Rare Respect for this Government Office

This post was originally posted in my other blog. I felt the need to repost it for many reasons. Read and find out… at your own risk ūüėČ

I have always been amazed of the rare neoclassical architecture of the Philippine Postal Corporation

 

If you have noticed, the pictures were limited from the façade and the external structures of the building. I haven’t shown anything within the premises. On the few times I visited the Philippine Postal Corporation, I always catch an ongoing event. The main service area that accepts all letters and packages has an equally magnificent architectural finish. The high ceilings with intricate detailing, sturdy and elegant marble tiles, wooden tables reflective of the old and local wooden carvings and the distinct patterns of the metal railings of each transaction counter.

While some of you might think that the Philippine Postal Corporation is perfect, there are far more hidden areas of improvement that demand attention. More than the decline of the usage of traditional mail, some facilities inside the building are pleading for restoration or at the very least, minor renovations.

Whenever I have to claim a parcel abroad, I always receive this notification to visit W-124. The section is situated in the underground level and often unknown to everyone. In my case, I discovered the area when I decided to redirect all my packages at the workplace’s address. Since I work in Manila, I figured out that my packages would arrive earlier.

On my first time to visit W-124, I have to inquire for specific directions. The security personnel were kind enough. As I was navigating my way to the underground floor, a few employees willingly pointed me the direction even without asking.

When I found the W-124, this is what fronted me.

Cracked and bare cement floors that still exhibit cleanliness though, heavily stained walls, rusty metal gates that separate the clients from the attending employees and counters that would at least look half decent with minor repaint.

The customer reception area looks so pathetic. One can’t imagine this condition to exist, amidst the magnificent neoclassical architecture. However, there are far more depressing scenes. The place where the attending employee stays is more tragic. I didn’t take photos out of respect and courtesy. But dear God, the area where packages are sorted will never look conducive for working. It is not airconditioned although there are electric fans provided. How could they bear the heat in the always summer temperature in Manila? The bare cement floors, dark and unpainted walls, poor lighting and the ceilings that are meant only for storage of old and unused things. The area looks like the classic warehouse used as hideout for gangsters and kidnap victims in those local action films.

In short, the area will never be conducive for working. While I don’t have the right to complain for the employees, I feel a degree of sympathy for them. The kind of services they are rendering does not reflect any sign of dissatisfaction from their pitiful workplace. The employees are courteous, smiling and don’t look exhausted at all. In fact, I’m the one who looks more haggard. lol Sometimes I even caught them joking and laughing over silly stories. I often subscribe to the idea that happy employees are bred by a favorable working environment and good pay. But the employees designated at W-124 serve as real life contradictions of this traditional belief.

I also have to mention the transparency and strict compliance of the designated Customs Officer. Despite his huge and intimidating beer belly (heeehee Sorry, Sir), he was consistent in implementing the custom fees. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about unexplained and anomalous fees. In my case, I never experienced any form of extortion or corruption. I only paid the mandatory Php 50 inspection fee for my packages worth less than Php 3,000.

While my post can’t do anything to improve their welfare, I just want to commend the hardworking and forever customer oriented employees of the Philippine Postal Corporation. My recognition specifically goes to the customs officer and the two lady personnel assigned in W-124. Despite the negative impressions that taint government employees, they provided great service doesn‚Äôt come with an expensive pay and price tag.

Who’s the real client?

I’m back to work after a week long break. This is a rare privilege I receive as a result of working for a school. Pay may not be that competitive, but we are compensated with so much vacay. The next long break I’m looking forward is the ¬†two-week Christmas to New Year holiday.

Feeling refreshed and recharged, I went to work early only to arrive late. FTW! Some forces are trying to decelerate my momentum. Despite the early morning frustration, I’m feeling that this will be my week. I’m feeling the positive energy. ¬†Yes, I’m claiming it! Problem is, ¬†if I’m really interested to work, why am I here? Why am I blogging instead of starting work early? To my defend myself, I consider this post as my warming exercise for writing. My work for today entails a lot of writing. Hence, why not start the day by publishing one post.

One of my favorite topics to write is Customer Service. It has been the cause of ¬†both my ire and pleasure. Most of the time however, I admit that I’m exerting more efforts in documenting those negative experiences. Perhaps this can serve as a blogging objective next year. I have to fill this blog with positive stories and experiences. ¬†I have to compensate every frustration with a positive story. Sounds like a good and manageable deal to me then.

Before I finally venture to this self-imposed deal, allow me to share another point of criticism that emerged from another failed customer service experience. ¬†Borrowing Britney Spears’ famous line, yes they did it again.

