kill creativity and critical thinking. Only the docile and submissive need apply. Don’t think……just follow the rules….. or you are out the door. Yeah, only in the Philippines and in dictatorial societies I am sure.

  8. Most of the time, it’s more efficient and also a lot cheaper to shop in the palengke. Specially now, during hard times, your suki will go out her way to make you buy by rendering extra services for free. My mom stopped going to the market for many months now because nagsawa na in her usual routine of going to the market every weekend for many decades. She just calls her trusted long time suki pork meat vendor and place her order. Her suki will prepare her order and buys the other items like poultry, fruits, and vegetables, in the nearby shops at no extra cost. The suki then calls my mom for the total bill and have the stuff delivered to our home by a trusted tricycle driver. Complete with change when my mom doesn’t have the exact amount. I don’t think even world class groceries can do that. But of course, honesty and trust are important factors here.

  9. good grief!!! I would have blown a fuse if i were you ! I can just imagine your frustration- and yes, in my opinion and in answer to your question- we do have the silliest- stupidest rules in the world! Our retailers really do come up with some doozies… one of my personal favorites before was the add 5% if you pay using credit card- I am not stupid and know why they do it but think its super duper tacky – and isn’t it against the credit card companies rules? Ay!!!

  10. That’s the stupidest and dumbest rule.. Before actually finishing reading your rant, I’ll also do the same..get the silver cart in front of the stupid cashier just to check me out..customer service is not the top priority at big groceries in pinas..some staff are really not so customer-friendly..

  11. Pointless rules really!!! I hate it pa when people insist on lining up in the 10 items or less lane but have 20 items…then they divide their items and pay twice! hello!!!!

  12. oops…pressed send unintentionally. i was gonna add: and the cashiers don’t say anything about it! talk about stupid rules.

  13. I would have been fuming if I were there. ONLI IN D PILIPINS.
    Customer Service is putting yourself in the customer’s shoes but these people sometimes only think of themselves not the customers. BTW, if I may what branch is this. I have been doing my grocery at SM too. Good thing I have never had that experience….

  14. I had the exact same experience a couple of months back in Stupid Market. The funny thing was that they actually had one employee policing the large cart lanes to stop customers with basket carts from lining up unless they transfer all their groceries to large carts first! What I did was take one empty large cart and place my two blue baskets inside the cart, to hell with transferring the items one by one. The look she gave me was priceless!

  15. I still can’t get it why SM supermarket staffs do the “happy to serve you” chant every so often when they actually DON’T!

  16. Good grief, first the stupid Book Blockade of 2009, now this. Geez. We really really are breeding stupid Pinoys. What gives? Is it something in the water?

  17. I can see where you’re coming from. It’s annoying that they make such decisions, and can’t even back it up.

    I remember my cousin needed to buy Pita Bread, and queued up in the Express Lane. But this lady in front of her with a cart full of groceries was so adamant to check out there, despite the cashier telling her otherwise since it’s only for those with a basket with 12 items or less. What did she do? She separated her items in two baskets!!!

    For some reason, the cashier let her check out anyway, and every customer after her, especially my cousin ranted to the cashier.

  18. This happened to me at another big supermarket chain, but this time it was another customer who ticked me off, and it was the other way around.

    I only had a few items (2 or 3) in my basket, and when I saw that the line at the “express” lane was really long, I proceeded to the big cart lane where the cashier was already handing change to the only customer in line. Another customer qued up behind me, and with a stern voice told me “Miss, hindi ka pwede dito, 3 items ka lang, dun ka sa express lane.” I pointed out to her that there was a long line at the so-called express, and since this check out counter was almost done with the last sale, it would be faster here, and that I only had 3 items anyway. She didn’t seem to get my logic and continued to reprimand me.

    Why the heck would I wait 10 or so minutes when I could check out in two minutes tops? It’s not as if I had a big cart, and was queing at the express lane!

  19. Ah my Sunday morning funnies…I can see the silver cart lane clearly, complete with a sign depicting a blue basket with a large diagonal bar on it alongside another sign with a letter B also with a diagonal bar on it meaning basta bawal.

  20. common sense is not so common that’s why some people think of rules like this

  21. MM…you should have done what you did at Chili’s and left your basketfuls of groceries right there in the checkout counter…as in on top of the checkout counter :evilgrin: and then say you’re just gonna shop at some other place that has no stupid rules

  22. Happened to me in SM Bacolod and I also for the supervisor who could not give a decent explanation. I asked her if I was violating a Philippine law by bringing the blue cart in the silver cart checkout. They checked out my goods because I refused to give way unless I was given a copy of the rule which will clearly show that I did something wrong.

  23. Lee isn’t that a flagrant violation of your privacy, checked out your goods?

  24. Ha-ha-ha! That means,,,Im Not Alone!!,,This happens to me many many times,,,its not in the philippines but its a filipina who controls that shopping conveyor! Its a disgrace actually and you really find yourself like a lame duck despite that “I AM THE CUSTOMER” but they have an answer on it like “YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY CUSTOMER”….Its an absurd shopping experience really that after fighting and talking nonsense, you will find yourself stupid and all what will follow will be stupid things indeed..And im not sure if its coinsidence since it only happens with filipina cashiers? not with other nationalities? i should be gratefull of having served by a kabayan but what i got is rude response! im not saying all anyway but it happens, it really happens..

  25. At the risk of being a contrarian, what if, for example, the two lines were express (12 items or fewer) and non-express? If the non-express lines were 3 or 4 people deep, but no one was in the express line, would you feel it would be acceptable to take a full cart into the express line?

    Years ago, this a**hole rolled his full-to-the-brim cart into the express lane at the supermarket just before my mother and I got there. There was one person just finishing checking out in front of him, so it’s not like the lane wasn’t being used. Instead of letting us go ahead with our 12 or fewer items, he proceeded to unload all of his groceries. We confronted him about using the wrong lane, and he b****ed at us. “It’s not my fault all the other lanes are so full, and I don’t have time to wait around,” he said (well, a**hole, it’s not our fault, either! And it’s not like our time is any less important than yours!). The cashier told the guy he was in the wrong lane, and that in the future he should use the regular lanes, but the cashier had no choice but to ring up his groceries. Now, the guy probably thought the rule was stupid and he had a right to break it, but my mother and I (and the cashier, and most likely the people behind us) just thought he was a pompous a**hole.

    While the silver cart/blue cart distinction really is a stupid one (why don’t they do a 12-items or fewer lane instead?), for every person who thinks a rule is stupid, another person will be thankful for it. And for every person who thinks s/he’s being “assertive” by breaking a stupid rule, another will think s/he’s being a pompous a**hole (generally speaking).

