I am blogging this as I wait for my 830pm flight to Bangkok via Thai Air—finally, an airline that actually serves "hot meal" onboard, and not packaged biscuits and commercial nuts. It's now 721pm, and I still have some time to kill amidst endless PA announcements for some Pinoy-packed Gulf Air flight being delayed.
After waiting for thirty stressful minutes at Pasong Tamo for a dratted cab ride to the airport, I finally saw an approaching empty cab. As I hailed it and started hauling my luggage, the driver rolled down his window and asked where I was headed to. An ominous feeling of eventual rejection started to sink in. When I told him I'm bound for the airport, he casually—and mind you, quite cocksure of himself—said that I'd HAVE to pay him 300bucks! I was like, WTF??! In my semi-desperation (it was almost 6pm and check-in starts in 5mins...and I was still 40mins away), I despairingly said, "No. 200 lang." To my consternation and disgust, he said no and started rolling away...but not without mumbling something like, "
After finally getting a cab with a courteous and maabilidad with traffic driver—and paying just P150 (P30 tip included)—It was finally time for checking-in. Check-in and customs clearing were uneventful. But as I was going through screening, a renewed surge of kabwisitan caught me.
I knew the drill...I've gone through hundreds of security checks in several international airports by now. I took a plastic basket, and dumped into it all my coins, my phone, iPod, belt and—after getting into my trusty old flipflops so I don't get to walk barefoot on the filthy carpeted floor—my sneakers. As soon as I placed my toad bag on the conveyor belt, the person manning the metal detector blurted out with a smirk, "Wow, Prada...wala bang pa-ambon dyan?" I was still in a state of disbelief as I gathered my things. I had to stifle a remark such as, "Dun ka sa labas, umuulan...nang mamatay ka sa pulmunya.", and just forced-grinned at him and said, "Are you even sure it's genuine Prada?". I didn't bother waiting for a reply lest I’d need to show the authenticity card in the inside pocket if he answered otherwise...and I walked away, shaking my head.
Not even fully recovered from what just happened, I approached the guard at Gate 10 and showed my boarding pass. He didn't even look at my documents, and out of the blue, casually said, "Wala ba Sir maski pa-kape lang dyan?"—with the same ngiting aso as the metal detector guy. I had to make sure I heard him correctly, and said incredulously, "Anoo?!" Believe you me, he repeated exactly what he said some three seconds ago, this time with matching Charades action: gesturing a drinking in a cup motion, as if I was stupid and did not understand plain words. I lost it. I glared at him wide-eyed and “Mukha ba ako dispenser ng Nescafe? Umayos ka Manong ha!”, and then marched away with an even more vigorous shaking of my head.
What is wrong with our people? Have our concepts of industry, dignity, service, genuine concern, and helpfulness gone AWOL and their absence completely messed up our humanity? Why can’t we do our jobs or at the very least, an extra amount or degree of service and kindness without expecting anything in return? Have we become too uncaring and thick-skinned to even exert an iota of (moral) excellence and be, for once, selfless? In the greater scheme of things, when exactly did this what’s-in-it-for-me mentality start devouring our philanthropic faculties?
Which brings me to this other concept: tips. In the
Here are some experiences I’ve had involving tips:
§ The restaurant that I ate in made me wait for my salad for about thirty minutes, gave the wrong dressing and took forever to give me my change. Their service charge was incredulous, so I did not leave even a single penny;
§ A cab driver in
§ A Sky Cop at the Houston Airport did nothing for us except give us a pushcart for our luggage, but as I felt compelled to give him a tip, I gave two dollars, to which he quipped “Just this???!”…so I irritably replied, “Gramps, you didn’t do shit for me, you should be grateful I even gave you that!”
§ In one of my provincial tours, I had a cheap-ass haircut for 40 bucks. He did an excellent job; I gave him 50 bucks tip—higher than the haircut itself.
In my discernment, I think we are all responsible for brainwashing service people to expect tips or other forms of reward for any—that is, not even extraordinary—service they provide. This should not be how things are. Rewards—assuming there should even be some form of it—are to be a pure luxury, something out of the kindness of the recipients’ heart, and nothing mandatory. Again, (extra) service—in any of its form or dimensions—should be given with nothing expected in return…that is the true essence of admirable customer service.
Nakakahiya. Do these people that I encountered today do the same exact thing to fellow Pinoys…or worse, foreign tourists? Geesh.