Archive for February, 2007

Incompetent CD-R King

Wednesday, 28 February 07

Incompetence is one of my pet peeves. Another is a team of apathetic, phlegmatic sales people.

Over a month ago, on the 12th of January to be exact, I decided to replace my tiny, slim mouse with a sturdier model. I was killing time in Glorietta so I headed to the nearest CD-R King shop to check out their products. I saw a traditional looking mouse (Re: bulky) and bought it. It conked out on me after a week and a half.

It says in my receipt that I only have a week to get a replacement, but my product has a 3-month warranty. I was rushing to meet an important deadline at that time and was only able to go back to CD-R King Glorietta 1 on the 5th of February. I filled out a form and they said that it would be ready after a week.

So after 8 days I headed back to their kiosk to pick-up my unit. There were 3 girls manning the counter. It was mid-afternoon, a slow hour for them; they were chitchatting when I came. One of them stood up to talk to me; she had a bored expression on her face. She lackadaisically took my receipt and the copy of the repair form. She pawed through a large plastic bag and, in under a second, returned the paper to me and said, “Ma’am, it’s not here. Just come back again.” I raised an eyebrow but kept my composure. I asked her to carefully check their stocks again and patiently reminded her that she told me that it would be ready after a week. She looked like she was going to bust a vein, sighed heavily, and ransacked the bag once more. Who could blame her for getting annoyed—I was keeping her from her busy schedule of prattling with the other equally occupied ladies. She found another bag underneath to rummage, half-heartedly opened it and took a peek. She screamed at the other sales girls and asked for help and they ignored her. After a minute, she scratched her head, gave up, and turned to me, “Ma’am, it’s really not here. Just come back again.” I asked her when and she said she didn’t know and added, “Just pass by whenever.” I requested if she could call the main office and ask them when my mouse would be ready. She answered, “We don’t have a phone.” I wanted to pounce on her but decided against it. I didn’t want to waste my precious energy on her. So I decided to leave and informed her that I will be back in a week. I urged her to follow up my item. She nodded and joined the cackling ladies.

Another week passes and I return to Glorietta 1. There were more people this time so I had to wait in line for a bit. I faced the phlegmatic girl once more. I handed her the receipt and she went through her unenthused hunting routine. She went through 3 plastic bags and a box and came up with nothing. She told me to just come back. The crowd milling about was growing and I was in a rush; I had no desire to deal with her further. I reminded her that it should have been ready a week ago and told her to follow it up ASAP.

Yesterday I took one last trip to the kiosk. Bored-girl took the receipt again, rustling of plastic was heard, and she turned and talked to a new character in the set who was sitting in the middle twiddling with her mobile (the manager, I presumed), and left the kiosk without a word. She came back after 15 minutes with a brand new mouse. She gave it to me and explained that they were just going to replace mine. I asked her what happened to my unit and she said she didn’t know. She pushed the new one under my nose and said that I’ll just have to get this. It looked nothing like the one I had—sure, it’s all black and pretty—but it was minuscule.

Now, I am not known for my patience so this whole experience has been somewhat of an improvement in the development of my character. Almost a month of waiting and dealing with incompetent people and heads still haven’t rolled—a definite improvement on my part. But one can only change so much. I felt my face burn in anger. I took a deep breath and looked at the girl. I imagined she saw hellfire in my eyes; she flinched and shrunk a bit. I don’t like to scream unless I am watching a football match, so I quietly asked her if they could give me the same model as the one I got before, the one they were supposed to fix but had mysteriously disappeared. She hesitated and said that this was the only available model at that time so this was the only replacement that they could give. I don’t like to explain the obvious especially when I have to do it to someone who has been there the whole time, but when you are dealing with an inept person you have no other choice but to talk to her as if she were a five-year old—you don’t let a customer wait for almost a month, waste her time going back and forth to their store, and then, in the end, without offering a valid explanation, substitute the product with another model. I quietly but firmly demanded for the right replacement.

Bored-girl petulantly insisted that I take the new one. I ignored her and called for the lady manager sitting in the center of the kiosk. She was the worst of the bunch, I quickly realized; she did not even bother to get her fat ass off her seat. She repeated Bored-girl’s spiel and added that I could choose another model from their display case if I didn’t like the one they were giving me. It was locked and none of the girls offered to open it. Another five year old, another freaking explanation. I was holding the line, I knew, but I refused to budge. I can only hope that I scared off potential customers. I ended my account again with a demand for the same model or a full refund. I was within my rights to do so. Manager-Ogre, still firmly planted in her plastic chair, offered to order the unit from the main branch. They could have it within the week. What?!?!? And go back there and deal with them again? I refused and asked for the replacement or the money NOW. CD-R King has gazillion of branches in Makati alone, so why not check them all? With much bleating and baaaah-ing, she finally stood up and approached me. She was going to call the other branches in the Glorietta area and check if they have it.