  26. Mr MM, been reading your blog for some time but it is only now that i am posting a comment. I currently live here in Abu Dhabi and quite lucky with our friendly “sari-sari store”. There are lots of small grocery shop here in UAE who delivers everything with no extra cost. I will just call them for newspaper, mineral water, chocolates and ice creams for my kids and just about everything else; even phone card. They will deliver everything right to my doorstep. I can even order shawarma…

  27. Rona Y, no, I would abide by the rule for the simple reason that there are, statistically, FAR MORE customers with a few items, and therefor the chances of an empty line there are far less if the grocery has staffed their counters reasonably well. As a person with a full cart, I would NOT want to inconvenience other customers. On the other hand, if I had only 3 items and a full cart lane was FREE, then my taking that spot would HARDLY ever inconvenience another shopper as I would be done in a very short time, and the person following me with a cart would start checking out soon. If you notice at some airline check in counters, they differentiate by class, economy with long line, business with shorter line. But many airlines, when there is no business class passenger, will have the business class check in person take the next customer off the economy line. Ultimately, the goal is to handle the most number of customers and sales given a finite number of staff members. Again, from a queueing theory point of view, it would probably work best to have a few designated counters just for folks with 10 or less items (the number can be figured out to represent say 50-60% of all shoppers in the store) then open all other counters to whomever chooses to line up there, few items or not. No person in their right mind with 5 items will line up behind 3 huge carts filled with groceries if they see that the express counters won’t take as long. The case of the guy with a full cart using the express lane is not a mirror situation. He was just being an asshole. Or the grocery hadn’t done their numbers right to have the right mix of lanes open. :) What really gets me in these cases is that there are thousands of groceries around the world that have the same issues, and never once have I seen the distinction be based on the shopping basket or cart rather than the number of items…

  28. I know exactly what you mean, MM, there are some really moronic rules here in the Philippines.

    I’m an US citizen (read: white) and live here in Tacloban. I love it here and live here. So, I try to fit in … follow the rules and customers as best I can … as well as I can while butchering your lovely languages.

    Still, at times like you encountered, I have an easier time as the cashiers and other staff members seem to defer to me when I make sense. I just can’t stand moronic rules.

    The one you encountered was clearly intended to make things flow quickly. Just implemented wrong. Allow 10 items or less at the express lanes (and NO splitting, man, I would have a FIT if someone did that in front of me). Allow ANYONE to go through the other lanes.

    Another thing I hate when shopping are the cashiers who let people cut in line. I used to berate the people who cut, but many of them are pigs anyway, so they don’t care.

    Now I chastise the cashiers. I had one almost in tears.

    Me: Miss, why did you serve that woman before me? You watched her cut in line.

    Cashier: (silence)

    Me: E-DAI (heavy emphasis on the DAI), I was here first. You should have checked me out. In the future, take people as they come in line, first come, first serve. OK?

    Cashier: (silence)

    Me: DAI! (bringing out the deep baritone that I use when annoyed) OK la?

    Cashier (face has now turned deep red): OK la (nearly in tears)

    I figure we need to train the cashiers to enforce the rules that we care about … such as the lines. First come, first serve. No pushing in front by some twit who thinks that they are more important than the rest of us.

    And the chant … it reminds me of Wal-Mart. Really, it needs to go. Those poor employees.

  29. PS: What’s really sad about this is that this problem has been solved. I don’t know about Europe, but you can go to ANY huge grocery store in the US and see the right number of lanes to use and the breakdown.

    Just look up pictures of grocery stores on the web … you’re bound to see some pictures.

    So easy.

  30. i was just there last month for a 2 week vacation…i had very similar experiences at SM…i had to constantly remind myself that patience was a virtue, otherwise i would have pulled my own hair out from people’s stupidity and inefficiency

  31. How about when the (blue and yellow) basket lane and silver cart lanes are full. And no one is being served in the senior citizen lane, so you check out with only a roll of toilet paper on hand and the cashier says “senior citizen lane only sir”. What response will you give..

    1. Miss, I need to go bad (and show her the tp)!
    2. Miss, I’m actually 70 years old. I just had a face lift!!

    hehehe….seriously now. Be careful with them cashiers when you use your ATM (debit card) to pay. They actually look at your bank balance without telling you or asking your permission. This happened to my wife and I a few months back. We paid with our express card and told her to charge it to our current account, she hands us the pin keypad and we enter our pin. Next thing we know, She swipes the card again and ask us to enter our pin again. We ask why and she said the first time she check our balance to see if we had enough to pay!!!! We raise hell right there and asked for the manager (we were not interested to talk to her supervisor) and would not budge until the manager came to the floor. The manager apologize and said they never instructed their cashiers to check their balances first. This also happened in Stupid Market, but it could also happen anywhere you pay with your ATM debit card.

  32. you are not alone MM….but I always make it a ppoint to talk to the supervisor of the department after I experience rudeness from any of their cashiers or sales personnel.

    Btw MM, i was in carbon market last night….I was so happy I saw a lady selling veggies by the street she doesn’t even have a display table…and she has these big orangy-yellow pomegranates, they are about as big as a normal womans’ fist and quite ripe, they only cost P5.00 each I bought 6 and immediately ate 1 when I got home…love the tarty-sweetness…quite juicy too…might be the season for local pomegranates?

  33. vennis Jean, OMG, are you kidding me? PHP5 EACH? They can cost as much as PHP300 in Manila groceries. I would be so happy if I found those at the market! :)

  34. What!!!! pomegranates for Php5 each by the street side of Carbon??? Got to check this out too.

  35. Clearly, these rules were created to eliminate any form of or opportunity for creative decision-making and quick thinking on the part of the cashier. It creates robots out of people. There are no absolutes in customer service, except that the customer is king!

    I once joined my mother at a grocery checkout lane marked for senior citizens. I wanted to help her unload the items from the cart. I was then told to get out of there because it was only for senior citizens. Ridiculous! I naturally gave them a piece of my mind.

  36. “Here at SM we got it all for you!”

    and it does includes the dumbest rules!

  37. stupid market indeed!

    that’s why I swore not to buy my groceries from there. always loyal to unimart LOL :)

  38. GING,
    Im too surprised to see that “POMEGRANATE” is actually growing in the “PHILIPPINES”?? i think i got too old here abroad that i havent know it! but actually interesting to see them true..And price in the philippines is what? Php 5.00 each? WOW! that is way too cheap! in my place now, it costs US$6.00 per kg. so you can see the big difference.
    I had a farm in morocco and i have this fruit trees too together with apple,plumes,cactus fruit,grapes and olive trees but i prioritise pomegranate as the best of them all.

  39. This is so funny… don’t worry you’re not alone, you’ll even notice here in the US filipino markets with Filipino cashiers. You give them a little power and they’ll take it to the limit and what can you do?…. not much really. Why are they so scared of bending the rules to make customer happy? Sometimes we need to open our “common sense”.

  40. the rule, in general, is not stupid .. just so happened that some idiotic folks had to execute it … i still think that he (the customer) over-reacted … SM grocery folks are not generally smart people, but i didn’t think the supposedly intelligent toilet logic was necessary … she needs more blue collar patience.

  41. same thing happened to me in SM San Fernando a few months back…that’s why i’m doing my grocery at Robinson’s…

  42. The Rule is created for customer convenience and it is a common practice not only in Philippines but all over the world. The only difference is that the poor cashier probably doesn’t know the big picture. The only rule she has in mind is that blue goes to express and gray for me, simple as that as what the supervisor/manager explain to her. If only the supervisor/manager tell her that the rule only apply if it inconvenience the rest of the customer otherwise just simply entertain every paying customer.