Some weeks ago, I went to this foreign brand shoe boutique in the North. I’ve been lusting a pair from their collections since the beginning of the year. ¬†I decided to give myself the ¬†much needed peace of mind. I headed to their store on a weekday morning. I figured out that this ¬†idle time is the best for stress and hassle free shopping.

I was expecting a customer empty shop. ¬†My expectations failed me to some extent. ¬†There were only two customers who were surprisingly attended by the shop’s entire team. I saw a chaos of shoe boxes and more than a dozen of shoes scattered. It felt like I was watching two modern day princesses surrounded by her army of rattled slaves. ¬†The modern day princesses happened to be this famous fashion blogger and a local celebrity.

I ignored their presence and searched for the pair I will be taking home. When I was already settled with my preferred color and style, I approached the empty cashier area to signify my intention of purchasing. It took a hell of 15 minutes before a sales personnel finally attended to my concern.  At that time, my inferiority complex hormones made an unexpected attack. I felt like a stupid being begging and waiting for that drop of attention.  It felt like I was another slave who has to give way to a member of the royalty.

When a sales personnel finally acknowledged my existence, I courteously asked for a new stock in my size.  I never received any form of apology or even that drop of kind customer service. If another person have been in my shoes, the shop will probably be bathed with their month long quota of tongue-lashing.   The always silent person in me will never do it. Lucky for them, unfortunate for me.

I left the store with my most awaited pair. The product has delivered its promise and fulfilled my expectations. As with the customer service experience, it was the complete opposite.  For the entire year, I can say that this was the lowest of the low customer service experience I had.

If I have something to be proud and thankful for this experience, my saving consolation is my choice of keeping my composure. I didn’t make any scene to humiliate anyone. I didn’t return the favor of the unfavorable treatment.

At some point however, part of me is shouting that I could have done something to emphasize my right. Between me and the celebrity with the fashion blogger, I AM THE REAL and PAYING CLIENT.

Untold Teacher Story

I will hold on to my belief that I belong to one of the most noble professions in the world.

I’m a part time college instructor.

I may not be a full pledged educator. I only became one by virtue of my part time job. But the fact that I’m teaching, I claim the rights of becoming a member of this elite group.

As much as I want to forever feel honored of being in this profession, two instances threatened to ruin everything.

Some years ago, one of my students approached me for an unlikely favor. He wanted to borrow some amount of money from me. At first I was surprised because for all I know, all the kids enrolled in our school came from middle to high income families. In our conversations, I even remember him telling me that his Father’s secretary assisted him in encoding the responses in his survey questionnaires. I gave him the money he needed. After some months, he fulfilled his promise of repaying his debt. Weeks after, he made the same request. He is a candidate for graduation so I again lend him the amount he needed. He promised to pay me after graduation. Months passed and I heard no words from him. I communicated with him through email. He asked for my account number and later told me he deposited the payment. I checked my bank account and discovered nothing. I told him what I found out and he never communicated with me again.

Months ago, a former student added me on Facebook. She was very eager to communicate with me. We would regularly exchange messages. I even gave her my mobile number, which I don’t allow with my current students. A week later, she surprised me with a text message. She was attempting to borrow a significant amount of money. I deposited a lesser amount to her bank account. I really wanted to help so I told her to pay me when she already has the means.

Weeks after, she was again attempting to borrow money. This time, I felt terrified. I didn’t bother to ask what was happening to her. I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Though one of my friends told me that I should have asked. Since it’s my money that will be used, I deserve to know. To my defense, I told my friend that I have my own quota of worries. I don’t want to burden myself more. This time, I wasn’t able to lend money. Aside from the fact that my savings account is threatened, I have a feeling that I’m opening myself to be abused. As of this day, my student never communicated with me again.

I related my story to my Mother and as expected, it was another bad decision I made.

As I was recalling these two stories, frustration transpired as my prevalent sentiment. I was frustrated for many reasons.

I was frustrated because I was convinced that our students will all have a better life after graduation. I assumed that their lives are mapped out that way. I failed to see the reality that finishing school is not guarantee of financial progress. Oh well, I should have seen myself as a living example. I have a Master’s degree but I’m troubled with all the debts I have to pay. Added to these are my fears of not being able to support my aging parents and special brother.

Another source of my frustration is the respect that I seemed to lost. When my first student decided to deceive me, I felt disrespected. It wasn’t really because of the money that he failed to return. The feeling of being disrespected emanates from his attempt of lying to me. I may not even qualify as a good teacher but at the very least, he knows that I did my job. I made all means so that they can beat the deadline for the thesis defense. I slept with their paper and did my best to have them submit a decent work.