They handed me the model I asked for after 20 minutes. I had to wait for another 15 before I could leave because Bored girl misplaced the receipt. She insisted that she gave it back to me and I just glared at her. She found it in the cash box. Don’t ask me how it ended up there.

Does one have to raise hell in order to get what one wants? The entire hullabaloo could have been avoided if only they had done their job. I don’t expect sales people to do high kicks and cartwheels or whip out their pompoms when they see a customer, but their lackluster performance is extremely irritating. Their job is to sell and to attend to their customers. They don’t even have to smile if they don’t want to—they just need to know their products and procedures. Why can’t they act like professionals? Is that too much to ask? Don’t they have a system?

Sigh. But I’ve said my piece.

Lessons learned: 1) Never buy anything from CD-R King again. 2) Don’t go for cheap—it’s not worth the effort. 3) Patience is an overrated virtue. 4) Sometimes, it’s really not good to be “nice.” 5) Don’t go against your nature—if you are a “dragona” go ahead and be one.

P.S. The mouse is working, but I suspect that they gave me a used one. It has 2 stickers underneath it (indicating the date of purchase). One part (when the palm rests) has scratches on it—imperceptible, but still there. I do not want to deal with them anymore so I will just take this one. I think I’ve wasted enough of my time on them as it is.



Monday, 26 February 07

Monk by the Sea

Monk by the Sea by Caspar David Friedrich (1809-10)


The past few weeks have flown by so fast. It’s hard to believe it’s going to be March in a couple of days.

Today I feel a bit off centered. Dark clouds are looming overhead; the air feels lighter, less sticky, and yet I find no comfort breathing it in. I sat outdoors for a while, waiting for the rain that still refuses to wash over the pulsating streets. I sat by a tree, peering between the bars of the garage’s gate, and observing the nearest street corner. All is quiet. Not a soul in sight. Even the shadows have blended together; nothing stands out in the filtered light. The branches of the banana tree are wilted and parched. They’ve given up their color to the tropical and depleting weather of the past week. The day reminds me of early autumn. Darker days are coming.

I think I may have forgotten how to hope or even what to hope for. Fatigue is settling in my bones again. Balance is hard to achieve on days like this. I feel like a fertile ground for emotions to run wild. I do not possess the energy nor the desire to trim or uproot. I passively watch them take over the terrain.

Nothing pours out of my hands. Poetry and reason have left my side. I feel depleted, spent, dispersed. I’m going back to sleep. Maybe I can make space for myself again when I awake.

Energy Vampires

Saturday, 24 February 07

You know who they are. Yes, they are out there and you probably have one in your circle. They are difficult to identify initially. They come in neat and attractive packages, beguiling and charismatic creatures that will charm their way into your space. They know exactly how to catch your attention—they talk about the things that you like, they are friendly and appear to be helpful, and they will even act helpless to draw your sympathy. They will use every trick in the book to get to you. And they will not let you go once you’ve let them in. They will feed on your energy and suck you dry.

I’m not talking about Gary Oldman’s Dracula or even Buffy’s Angel. I’m talking about real people who walk and talk like us, who can go out during the day without exploding under the heat of the sun. They could be your overbearing flat mate, your inconsolable needy friend, or your hypochondriac, exceedingly dramatic aunt. These people squander your time. They don’t respect your space or your schedule. They expect you to solve their problems and meet all of their needs. They text you at 3 in the morning and if you don’t respond, they will call you. They will bug you even if you tell them that you are busy or in the middle of a very difficult and important project. They think of you as their property. They make you feel guilty if you refuse them. They expect special treatment. They violate your needs. They are the center of the universe and you only exist because they need an audience. They are not interested in your stories and they will always pull the conversation back to themselves. They talk at you and not with you.

A friend pointed out recently that I seem to attract my fair share of bloodsuckers. I honestly don’t know exactly why I’ve become such a parasite magnet, but I have some theories about it. Maybe it’s the “Man for others” thing, the need to do good or to be a “buena persona.” I’m quite intuitive and I can smell them a mile away, warning bells ring in my head when I meet them, and yet I always open the door and let them in because I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. I get careless with my boundaries. And, worst, I get too lazy to put my shields up. I even once contemplated on making a career out of being the barrio’s emotional trashcan; people will dump their stuff on me anyway, so why not get paid for it. Pathetic. Thank God I took control of my life and stopped that plan even before it started.