  43. One more thing I observe in SM or actually almost all the big mall in Manila is that in every cashier there is about 3-4 employee, 1 to check and arrange the item, one to punch in the price and another one to counter check the receipt and another one to bag the item. The process takes an incredible 10-15 mins depending on the nos of items you purchase and if you are lucky that there’s 10 people in the line you have to wait for one hour for your turn. I will never ever wait one hour in a mall counter no matter how important that item is. and yes only in the Philippines big malls that I see this practice.

  44. Wow, I should be more careful next time then.. I always use the “silver cart” lanes even though I have a blue basket. I don’t know, I just always head to the middle of the checkout counters where they usually have the silver lanes, and most of the time there are like 3-4 on queue at the express lanes that lining up at the silver lanes is the most logical choice. And fortunately, I’ve never encountered the stupid rule. I’m just lucky I guess. haha

    I don’t see any logic to that rule though, I mean, I understand about the express lane, kasi most of the time, they are for people with 10 items or less and it would be very inconvenient for those people na isa/dalawa na magintay, whereas if you have a whole cartload of groceries, hindi naman siguro hassle na magintay kapag konti lang ang dala ng nasa unahan.. kaso wala namang nakalagay na 11 items or more dun sa silver lane, plus, if that’s really the rule, they should put a BIG SIGN saying “No basket/basket carts allowed on this lane”, and watched people whine about their stupid rule.

    As for the senior citizen lane, I agree that they should have their own exclusive lane, na NEVER available for anyone na hindi senior citizen. You know naman pag pinoy, pag nakakita ng nakalusot/pinalusot, gagaya, tapos magagalit pag hindi nakalusot.

  45. Too funny. Well, funny AND infuriating. I’d have left my entire basket (or baskets) of goods right there at the cashier’s counter and walked out of the Stupid Market without buying anything if that had happened to me.

  46. I’ve actually put a blue basket in a big silver cart and did my shopping that way… HaHaHa… now, which lane should I go to?
    BTW.. Watch out when you shop at SM Clark. They have a long queue at the exit because the guard there checks every item in the docket OF RANDOM customers.

  47. What a horrible experience and what a poor service crew they have at that branch. I shop in SM here in QC and Marikina and have not had that issue. In fact, when the line was long in the Big Cart lane, I was ushered by a cashier to a basket lane that had no line. This happened several times. I think its the branch manager and supervisor’s fault. In SM Tiendesitas and Riverbanks they even have that very annoying dance and chant “AT your service” every hour or half-hour. I really think the best as consumers should do is to complain and complain loudly. My mom has had several blow ups about the clumsy haphazard packing and the way they used to tie the bags closed with a double knot. Now all the staff, at several Supermarkets, especially the ones near out home, train their packers and taught them how to do a single know with loop for easy unpacking. Again, COMPLAIN LOUDLY, when you know you are right.

  48. There will always be stupid rules as much as there are valid rules that are hardly followed. SM management should look into this. I’m glad my local grocery has designated express lanes that clearly state “only less than 10 items” and strictly enforce it.

  49. hey MM,

    im a fan of your blog. i enjoy reading it lately, mostly your topics on food. hehehe.

    but i think you went overboard with what you blurted out:

    “I actually asked her if she thought it would be amusing if she had to go urinate in a public bathroom but the gatekeeper there told her she had to wait only for stall number 3 because that was the only stall for people wearing Stupid Market uniforms, and there were already 7 in line ahead of her… even though stalls number 1, 2 and 4 were utterly empty, but designated only for those with black pants, yellow shirts, and those needing to defecate and fart only.”

    the cashier or the manager might just simply be sticking by the book to instructions given to them by the higher ups. kumbaga, sumusunod lang siguro sila sa kung anong instructions sa kanila at natatakot na kung sumuway ay baka masisante. the rules might be indeed stupid or unnecessary but kung maliit na tao ka lang kelangan mo sumunod sa nakakataas.

    i think its only natural that you get mad or something but what you said was, in my opinion, unnecessarry..

    besides, ranting like that might accelerate aging, give you myocardial infarction, cerebral aneurysm, or even alopecia… so.. chill lang… peace! :)

    thank you…

  50. I know, ….just like the stupid rules that once you’ve picked your merchandise you have to be helped by the sales girl, the checker, the wrapper, then I guess the “greeter” or the security person at the entrance. Problem between form (blue baskets, silver carts) vs. essence, 10 items lanes. Just another example of the “rote” training that passes for education but totally trumps logic.

  51. aside from sm’s stupid rules, i seldom see their salespeople eager to help and with smiling faces….

  52. Hahaha, Stupid Market indeed! Just for kicks, I’ll have to test that stupid rule at Stupid Market when I go vacationing in Manila. Pag-tripan ang kawawang cashier. On second thought, kawawa naman. Stupid is as stupid does.

  53. ratskeee, the rule, in general is stupid. Preventing anyone from checking out in a middle lane when they have a basket is simply stupid. Having an exclusive lane for a few items is not. There is a logic to making any gatekeeper/checkout process more rational and efficient. The main reason stupid rules or laws persist is because not enough people point them out and make a ruckus, in my opinion. Patience has a place, but if everyone simply tolerated idiotic behavior, then you would simply encourage more of it. bugatti, I don’t regret my toilet analogy one bit. The more large retailers and other service providers start developing rules for what they must consider the lowest common denominator, and encourage their own management to implement them, the more we discourage people to think logically, rationally and intelligently. If patience is a virtue, then maybe certain forms of stupidity should be a sin. And stupid, as defined here… “unreasoned thinking or acting” among other descriptions.

  54. This is exactly the reason why SOP’s (standard operating procedures) need to be be reviewed regularly – to see that they still make sense. It’s like the story of the the two guys standing stock still when firing artillery. A time & motion person inquired as to their purpose (I think this was the british army) & after looking through the rule books, discovered, these two were supposed to be holding the horses still – the SOP was written during the Napoleonic wars – probably helped quiet the horses at the Battle of Waterloo!!!
    Oh but SOPs can make all the sense – and still there would be the stupid morons who can only follow them to the letter not the logic!

  55. I, for one, agree with creating a stir in the minds of supposedly supervisor types if only to get them thinking of how absurd some rules are. I had to create a life and death situation hypothetical scenario of a flat tire situation at the basement parking of Holiday Inn on Ortigas before they realized that the logical thing to do was help me find someone who can lend me a lug nut wrench. A tad slow, but the duty manager picked up my point, thankfully enough.

  56. Where we go home,there is only a Gaisano shop to do our shopping(groceries and otherwise).
    Anyway,1 day,the rice cooker we bought died after a day that we used it.Brought it back to the shop to get exchanged,no problem,still under warranty.
    The trouble started when we decided to buy a different brand which was 35 CENTS cheaper.
    When we went to the checkouts,the problem started.
    We waited around because she needed a supervisor to approve the 35 CENTS change.Waited….waited…waited while the queue was getting longer.
    I said to her(cashier)look,i don’t need the 35 CENTS change.I just need the sale finalized as there was a lot of people waiting.
    Oh no she can’t do that as she will be 35 CENTS over.
    I said look I’ll sign anything to say that the 35 CENTS is theirs,just finish the transaction.
    No,cant do that!She’ll be 35 CENTS over.
    OMG,I was really fit to be tied!
    They had to call 2 supervisors to be approved!