As for my other student, my sentiments remain the same. She and her classmates know that I’m an equally struggling educator. They see me commute everyday. I take all forms of public transportation. I don’t eat in the expensive school canteen. I never owned an expensive phone. I use same pair of black shoes. She sees me lining up at Bayad Centers for the pile of bills. But why did she choose to rely to their equally struggling teacher? But I think the better question would be, why did they choose to disregard me when they have all means to reach me. I felt used and abused. I felt disrespected.

At this point, I’m no longer after the money that they promised to return. I’m actually fine extending some assistance. What rather frustrates me is that while they have all the means to tell me the truth, they chose to hide and ignore my existence.

If they care enough to respect me as a person, they should have told me that they don’t have plans of treating me one.

New Journey Series – When prudence meets a desperate dream

Over the past days to months, my struggle to become financially independent has been a dilemma that never left my mind. This has been causing me worries and occasional anxiety attacks. Will I be able to pay my bills for the next three years? Will I have more freelance jobs and writing assignments? No matter how good are my plans and intentions, there are just some things that happen way beyond my control. Sigh..

In my attempt to remain loyal with my much needed mission to be accomplished, I was monitoring my expenses and exerting all means to beat the temptation to spend. The only thing I can be proud of myself now is that I no longer use my credit cards for my purchases. When I want a new blouse or a pair of shoes, I pay everything in cash. My only purchases made through credit cards include the replacement for our 20+ years old refrigerator and my phone that was begging for eternal rest. LOL The cards were used as substitute and not as an extender to my purchasing capacity.

A week ago, I did some decluttering in my room and guess what happened? I was able to almost complete my Christmas list. It’s only now that I discovered that I hoarded a lot of things within a span of a year. I shopped for goods which I thought would be useful. I obviously accumulated things that consumed space and ripped a huge hole in my pocket.

As much as I want to show the proof of my shopaholic attacks, I prefer to keep them because some of my friends might accidentally land on this post. My Christmas presents will be busted then. Haha For those who are raising their eye brows and wanted to call me selfish, go on! One thing I can assure is that all my presents are NEW and never been used. I can still draw the dividing line of my prudence vs. deceit and selfishness .

All the while, I thought that I will be spared from purchasing gifts for everyone. I thought I’m almost done with my Christmas list. Almost not until someone invited me to join their Kris Kringle. Just when I’m teaching and disciplining myself to limit my expenses, I have to spend more for these three-times-a-week-gift-giving. Call me The Grinch but I never loved the idea of buying gifts that would just end up as useless pieces at home, as a result of complying with those “something” “something” requirement. I’d rather spend and lavish gifts the people close to my heart or share a fraction of my much awaited 13th month pay to organizations that awaken that soft spot in my heart.

Another reason why I never loved this weekly gift giving marathon is the minimum amount requirement. (Tag me now as a killed joy and pathetic loser. ) We were asked to purchased something not lower than Php 30. Cheap but do that 3 to 5 times a week, that’s already a significant amount of money. Added to it the fact that I won’t settle with the idea of buying a gift for the sake of compliance. Since it’s a gift, I might as well make it as a real gift.

Since I don’t want to bother and accummulate additional worries to my overloaded system, I went to the mall two days ago to fulfill my Kris Kringle list. So here’s what happened.

I’m finally done and almost happy not until I checked my receipts. I would like to believe that I surpassed the requirement of not becoming an annoying gift giver. I bought useful gifts but when I did the Math, I failed! You see, this is a shouting evidence that I’m never good in budget execution.

As I’m trying to convince myself that I’ll just call it a day, I remembered something that I should have purchased. Gift wrappers!!! No, I wouldn’t want to spend again so I allowed the ambitious and pretentious Martha Stewart in me to handle things. LOL

I checked my cabinet that housed my shopping bags (another proof of my shopaholic attacks) and I did some desperate DIY moves.

Redundantly desperate!

How I wish I was blessed with just a drop of the talent of Martha Stewart or the famous Papemelroti’s Alejandro family. I never knew that creativity can go a long way. Aside from the fact that DIY projects can save some money, it could even turn to some business opportunities… if taken seriously. Now that I’m taking DIY seriously, the more important question is

Will DIY take me seriously too? LOL

When I discovered the happiness in Online Shopping

I never bought the idea of online shopping…..before! Since I worked hard for every cent¬†in my wallet, I want my¬†purchases to¬†be¬†nothing but the¬†best and¬†perfect fit¬†.¬†I was never settled with the idea of buying a piece of clothing without ever fitting it.¬†I¬†was also convinced that sometimes, clothes look¬†beautifully deceiving¬†to the teeny weenie¬†built of the¬†models.

I think this conviction will soon vanish when I discovered some happiness and fulfillment in the fast process of online shopping yesterday.

