Is this high-tech or what.

Apr 2, 2011 by

I never bothered asking if they can actually improve their system, but it’s baffling to see how a mall such as SM (for non-Filipinos, SM is practically another country on Philippine shores, except that it has a better government than Philippines itself) settle for a paddle or table tennis racket as a technology in handling cashier-customer concerns. See photo below.

The sequence of events:

1. You would know when the poor cashier makes a tsk, tsk sound while she opens the cash register. She displays an air of disappointment because she realizes she has run out of change.

2. She politely excuses herself for what seems to be taking time because, hello, she would need assistance from her superiors who are about about 5 meters away in a counter called “Customer Service.”

3. She raises her ping-pong-paddle-looking devise. At first you would think this devise transmits some sort of an Ultra-High Frequency wave that prompts the receiving party to know. Of course you’d realize it doesn’t. It’s just one plain ping-pong-paddle.

4. The waiting time varies depending on customer traffic, or the time of the day. However, I have experienced a lengthy waiting because the superior could not move fast. See photo below.

5. The superior is pregnant. It looks like her bag of water will explode in 3 minutes. She gives out several small bags full of coins and loose bills.

6. Then I get my change. See photo below.

It’s a tiring idea to think about their routine. Why can’t they just have enough change? My accountant friend says it’s for control and accounting purposes. She was explaining the details, but I shut my ears. I’m an artist, not a numbers person. So then if that’s their reason, why don’t they come up with a more discreet method? Buzzer, anyone? Or those buttons banks use where your number gets called out? Anything but the ping-pong paddle!

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  1. Aimee

    Indeed! Their supermarket cashiering sucks big time! Why is it that they always run out of loose change? It is so irritating. Either they ask you for additional coins or they raise the dreaded paddle! Lucky you if you can come up with the 12.50 so the cashier can give you the 20 peso bill as your change. Or else you wait. For that twaddling duck of a supervisor. Five minutes of waiting. And ohh, no bagger around. Another 5 minutes. A vast contrast to their marketing spiel: “Clap clap clap! At your service, YES!”


  2. FG

    bwahahahaha!!! I love how you write about these random things and transform it into this!!!

  3. bobby

    Bwahahaha! Your comment is an independent rant in itself! LOL! Everything you said is so true! I wish they could improve their system.

  4. mabeck

    camera-shy c nene.

    k bob, sm can’t afford, i repeat, can’t afford buzzers.

  5. Willy Schott

    What is so bad about the paddle? I don’t believe the superior would react any faster when called via buzzer. On the other hand, the paddle has a big advantage easily overlooked: customers farther back in line can clearly and immediately see if there is absolute necessity of additional patience, and enables them to be mentally well-prepared. So the paddle has a built-in conflict minimizing feature. Buzzers cannot achieve that. Supermarkets in so-called developed countries can still learn a lot from how things are handled elsewhere.

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