  57. Thanks for this great story, MM. It helps me out a bit in one way, becuase a few incidents like this have happened to me and I’ve chalked them up to my poor foreigner language skills. But apparently it is not my language laziness at all. It’s one thing to have a rule … no rule will ever make sense to everyone, all the time. That’s why we have people, supposedly trained in customer service … to take care of the situations where the rules aren’t working right. Even then there will be times when the rule and all efforts to ‘bend’ it won’t make us happy. But for the ‘rule’ enforcers not to be able to make a rational explanation … that is the part that really defies logic. I mean even the cashier has a degree ,, SM demands that of even janitorial staff … and she’s not being asked to argue Constitutional law or explain orbital mechanics. Sad.

    And for the comment about how much better the checkouts are organized in the US .. as a native-born American, I would suggest that person has spent little or no time in the US … I’ve spent most of my life there, and one of the reasons I chose to live here in the Philippines? The customer service, even in SM and even given this piece of idiocy MM chose to expound on is soooo much better in the Philippines it is amazing at times. But, hey, there’s always room for a grumble and a chuckle in our lives … it keeps us young,

  58. i have a different version of cecilia’s chant exactly for situations like this: abayga-i gopa-laka-yo, abayga-gopa-laka-yo. abay-ga-go-pa-la-ka-yo…

  59. Haha, have seen it just last Saturday at Save More Festival Mall. The 2 ladies ahead of me in big-cart-lane-only were asked to transfer to the basket line, so I was able to check-in my groceries much earlier than those ladies.

    Why don’t they apply what they do in sister company BDO? If there’s a line for the bank tellers, those staff on other counters will ask their customers to deposit/pay their bills where you could sit while transacting.

  60. This may not be exactly a grocery shopping problem but is a very irritating situation in “Stupid market’s” pride “MALL OF ANNOYANCE”. For those of you who have been there, you will notice they designed this funky mall with corridors and areas with and without air conditioning. So as you are supposed to go around the mall, you have to constantly go through an army of security guards searching bags and groping you for concealed weapons every time you go from one are to another. After a certain period of time this get very irritating. First of all these guards will insist on checking your handbag and not even look at your gigantic shopping bags. If you are really to bomb this place, the last thing you will do is put it in a purse!!!!!!This is such a waste of time as there are security lapses in the mall because guards barely check you when you enter through the stores and restaurants with exterior access.

    I know this probably gives everyone a false sense of security and these guards are just doing what they are told. That goes for all the cashiers in the check out lanes too. Rules are rules, well intentioned or just plain stupid.

  61. Here’s my SM peeve: so many people behind the counter. You have a lady who punches into the cash register. Then somebody else has to bag it. And sometimes another one, to do this whole receipt check-stamp-thingy. Everybody’s standing next to each other. How many people do you need to check what goes into a plastic bag?

  62. one more thing that we filipino need to do to improve is stop treating cashier or any sales lady as kawawa naman mentality. Explain to them why they are wrong so that they will learn how to improve. Explain that to their manager/supervisor also just in case they also doesn’t understand the logic about it. I really don’t understand because in overseas, Filipino’s are well received as intelligent, hard working employee from garbage collector to a senior manager of a blue chip companies …. why can’t we do it in our own country !!!

  63. Yes, SM has stupid rules. One stupid thing that happened to me was at the package counter at Market! Market’s grocery section. I was going to deposit a bag of vegetables and seeing the man behind the counter on the “Claim” lane and no other customers in sight, I immediately went to him and handed my bag. He told me, “Ma’am sa kabila po ang deposit” to which I quickly responded by pushing my package to the “Deposit” side but staying exactly where I was and smiled a wise-ass smile at him. He realized his stupidity and nodded his head and said, “ay dito na lang po”.

  64. @David Starr: I have to disagree with your post. I grew up in Manila, moved to California at 19, went back to Manila at 23, and moved back to the US for good at 25.

    In general (as in not 100% of the time), customer service in the Philippines is definitely worse than customer service in America. Very often it is inefficient, hampered by stupid rules such as the one Marketman so vividly described, and slow.

    What distinguishes Philippine service from American is that Filipino cashiers, waiters, etc are a lot more deferential towards their customers, at least on the surface. Very often it crosses all the way from deferential to servile, a glaring and disconcerting manifestation of how deeply entrenched the class divide is in Manila.

    However, deferential or servile does not equal good. Not by a long shot. Give me efficient, quick, and common-sense-filled service any day of the week. And twice on Sunday.

  65. I’m laughing out loud at the stupidity of it all. What if you have a huge pack of toilet paper that won’t fit in a basket, do you still have to fall in behind the cart line even if you only have one purchase? *laughs*
    MM, it’s very coincidental that this morning I was at Wally World, I probably had more or less 30 items, walked behind their shop-till-you-drop-cashier (it is Sunday afterall, people are shopping to the brim), one of the supervisors taking into consideration that my cart was not even half full, asked me to go to their 20 items or less aisle since there were less people in that line. I was very thankful for the flexibility.
    That’s definitely a big difference I see since moving to the US, merchants here are more sensible to their customers needs. I agree with fried-neurons, I’ll take common-sense service versus servile service any time of the day too.

  66. Thank you for making my day MM, I was laughing and laughing this morning, my officemates bewildered why I was so amused by myself :) But I do commiserate with you though MM, stupid rules made by logically challenged managers.

  67. This is off-topic, but SM-related anyway.

    Does anyone notice the text at the bottom of their bags, claiming that their plastic is “biodegradable?” From what I’ve heard, their plastic bag IS actually biodegradable, but only after about 10 years! Shouldn’t there be a law against printing that on the bag if it’s practically untrue???

  68. haaay we have a lot of moronic rules in this country. i wonder– is it because the staff don’t want to question authority? or they don’t want the responsibility of thinking and therefore being accountable?

  69. have experience that too in SM Bacoor, was only going to buy some veggies but also ended up filling the two blue baskets. nagsayang lang ako ng laway kasi ganun din pumili din ako sa blue basket lane.

    we have pomegranate trees in our front yard in cavite. but we don’t slice them open..we wait for it to open/crack before we get it from the tree so we know that it’s ripe.
    ang daling tumubo ng pomegrante plant/tree ah? as kids when we ate it we used to have a game of spitting out the seeds, palayuan ng spit ng seeds hehehe..after a few weeks makakita ka na ng seedlings.
    i saw the ones they are selling at grocery stores, ang mahal!! and malalaki sila..the ones we have are smaller pero they are definitely sweet and juicy pa din

  70. In the grocery store here in Sydney where I shop, one can check out at the self-serve, the “15 items or less” and at the regular check out. Occasionally, there are people with more than 15 items who still queue on the “15 items or less”. Ugh!
    But what really irritates me are people who shop while queueing. I also go to Aldi, a German-owned grocery and sometimes I have the great misfortune of queueing behind people who have not finished shopping. The husband loads the conveyor belt while the wife is running around the shop looking for stuff. When the cashier has finished scanning their grocery, the wife is still not finished shopping. So we have to wait patiently until the wife gets everything she needs and is finally at the counter. I just suffer in silence, because commenting would mean more of my time they waste. In the meantime, my ice cream and frozen prawns are melting.