I live in a country where online shopping is only starting to proliferate. Most people I know also don’t like the idea of buying something¬†they only see¬†from their¬†computer’s monitor. Safe and¬†secured¬†online shops¬†also rarely exist in the Philippines. The most that we have here are Multiply and Sulit, where money back guarantee and customer support are not available. They are like sites where¬†you can¬†shop at your own risk.

I’ve been following a few fashion bloggers and I recently encountered the online shop called Zalora.¬†I was simply interested so I hopped to their site. And what happened next? I was brought to a heaven of shoes, clothes and bags.

I was overwhelmed but at that point, I’m still convinced that no purchase will ever be made. I’m firm with the idea that I’m just window shopping and I prefer to make purchases in the actual site of the store.¬† This remained true not until I found one of my trusted shoe brands.

I learned that local brand, Anthology is selling in Zalora. I browsed and I found one of the shoes in my wish list. Boom! Though I already know my size in Anthology, my heart remained still. However, I was struck with their discounted offer. New shoppers are automatically given a Php 250 gift voucher. Wow! If I will wait for a mall wide sale, the maximum discount I could ever receive was perhaps a 10% off from the original price. The Php 250 giveaway went music to my heart and soul. So off the shopaholic hormones were released and I made the purchase. Just when I promised myself that I will never again use my credit card, look what I am doing now. Someone has to slap me for real now.

My relationship with online shopping is growing stronger when I learned that Zalora can deliver my orders within 3 hours. Wow! Unfortunately, Zalora wasn’t able to beat their 3 hour delivery guarantee. I received my pair after 4 hours, which I could forgive at this point. I believe some shops can ship after a day to weeks. Receiving my purchase in the same day I ordered¬†it is¬†more than enough happiness.

The happiness from online shopping

will soon starve and make me the next Rebecca Bloomwood.

Day 20 – Restless Staycation

Extended weekends as a result of a holiday that falls on a Monday rarely happens. Everyone is certainly savoring their last few hours of the three day vacay. While everyone is relaxing, I’m having a one of a kind restless staycation. I still can’t get over that one major decision I have to undertake. Weeks to decide and a lifetime to determine whether it was the right choice. Sorry if I’ve been annoying everyone with my repeating thoughts. This is perhaps my own coping mechanism. I have to release my sentiments every now and then.

I had dinner with Abigail last Friday, malling with Lani, bought the belt bracelets I’ve been searching for months and a new blouse. But at the end of the day, I am still restless.¬† Aside from a few friends, I have consulted former superiors and their advice, follow my heart and go for that ultimate dream. I wish things would be as easy as saying yes. However saying yes to a dream means embracing all those responsibilities and complications.¬† I have to prepare myself first and foremost, financially. Aside from conquering my fear to the unknown future, I have to tighten my belt and raise the funds. I have to temporarily say goodbye to shopping and at the same time save and settle my existing bills.

Back today, I still have other things to do. It’s 735 pm and I have to prepare my lecture, make a quiz and check the submitted outputs of my students. I don’t want to ax a tower of paper works like what I did last semester. The papers piled up because I only checked them during the Christmas vacay and weeks before the examination. I was literally cramming with my students.

Tomorrow is another work week. I am looking forward for a productive week and finally that decision I have to make.

Day 12 – How to dislike shopping?

I have been overspending over the past weekends. On the last week of May, I joined my cousins on their back to school shopping. I bought a Giordano v-neck shirt and I got so addicted with it. I was able to purchase two more pieces of that shirt.¬† The next weekend, I went out with Anna and Anne. I bought a blue long sleeves blouse from Bayo and I have been hiding it inside my cabinet. Shopaholic guilty! This weekend I joined again my cousins at SM Marikina. I bought so many stuff ….tsk tsk tsk Not to mention the ballerina flats I bought after I had dinner with Abby and Ate Weng. When will I ever learn to say no or better yet dislike shopping.

I was planning to lessen my spending because of three reasons, I wanted to settle my credit card bills, I want to fatten my savings account and I want to save up money for my dream of owning a Samsung Galaxy tab. I tried leaving my credit cards at home and it worked for some time. Knowing I don’t have those plastic electronic devices¬†drove my feet¬†away from¬†the mall. But when my friends and cousins suddenly invited me for a mall escapade, I just can’t say no. Self control HELP!

My country is celebrating its 113th independence today. As much as I want to write an insightful post, my mind is so occupied with other things. I am  in particular so concerned on how to minimize shopping and properly handle my finances. Perhaps the best that I can contribute is to show pictures of some of the best local products in my country. All of these of course I gathered from my mall escapades.

Miniatures!

Fresh sea water pearls

If there is one area where I excel, spending is my first and surest answer. When will i ever learn the opposite skill?