Duty Free Philippines’ bosses lead by good example

November 22, 2018

Left and right, I have received and even to this day, continue receiving messages of support via text, viber, wechat and email regarding the rudeness I experienced in the hands of Duty Free Philippines (DFP) Fiesta Mall cashier Michael Boston last November 11.

And then, a friend even broke to me the news that the column I wrote about that encounter already has 178 shares as of this writing, only about a week after it came out on social media and at Journal Online.

So many from the DFP, from the higher-ups down to the ranks-and-file also relayed their support, with some even apologizing for Boston because they know me well as one who never had and would never start any misunderstanding with anyone there. I frequent the place and do shop there every now and then, including sale days because I happen to be a DFP customer for more than a decade now. My relationship with the DFP and a lot of  people running or working in it has been considerably long that in fact, I have a number of ‘inaanak’ there who are already young teenagers now.

Notably, even DFP’s chief operating officer Vico Angala and store manager Monica Ruffy were very humble enough to say ‘sorry for what happened’ even if Boston’s rudeness was no fault of theirs and beyond their control.

Again, I emphasize, as I have stated in my formal complaint, that I would not have posted Boston’s rudeness on Face-book if he did not dare me to do it, with matching tone and facial expression that smacked of arrogance. For our dear readers who missed the FB post or my previous column, allow me to recap.

After lining up for about half an hour, Boston said I couldn’t be processed since his cash register would not give the proper discount and rudely directed me to transfer, unmindful of the fact that I would have to line up all over again for at least the same amount of time. Politely, I said I wish they inform the customers ahead of time or post a sign to guide customers on what could be paid in that counter because based on previous experiences, one can pay at any counter on sale days. I suggested so since there was already a sign there saying priority is given to senior citizens and handicapped, which was why no one complained if an elderly or handicapped gets accommodated first.

I was shocked when Boston arrogantly replied: ‘Kasalanan ng pabango ’yun ba’t ’di ka sinabihan’, complete with matching tone and facial expression. I asked if there was really a need for that kind of tone. Again, more rudely, he said: ‘Nagpapaliwanag ako!’ to which I replied, ‘Ba’t ambastos mo naman. Ano ba name mo. ’Di ka nagpapaliwanag, nambabastos ka na.’ This was when he flashed his ID to me and said, ‘AYAN O, i-FB MO!’. I just noted his name but realized later that he might yet victimize others with his rudeness and arrogance and that as a customer, I did not deserve such treatment. I decided to take on his challenge and then posted the said incident on Facebook. Just to be clear, IT WAS BOSTON WHO TOLD, rather, DARED ME TO POST HIS NAME ON FACEBOOK. He asked for and wanted it so I gave it to him.

On countless occasions, I’ve written stories and columns either defending DFP personnel who are subjected to wrongdoings by overbearing customers or praising them and even their bosses for jobs well done. A lot of DFP people can attest to that. I never thought that I would one day be at the receiving end of such a wrongful behavior from a DFP personnel not only because I have been a regular customer and visitor but moreso, because I happen to be a woman and Boston is supposedly a man and a frontliner at that.

Boston should know that customers are not expected to ask what his rules are. He was supposed to inform, unless he thinks the customers are all ‘mang-huhula.’ Why, even in other shops here and abroad, the counter people make sure they inform the customers, via signs or verbally, where they should line up if they are paying in cash or credit cards, buying ten items or less, if they have VIP cards, if they are senior or handicapped, where the line ends, etcetera.

That he was tired due to the high volume of customers that day or was already hungry cannot justify the discourtesy and attitude of Boston. Besides, those in customer service are there to serve the customers well, exercising at the very least, due respect and keeping in mind how their behavior would affect the image of their company. They should not expect the customers to adjust to their moods specially if their bosses are already leading by good example, among them Angala and Ruffy, CRD Supervisor Marlon dela Cruz, FM Manager Shelly Sanico, consultant Ruben Lim, Premier Club manager Hazel Garcia and assistant Shauna Jiwatramani, Beauty and Fashion Walk section operations manager Sheila Cabanban and store managers Lory Santos, Ana Villarin, Mel Romero and Ruth Ramiro, and Senior Customer Relations representatives Alice Forbes and Anthony Salazar. 

All of them know perfectly well how to handle customers and problems and they are some of the reasons why customers keep coming back.  I know many sales people and cashiers from the DFP who are very kind and courteous.  I believe -- and hope -- that Boston is the only one of his kind there.

To the DFP officials and employees who have said ‘sorry’ to me, thank you although it’s not really necessary since it’s no fault of yours that Boston had to behave the way he did. It also pains me to write about this but I feel the need to, specially since Boston dared me to. 

This is the last time that I’m writing about this since I’ve already filed a formal complaint. I trust in the wisdom and fairness of the DFP management in dispensing justice in the case at hand.

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