  71. Same exact thing happened to me in SM MAKATI!!! MM, I was laughing out loud reading this! And the worst thing is,if you make a deal out of it, they act as if you’re such a war freak pa! Arrgh! Stupid, stupid! Gosh, maybe someone can forward this to the Sy family? So they know whats going on?

  72. im reminded by a quote by someone whose name escapes me right now–in heaven there would be no rules, in hell there would be nothing but laws.

    i get your pain when you talk about these stupid rules. I, myself have fallen prey to that–but also, i cant help but think that these rules were developed precisely because of shoppers who lack common sense and courtesy, such that they had to develop rules so everything becomes black and white and documented.

    if people had the common sense and courtesy to read and to know that express lanes are meant for people with 10 items or less, and not 11, then they have the right to complain. simpleng rule na nga lang di marunong sumunod, magrereklamo pa.–and the gall of these consumers to say, kasi nagmamadali ako–bakit? sino bang hindi nagmamadali–even the cashiers are nagmamadali to get their job done, to earn their keep. it’s no longer common sense that’s driving them to complain–it’s a frigging sense of entitlement because they supposedly know better.

    stupid begets stupid.

  73. @Dave Starr: If you were referring to me about American supermarkets, I was born in the US and lived there for 40 years. I’ve had a little experience there. :) I lived here in the Philippines now for a mere two years.

    Maybe it’s the part of the country where I lived … but, supermarket CHECKOUTS were better laid out there.

    Service in the Philippines is both better and worse.

    I think one of the things I dislike most here is how many workers are unwilling to say “I don’t know” when asked “where is the XXX?” Instead, they will point you to a random part of the store. In this case it is ZERO customer service and 100% avoiding being embarrassed.

    @Marnie: The cashier in that case should void the order and start with yours. If they didn’t, I would leave your melting ice cream and prawns on their counter and go talk to the manager.

  74. you could have just decided to dump everything and leave the supermarket to buy your stuf elsewhere… will they ever realize the loss of sale if you did that??

  75. MM, I could feel your frustration…

    What the store need is a line manager who monitor the flow of shoppers & direct them to the next available cash register. Basic rules in most grocery store checkout line is under a minute or 2.

    And it would not hurt if they acknowledge that you’ve spent money at their store.

  76. haha.. nice experience there MJM..hmmmm.. We should understand also their part.. maybe there is a lack in management.. but at least there is someone like you who is are like a devils advocate..

  77. Marlon, this was mild, trust me. :) lyna, I thouhgt about it but would waste another half hour or more at another grocery, not to mention ridiculous parking fees to re-shop elsewhere.

  78. Sahre ko lang…

    Mga makakatohanang pangyayari sa aking buhay bilang customer sa Pilipinas


    Me: Miss- mineral water please…
    Food court outlet attendant: Sir- malaki o maliit?
    Me: Yung maliit lang please…
    Food court outlet atendant: Sir- wala kaming maliit.
    Ending: Food court outlet attendant is rushed to the emergency room with a fork stuck in her left eye…


    Me: Eto bayad ko (handing P500)
    Counterperson: Sir- wala kayong barya?
    Me: Meron- pero ayokong ibigay sa ‘yo!


    Me: Guard- sa 12th floor ako
    Guard: Sir- mag registered ho muna kayo
    Me: Ah ok. O yan…
    Guard: Sige sir- proceed na po kayo sa elevator pagka-checked in.
    Me: Ay- thanked you ha!


    Me: Good morning! Emergency exit seat please…
    Ground Steward:(gets my docs but no verbal response, does not even look up… after a couple of minutes hands me my boarding pass, nary a word!)
    Me: Ay! Silent movie! Thank you Charlie Chaplin!


    Me: Miss- yung omelette please
    Crew: Sir- yung special omelette?
    Me: Yes please- ‘bat ba special yun?
    Crew: Ay sir- talagang special yun kasi meron ho yung… EGG!
    Me: Ay! Omelette na may egg? Aba- special nga!

  79. I had the exact same experience yesterday afternoon at north edsa — 2 full baskets that could’ve totalled about 4k and 2 “big cart counters” wide open. Supervisor couldn’t provide a logical explanation either so I left without any purchase. Reminded me why I haven’t done my groceries there despite its being just one trike ride away from home. My solution for situations like these — just don’t give them any business. Probably just a drop in the bucket what they can get from me, but that’s still money I am spending elsewhere and not with them :-)

  80. Argghhh…such a bad experience. I avoid shopping at that grocery….those are really stupid rules. Hayyyy…

  81. same thing happened to me in sm south mall… well, sort of. i had a few goods in a small basket and when i walked up to the counters, the small basket lanes had looooooong lines. i glanced enviously at the large cart lanes because their lines were just 1 or 2 deep. then i spotted a cashier a few counters away with no customer. seeing a large empty cart along the way, i bolted my line and darted towards the lonely cashier. i grabbed the empty cart, placed my small basket inside and armed with the sheepiest smile i could muster, drove the cart up to the lonely cashier. she smiled back a knowing ‘ikaw ha’ smile and proceeded to transact my purchases! well, i had THE silver cart. ehem! rules, rules, rules. in the end, i had a few items and i got experess check-out. period.

  82. I have limited shopping experience with Silly Market, Stupid Market but “Raise ridiculous ping pong paddle looking thing in the air” is a comedic gem sir.

  83. there used to be a buzzer to call the supervisor’s attention. now its “raise the blue pingpong paddle” thing. hay naku, that’s what happens when you have simpletons for rulemakers. nakita nyo kongreso at senado di ba?

  84. I think that a important key in ensuring quick and efficient service is to have the supermarket supervisors or managers direct the actual check-out traffic esp during heavy transactions. That way, they can make “diskarte” on how to de-congest traffic in check-out lanes. The silver cart, blue cart rules may work during non-busy times or when not all counters are with custimers. But, for heavy check-out traffic, the supervisors should actually be on the floor and ensure that customers can check-out at the soonest possible time.
    The problem with these managers/supervisors is that they stay behind the customer service counters all the time, oftentimes being unproductive. This is common in a lot of supermarkets I go to esp SM & always, always, always in Robinsons Marquinton. In Shopwise Libis, I see the supervisors, checking on customer traffic all the time. their prices are ususally higher but they have better customer service than the rest. Dun lang sila nakabawi ng konti.
    And while we’re at it, I discovered that prices in SM aren’t the lowest in town, even for the most basic of items. They also do not carry as much brand options per category and have very limited choices compared to the other supermarkets. I still get the best prices in Cherry & South Supermarkets despite them being in the same vicinity as SM. I live in the Marikina area by the way.

  85. marketman,

    i know your intentions are good. costumer service in the philippines are horrible and yes, there are alot of loopholes in the system.

    but what amuses so much is the idea that you have a lot of free time to annoy, question and challenge the system. and for what? if you just lined up in the other lane, you would have gone home and be done with it. yes, youd wait longer, but compared to all the fighting, making the other person feel less than and bickering like a madman. i hope it was worth it. especially since im sure the rules didnt change after this.

    you know the supervisor or the cashier wouldnt have an answer to your inquiries and your logic. this make you a boyet fajardo in my book. a bully.

    get a life.

