Friday, June 30, 2006

What you are does not define who you are, it's what you do.

A country claims to be Catholic, and yet many politicians, all Catholics themselves, all are not good role models for good Christian/Catholic leaders. The result: their constituents say "If they do it, we'll do it too." Some of their constituents do not know of what they do. But in the end, they say "everyone does it, so why can't we?"

It's not what you are that defines you, it's what you do.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kudos to Wendy's SM Centerpoint - but I take it back, thanks to that stupid cashier. And what's up with the additional Quezon City tax on food?

I haven't posted it before, but I went to Wendy's at SM Centerpoint, had I think P125 in my wallet, ordered the P125 meal, and then it turned out that the bill was more than P125, thanks to the additional tax that Quezon City imposes on these establishments (and that these establishments do not add to their listed price). So my order was there already, as well as my payment, although lacking by a few pesos. I think I told them to cancel my order na lang because it turned out I didn't have enough money pala.

The manager, a nice (young) lady, then decided to just let me go with the few bucks. Thank you, Ms. (or is it Mrs.) Manager, I'm sorry I didn't get your name.

That was a long time ago (a few months).

What's up with the Quezon City tax? Technically I'm fine with that. The extended value added tax (EVAT) after all helped strengthened the Philippine Peso. But how come these establishments (not just Wendy's, but most of the fastfood establishments including #1 Jollibee, and #2? McDonald's) do not yet include the QC tax with their listed price. For uniformity among their branches I guess. It would be weird that Value Meal #3 is PhP125 in Makati and everywhere else in the Philippines, and PhP128 or whatever in Quezon City locations. But, what's wrong with that? It's the price you have to pay for doing business in Quezon City.

Anyway, just last Tuesday, I had a snack at the same Wendy's store. Different manager now, or at least on that time and day. I paid more than enough which meant I had change. The cashier asked, "Sir, okay lang po ba na kulang ako ng 20 cents?" My mom would have reacted "Centavos, hija! Cents, mahal yon." Anyway, I reacted by saying "No." It turned out, my change should have been 21 centavos. If they just gave me 25 centavos, their change would have been over by 4 centavos only. Imagine, they were asking me to give up 21 centavos, and they can't give up 4 centavos. Wendy's earns thousands more a month than I do, and they can't afford to give me 5 times what they're demanding me to give them. Well, it's not Wendy's maybe. It's that stupid cashier. And she's not the only one. Almost everyone is like that. I pity them for they do not know what they are doing is STEALING. Well, on the good side, at least she asked me. But she asked me to give up 20 centavos but I was actually giving up 21 centavos.

Do you get my point? It is so pathetic. It's happening all over the Philippines. Is this post detrimental to Philippine Tourism? No, I don't think so. What that cashier did and that many other cashiers do, that's detrimental. We can argue all day, everyone in the Philippines always seem to justify their mistakes, even "educated" and "rich" people. A typical excuse is "everyone else does it." What you are does not define who you are, it's what you do.

JetStar Asia - Negative 5 Stars

I am glad that an "Asian" airline, JetStar Asia, got some award for Best Budget Airline of the Year - this year, 2006, I think. I remember taking a "budget" airline, Southwest Airlines, back in the late 90's (or was it in 2000/2001?) to get from Oakland to San Diego, a 1-hour intra-state trip. I booked my aunt's and my own ticket over the internet. It was cool.

I did the same for my trip from Manila to Singapore. The JetStar website warned me that I will have to pay PHP550 for the terminal fee at the Manila airport. I know that already, no complaints. For any other airline I take for international trips from Manila, I will have to pay the same.

They did not however warn me that I will have to pay PhP1620 for travel tax, before I could check-in.

I got my ticket at a ~50% off promo. It's US$79 one way, that's US$158 for a return trip, then plus some tax (maybe Singapore travel taxes and airport terminal fees), it's US$217 total. That's just about PhP11,300. Add the travel tax, it's about PhP12920. If I took a regular priced ticket, it would have been around PhP24,000.

Compare that to Philippine Airlines' regular price: around PhP16,000 (~US$300), that includes the travel taxes, and a meal and inflight entertainment already.

So JetStar Asia - a budget airline? I don't think so. So, if it wasn't a budget airline, with the 50% off promo, JetStar Asia is 5 stars. Because it's a "budget airline" - they don't have meals or in-flight entertainment (and not all the flight attendants were friendly) - make that a NEGATIVE 5 stars.

When taking a JetStar Asia promo to go to Singapore from the Philippines, first check the promo - they sometimes say "as low as $33" - it's not always that low. Next, compare your fare with Philippine Airlines' or other "regular" airlines. Also, consider the inconvenience: you'll need to pay an additional ~PhP400 for a meal and drink, and about PhP460 for inflight entertainment, and your trip back home is at 7:30am (as opposed to 1:30pm for Philippine Airlines). Lastly, can you speak English fluently? I had co-passengers who didn't have that luxury of speaking English very fluently; they had a hard time with the staff, whose accent when speaking English is not so familiar to Filipinos.

No, I am not an employee nor am I endorsing Philippine Airlines. I'm saying JetStar Asia is not a budget airline, strictly speaking. It's an airline that's on budget, at the cost of its passengers, ultimately. Maybe that's why it's a budget airline, because on a low budget (on their end), they earn more than the regular airlines.

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