Well, whatever the reasons are, I have to be more careful soon. All the energy sucking has taken a toll on my body. I always feel drained after talking to them. I even get a headache and a stomachache after a brief contact. Static fills my head and I go through my day in muddled confusion. Now I often rush to the bathroom to take a quick shower just to feel safe again. I don’t want their dregs clogging my system or their aura to stick on me or take over my being.

Sometimes I feel as if it would be a lot easier to protect myself from fictional vampires. I can stock up on garlic, wooden stakes, and holy water. But then, I realize, Nosferatu and company cannot enter your home unless you invite them in. That holds true with my vampire frenemies as well, right? I wouldn’t need crosses and silver tipped arrows dipped in dead man’s blood if they’re not around me. Besides–Goddammmit!!!–I am not a victim. I don’t have to roll over and let them trample all over me. I have the power to stop them from coming in and I can fight back. They are not the Borg and resistance is not futile.

So I’m drawing the line right now. I’m slamming the door on their faces. All the “I miss you,” “You are so talented, let me help you” texts and phone calls and emails will not convince me to open it again. Not a crack. I am not falling for that crap. They can call me a snob or a bitch and I will still not budge an inch. I am drawing a clear boundary around myself. And from now on, I will remember not to let stragglers in and will make it a point not to eat and drink in the land of the faerie.

Blissful Piglets

Sunday, 18 February 07

Lovely Pigs (from



Happy year of the Fire Pig!
Feel the love, people.


(Photo from


Friday, 9 February 07

600X series by Ryan Brown

Artist Ryan Brown creates geometric sculptures based on the chaos theory using thousands of cotton buds.


Bad Trip

Thursday, 1 February 07

I am not having a good week. I hope this is not a preview of how things are going to be this month.

Sunday started out fine; I even had a feeling that things were going to be good and even dared to be hopeful and excited about new things coming into my life. I ended the day, though, with a shouting match with someone with whom—I staunchly believe—I have extremely bad karmic ties. Everything just goes wrong when I try to deal with this person. Simple conversations turn into head-butting sessions, and I always end up feeling drained and angry and confused after.

It set my mood for the following day, which was definitely a downer. I couldn’t enjoy my weekly trip to Quiapo; not even finding a copy of the Trainspotting DVD could rouse elation from me. I tried to shake it off; I think I had even successfully tricked myself into thinking that I was already over it.

Early Tuesday morning I had to go on a trip to the deep south—to the windy boondocks of Laguna—with a some friends to check out a locale. My meeting was cancelled in the afternoon (both a relief, because I had more time to work on another project, and a nuisance, because it was caused by a miscommunication) so I took the time to breathe in the chilly, fresh air and attempted to relax. I got home mid-afternoon, ready to make headway in a pressing job, but was taken over by drowsiness. I took a nap… and four hours later woke up with itchy red eyes and post-nasal drip. Sigh. The nippy breeze I copiously breathed into my lungs was not so fresh after all—it was loaded by unseen bugs and stealthy allergens. I lost that day to Zyrtec-laden sleep.

Oh, and most of the following day, too. You see, when my defective immune system acts up, it likes to show off its incompetence with pompous flair. I had a deadline nipping at my heels so I had no other choice but to work through the sinusitis, migraine, tremors, and jittery eyeballs. Have you tried bending metal and wire in that state? It was no party, but I was able to finish the first part of the job, take pictures, and loaded them into my laptop. I was about to connect to the Net to send the email and give myself a much-needed pat on the back when I realized something—my server was dead. I checked the phone and it, too, was lifeless. I tried to use my phone to surf, but I didn’t have enough credit to even go to the main page of Gmail. So I waved my white flag and called it a day.

I got up early this morning to go to an Internet café. I checked the phone for a pulse before I left. Nothing. I rushed out to email and waited. My message bounced back. I tried another address. It bounced back again. A third address and I hit the bull’s-eye. Much more tranquil, I went back home… only to find out that the phone had miraculously come back from the netherworlds minutes after I had left the house.


So what is this devilry, may I ask? Were you in on this cosmic joke? Did I involuntarily invite a mischievous spirit to shadow me? Did I incur the wrath of Khan… errrr, I mean, some pagan god? Or, I know, maybe Mercury is spinning the wrong way again. That, or it’s reaping time for the bad karma I’ve sowed. I’ll never know the answer, will I?

So I’ll just move on and away from these series of unfortunate events. I’m going back to work and I’m putting on my new socks for good measure. A friend gave me this pair recently. I collect all sorts of frogs (Prince duds included. HAH!) and she thought they were perfect for me. She added that if someone gives you one of these amphibians, they would bring you good luck. I hope she’s right. I hope these froggies change my fortune for the better and bring me to good and happy places.


Froggie Toes