  86. Ako naman iba experience pero scary/bothersome in a way. When I went home, I went shopping at the Landmark in Trinoma. I paid for my purchases using a credit card, being in a rush, my signature wasn’t as good as it looked on the credit card. so our conversation went as follows:
    cashier: “ma’am paki-pirma na lang uli kasi di pareho yung signature”
    me: “ha? o sige pero kung gusto mo pakita ko ID ko para sure ka talaga na ako yan.”
    Cashier: “hindi na ma’am. paki pirma na lang uli”

  87. I know stupidity is the most expensive commodity and mother of failures. The way I picture this, the cashier does not have an independent mind to act spontaneously as the need arises. Not vested with that administrative body to act accordingly as the situation dictates. She has to go by the store’s policies and procedures. Same applies to the supervisor. They have to go with what was written in store’s policies and procedures or handbooks otherwise they will out of the door. To me, they have fear of losing their job. Intimidation of losing their job is on top of their head. To me, the cashier and supervisor are not stupid they have the utter fear of losing their job if they did not abide by the store’s rules. With an unemployment rate as high as Mayon Volcano, I, for one, will act what the store policies dictate me to do to secure my job and not to bother myself with common sense. Most of these cashiers and supervisors are armed with college degrees but no choice but to do this meager job. Who is to blame for this inappropriate conduct? I throw the rocks to our elected government officials.

  88. sigh, I have allowed your comment in despite what seems to be an odd email address. I understand your point of simply going on with things, but I disagree that the ruckus was for naught. In a similar situation many years ago around pricing things at another grocery, the manager decided on the spot to change the policy to the benefit of thousands of customers. It wasn’t a line issue, but it was a customer service issue. If folks don’t complain in a logical manner, things will simply get worse. As my favorite t-shirt says, CHOOSE FRUSTRATION OVER APATHY. And if you go back to a simple post a few days ago on nuclear power, you can read for yourself the intelligent back and forth among readers with differing opinions, now viewed by more than 10,000 Filipinos who are hopefully better informed as a result. Imagine if I didn’t write that post? I say if you have a brain, use it.

  89. @sigh:

    Honestly, as a guest to your country, the attitude you espouse, apathy, is what keeps the Philippines in the state that it is in today. People cut in line, nobody says anything. People steal, nobody does anything (except to possibly get their own cut, too). People talk during movies or use their cell phones, ushers don’t do anything even when complaints are made.

    Apathy will keep the Philippines down.

    Think about what you are saying. Really think. Do you honestly wish to be someone who keeps their nose down and does nothing even in the face of problems?

    Where would the Philippines be today if Jose Rizal hadn’t written what he had and done what he did?

  90. Hi Mr. MM, i think it would be too harsh for you to generalize. Although all the SM supermarket branches have those lanes for different kinds of carts, not all cashiers refuse to accommodate you if you don’t have the right cart.

    Last week i was at SM marikina, facing the same situation. I had the blue basket in the blue cart, but the blue basket/cart lane was full, and the adjacent big cart lane was empty. I just asked the cashier if she was willing to accommodate me, she said yes, and there was no problem. The person behind me only had 2 packs of chips to pay for, and the cashier accommodated her as well. It’s not the rule that is stupid, it’s just that one cashier. Maybe she was just too lazy that she refused you because she thought she had the right to.

    But to say that all SM supermarket branches are STUPID, or have stupid rules, i’m sorry but i think you are wrong. really, it’s just the cashier and the supervisor. they just had the wrong combination of people.

  91. i’ve been shopping in SM supermaket for the longest time but so far nothing of this sort has happened yet. thank god!!. but a similar situation happened in PUREGOLD SUPERMARKET. my brother bought one sack of rice and put it in a silver cart and lined up in the basket lane/express lane or 10items or less lane. Because the Express lane had no other customer lined up and because he had only one item to pay for he lined up at that counter. But to his dismay, the cashier asked him to line up at the other lanes. How Stupid!! One sack of Rice is equivalent to One item right? why would the cashier not want to check him out. So our driver carried the one sack of rice and put it in the counter but still the cashier would not want to check them out. She is asking them to go pay at the other counters. How stupid Really !!!

  92. Same thing happened to me. I was about to check out with a few items and saw an open counter w/o a line. The cashier pointed out that it was for big carts only. I said to her “I don’t see anyone in this line.” So she pretty much allowed me to check out.

  93. This also happened to me a few months ago… I also gave the supervisor a piece of my mind… very stupid rule indeed!

  94. this is a very funny post!

    the blue cart lane should also be the fast moving lane.. but its not

    this blue cart lane is also similar to the rule of a certain bank (same group of company as the one with the blue cart lane).. the bank has a fast lane/single transaction.. you can make a deposit or withdrawal or update passbook in the fastlane but if you want to deposit or withdraw then have your passbook updated, you have to fall in line on the regular lane which is the “slow” lane (multiply transaction).. my daughter asked me one time why it is called a fast lane when we were in line for more than 15 minutes! hehehe

  95. oh yes this is so SM. i completely agree with you MM. someone must tell SM that priority should be convenience . some rules should be flexible depending on the given situation.

    Just like the weird rules of national book store you posted before:
    1.the red stamp on all price tags of items that you bought – once i had to change the cartolina because the girl stamped on the paper itself. kainis ! they have not given up on this practice
    2. the super sticky price tag which they put in the most inconvenient places( in front of folders, first page of a diary etc etc
    SM and most department stores:
    1. if you pay 100.00 for a 99.75 item: cashier: may 9.75 ba kayo ? please just give me the 25cents ! and if you don’t have the change they glare at you when the responsibility of having change is theirs not yours !
    2. they put wet items with dry items , cut laundry bars in to teeny weeny pieces, etc etc
    S and R:
    what do they really check as you exit ? i have a strange feeling they just check your receipt mindlessly.

  96. sol, the story I wrote about occured at one SM supermarket. WHERE in the post do I say that all SM groceries in the Philippines do this? Where? And worse, if they have the rule, stupid or not, but then start messing with the application, that just confuses matters more. The bottom line is the rule itself is STUPID. The people are NOT STUPID necessarily… It is the rule that is STUPID.

  97. hahaha….

    i would have definitely blown my top….but I guess it just plain old common sense…once in a while, these things have to happen to jolt these people out of their mundane everyday routine rendering them mindless….as if in a trance…it becomes automatic…

    MM, maybe you were just unlucky that day…hehe…


  98. another stupid SM rule that irked me once was their insistence on using plastic bags. i once bought two pens and a greeting card from there. since i hate using plastic bags, i told the cashier not to bother putting my items in one since my bag was big enough to hold the things i bought. she said, “ay kailangan po iplastic ma’am. baka po masita kayo ng guard.” i told her it’s fine by me and i’ll just show the guard my receipt. did she listen to me? heck, no! she proceeded to place my items in one big bag! so what i did was to take out my things, put it in my bag, and dropped the plastic in front of her. so stupid, indeed.

  99. i had one experience also…carrying two baskets to the cashier, she refused to check me out since the lane was for one basket only. right infront of her and the bagger, i stuffed all items into one basket. i had the last laugh.

  100. This reminds me why I don’t go to the big supermarkets anymore. I would rather go to medium-sized neighborhood supermarkets where parking is free and cashiers and staff are a lot friendlier. You can even change your mind at the last minute and have something changed even if you’ve already paid for it. I can imagine all the hassle it would entail if I did that in SM.
    Just wondering if you’ve already heard from SM management. Where are their customer relations officers?

  101. hahahha it happened to me at stupid mega mall, i din the same thing. threw the stuff from my blue basket to the silver ones.

  102. they also have a mini some sort of a badminton racket used by the cashiers to wave to the customer relations officer to catch their attention when they made a mistake punching items to be voided. the customer service relations are wearing a yellow sash. and not even they are stupid, they also look really really stupid.

  103. Dave Starr: I disagree with your post and I agree with fried-neurons and James. I grew up in the Philippines and have lived here in Los Angeles, California for the past 6 years and the customer service here is definitely better, in fact, you seldom see very long lines in groceries like the ones there in the Philippines and as soon as the Manager sees there is a long line, they open more check out lanes. I also love the self-serve lanes. Excellent customer service too in stores like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale, and Nordstrom. You can tell the sales lady what you want and she goes around the store looking for it and comes up with several clothes you can choose from. That is not done in SM as far as I know. Returning items is also a breeze here. I remember buying a defective Christmas decor (it was cut up into pieces) in SM Makati and when I tried to exchange it, the saleslady was so rude and refused to accept it saying I cut it up myself and changed my mind. How disgusting! I understand where you’re coming from Marketman. It’s truly frustrating when you encounter people like these.

  104. hello,

    guess, someone from Stupid Market has taken this rant in to some sense. Yesterday,I had the same situation with MM and the cashier just took my baskets without any question, and a smiling face to go with that…
    i think the real problem here is that most companies that makes rules just have quick-fix solutions without thinking nor having critical analysis of the true situation, when the ultimate goal is to provide best service to its clients.

  105. hi MM! this is one of my pet peeves. i’m glad i haven’t had the misforture of this happening to me at my neighborhood shopwise. :)

  106. or is this another oppurtunity for you to brag about how many people read your blog and how it catches attention? tell me, aside from a big pat on your ego, do you get a hard on each time your hits go up?

  107. wow the thread for this is so long!


    all though mind you, shopwise cubao, has some of the dumbest cashiers also.
    but for shopewise libis, they’re great. couldnt say anything more for their services.

    i had the same experience also with Stupid Market.
    so even if i just live near Stupid Market..5mins drive incl. parking….i still go to shopwise.

    and you know how mean i got with them…? i transferred all the items to the big silver cart…asked them to check it out, then told them, i changed my mind, will come back because they PISSED ME off big time.

    sweet revenge. >:-)

  108. oh and another rant at SM…here in marikina riverbanks Save More…the main entrance of SM Save More is like only approx.40meters from the entrance of Riverbanks Mall.

    When i entered Riverbanks mall on my way to Save More, of course i have to let the guard check my bag. so after the inspection, (on my way to Save More now at 40meters distance only ) the guard at SM Save More asked me to open my bag again. which i just closed almost infront of him! and! my bag is only a purse..for god’s sake, i cant even swipe a measly can of sardines in it. and yet they wouldnt let me in!

    i told him, you saw me closing the bag, sana you told me immediately that you need to inspect it first.
    the reason why i was so furious, was that, when i tried to observe him, he’s not consistent in checking bags. he would just check if he’s at his conscious mind of checking it at that instant…grrrr…

    so even if i dont mind to undermine his IQ, i told him, does he really think i can steal anything in this purse? or is it possible for me to carry a bomb in that purse? damn it.

    SM really has overhaul their entire employees….

  109. oops sorry for my bad grammer. wasnt proofreading it , before posting. is sleepy as well… :(

  110. oops sorry for my bad grammar. wasnt proofreading it , before posting. is sleepy as well… :(

  111. what really pisses me off…its when the cashier upon giving your change would say, “ok lang po ba kulang akong ng seventy five centavos?” …if i want to buy something and kulang ako ng seventy five centavos would i be allowed to say the same?

  112. @enrick: I am with you there. Cashiers should have change. Don’t ask me if I have a smaller bill or if I’m willing to accept that they somehow can’t keep enough 25c coins around.

  113. and that is why I just stopped shopping in that stupid mart some 15 years ago….

  114. This happened to me during a lazy weekday afternoon. I simply had to raise my voice, intimidate the cashier, and I was checked through. By the time my transaction was done, the supervisor arrived and I pointed out the stupidity of the rule, and she said (which I thought was commendable of her), that I should not be upset at the cashier because that was how they were trained. And the supervisor apologized, and told me that she will certainly make sure that the cashiers be trained to allow for flexibility in such a situation.

  115. rank and file employees here are simply not trained to think out of the box. they are just taught to follow rules in black and white like robots. doesn’t that say something about the filipinos’ mentality/intelligence vs. westerners’? those sm employees should have just thought of their sister company bdo’s tagline… we find ways

  116. MM hi,
    nice post again. i can’t help notice these things everytime i go home for a vacation in the Philippines. i dont know if it is lack of sensetivity on my part but sometimes it is plain annoyingly stupid. Most of the time, i would look mayabang if i put out a comment or try to correct things (sometimes with in the family) and if i keep quiet, i feel nothing is being resolved.
    What if we send this post to the people involved. I’m sure there is a way we trace those people. i know somebody in SM and i’m sure they are very willing to change for better. If we can correct this one maybe we can move to other issues and so on.

  117. pnyorker, I often write companies with situations like this. But in this case, I left it with the manager of the store. In some cases, change is indeed effected, but in most, not.

  118. Hi,
    Greetings from sunny Spain!
    Read the article, read the comments.
    One thing is for sure, Spain is such a boring place. I mean, I have never, in my thirty years living here, experiences such “stupidity”, “idiocy” “silly rules”. I’d like to have that sometime so I can raise my voice, make a few derogatory remarks and look around to see how people would react.
    As for my experience in Washington DC, well, I did have a rather stupid cashier who said that “this computer doesn’t actually multiply” and that she had to register each postcard one by one. I bought 27 postcards in all—same price—so I told her to count the number of postcards then multiply the said amount. The big black momma stared at me, then said in a big voice that that was impossible to do—hence, she registered each postcard individually, the price individually. I stood there shaking my head thinking how stupid her “computer” was!!! In a nutshell, you’ll find stupid people wherever you are in the world. I travel extensively and one just have to act in a brazen, non-chalant manner, otherwise, they will simply get your goat, so to speak. As for rules, indeed they are needed since many Filipinos flaunt them. However, in that particular instance, the rank and file cashiers would do well to remember to use their common sense once in a while. Sadly, rank and file employees are afraid to do so especially when they are “temps” for a good six months. As for SM, they should look into these problems before irate customers switch allegiance to other hypermarkets/supermarkets, which I have done in Spain, for reasons of price.

  119. sm employees.. they are not actually humans… they are gerbils from the north shore of caticlan island. they feed on peoples waste and they don’t take a bath. The owner of the establishment force them to wear human-like masks to hide their true form.

  120. The country is SM magnified 10 times….kawawa naman tayo

    pati congress gawa ng gawa ng rules ay naku

  121. HI, Marsha-n,
    Is it really necessary to make putrid comments like that? Do you really have to go down to that level? Putting your message across in that manner doesn’t add to the insults and derogatory remarks already prepared by other commenters. You did try to be funny but it failed. I don’t see the funny side of it all, but it does speak more about you though, as a subjective observer. Next time, make sure your comments have practical sense, rather than just trying to be a lousy comedian. YOuTube commenters are the same: bad language, poor vocabulary, poor observations, nasty tactics. let’s not go down that road, OK? Thanks. Cheers

  122. i completely feel your pain MM! I have to give you credit for staying there and paying for your groceries….and not walking out.. I have to say though, I will chose the silly market, stupid market and stupid rules in the philippines than to live and deal with the bitches that are in new york. the phiippines still have way better customer service compared to the cashiers here in new york…then again, maybe i’m just homesick.

  123. This happened yesterday. I had 3 items and was about to go queue at the basket lane. Didn’t notice that one of the cart lanes was empty. The idle cashier actually got out of her seat and beckoned me to her empty lane, but asked me to handcarry the items and not bring the basket. Laughed to myself, remembering this entry.

  124. and it happens still…
    maybe it’s in their manual or something?
    in iloilo, if you make a big fuss about it, the supervisor gets the bagger to transfer your stuff from the blue cart to the silver cart. dont ask me why it makes better sense to them than changing the rules…

  125. It is still happening…
    When we complained about the stupid rule, the manager just apologized and said that they’d informed management to open additional basket lanes…

  126. I regularly shop at SM…it’s the closest supermarket to my home and I really don’t see the point of going out of my way, spending a lot of money on gas, toll fees, and parking just to find a better supermarket, not unless I really need an ingredient or item which SM does not regularly stock. It just doesn’t make economic sense to me.
    I noticed the whole change in rules with regard to check out lanes only recently and I agree that it is a bit excessive and lacking in common sense. I have encountered grumblings from other customers and a cashier who almost denied me service because I had placed my baskets in the big silver cart until I pointed out to her that, technically, I was following the rules.
    I do get frustrated with some of the recent “developments” by the SM management but I am hopeful that with the number of complaints by customers this nonsensical policy will be removed or, at the very least, modified to make more sense.

  127. i am an SM Supermarket shopper too, because here in bacolod they are the only grocery with large aisles. MM, i agree with you na mali talaga yung rules nila with BIG CARTS and BLUE CARTS usage. Kaya ako, everytime i do my grocery, i always use the big cart na lg….:) kc stupid tlga yung rules nila when it comes to queuing na. ATTENTION SM MANAGEMENT SANA MABASA NYO TO.

  128. Marsha-n says:
    sm employees.. they are not actually humans… they are gerbils from the north shore of caticlan island. they feed on peoples waste and they don’t take a bath. The owner of the establishment force them to wear human-like masks to hide their true form.

    Marsha-n, ITS NOT ABOUT SM EMPLOYEES…ITS ABOUT THEIR SUPERMARKET REGULATIONS. Wag naman below the belt…MM, paki moderate naman ng ibang posts pwede….:(( thanks a lot.

  129. MarketManila, I wonder why the comment labelling you and the people visiting your site as ‘communists’ got deleted but the comment from Marsha-n wasn’t? I know this is your site and you can do whatever, I just find it unfair since you can of course defend yourself against such verbal attacks, the people being belittled by this person’s comments couldn’t.

    Also, I’d like to point out to the readers who keep on saying ‘only in the Philippines’ or ‘only with Filipinos’ whenever something’s not done properly that inefficiency, corruption and stupidity crosses cultural identities and races, why do we belittle our own race is totally beyond me. And it’s amusing to see how a non-Filipino living in the Philippines kept on insisting that long queues and clueless supermarket staff can also be experienced in the US and elsewhere, some Filipinos are only too keen to generalise that customer service especially those provided by Filipinos is just downright bad. Being critical of our flaws as a race and as a nation is acceptable but implying that what we do as Filipinos is always sub-standard is just hurtful and untrue.

  130. Well well-I just came from Shoemart and was trying to buy something from their department store–when I was about to pay and gave them my credit card–they refused because on the back portion of my card instead of my signature I wrote the words “see ID”-for security purposes-lo and behold they refused and insisted that I should sign my card.
    My gosh-are they not aware that not signing of credit card at the back has been going on gazillion years ago abroad–
    is this one of their stupid rules again?
    The supervisor told us that there is a memo on this and told us to write management to be enlightened!
    What is this?!!!

  131. My experience doesn’t have to do with checkout lanes but with another example of stupidity. At certain times of the day at the Megamall grocery, staff members are made to do this stupid cheer touting their “Customer Service”. Heck, it’s so cheesy I don’t really bother to stop and listen.

    One day, I encountered a little boy about 4 years old bawling for his mommy. I immediately approached and tried to pacify him, asking what his mom was wearing so I could help locate her. After a few minutes, and now merely teary-eyed, we were walking hand-in-hand to the “Customer Service” counter to have have his mother paged. To everyone’s relief, his mom had the same idea and we bumped into her there.

    Oh, and where were the staff members during this entire time? A few feet away doing their stupid song and dance routine, drowning out the child’s cries. “Customer Service” indeed.

  132. can a cart, just be a cart?

    to think the other counters/cashiers are empty and yet we have to fall in line and follow their stupid policies. same thing happened to me and my wife in “Stupid Market Cebu”…not only did we fall in line (after my wife complained), the worse thing was they let a tourist/foreigner (with the same colored basket) pay in the “big carts only” lane and the cashier just let her thru. talk about colonial mentality, i mean when do we learn, they should have a customer service 101 training or something.
    oh well…i hope their management would do something about this crappy service and lame policy NATIONWIDE.

  133. OH MY G! I seriously thought I’m alone in this. This is one of the things that really makes my blood boil from anger! My Mom said I have been in “argument” with the cashiers and supervisors of SM way more times than most people in their lifetime.

    Their blue basket and big cart rule really is stupid and I have told them twice. I stopped at that number cuz they do not seem to get my point and I was just wasting my time and effort explaining to deaf ears or is it just deaf ears?

    Other things that irritate me in SM is the way they “throw” the items after they scan it. I mean I choose fruits with no bruise but then you’ll just do that? Why did I even choose in gthe first place? Second is when I pay using my atm/debit card. They just swipe and swipe repeatedly and will tell me it’s denied. It’s because they just keep assuming it is a savings account when it’s a current account. It’s in their SOP right? So now I don’t wait for them to ask me, I tell them immediately it’s this account type but then they wouldn’t listen so they will choose savings again and it will be denied! Wow!

    I have to say I hate that moron look the cashiers give to us shoppers as if we really are morons! More so, I hate how Filipinos react to complaints. It’s as if we’re just fuzzy, that we are maarte. Most Pinoys are just so used to it that they perceive it as if it’s normal to receive such treatment. And I’m a bitch if I complain about it.



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