Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bargaining prowess

I could say my bargaining prowess is weak. I don't usually get the best bargains unlike my friend T. Maybe I'm just not the type who wants to argue, I'd rather keep mum than go over a lousy argument (with some exceptions).

With my bad experience with the lousy service of Cebu Pacific I know I have every right to sue them, I'll just put that on the shelf for the meantime. Yes, just for the meantime, wait til I get some connection inside, someone deserves to be booted out. tsk tsk tsk Anyway, i should learn how others bargain with Cebu Pacific...

1. Our family friend J. was bumped off on his flight to Manila, his father-in-law was a columnist, so he had his experience written in the national papers. They were offerred two roundtrip air tickets. I called him during my ordeal, apparently, he couldn't care less since he has swear not to ever deal with them again.

2. My friend A, together with her family was bound for Guangzhou, they were bumped off but after refusing to leave the counter, demanding that their hotel bills be settled as well, they were able to get seats! I think concessions were given to anyone who'd give up their seats.

3. My friend J, was bound for Bangkok, her mom was refused to take the flight for the reason she didn't have visa to enter since she's holding a Taiwan passport. There's no need for a visa, they insist yet she never get to fly nor got any concession. Yes, visa is not needed as confirmed by Thai immigration officials.

4. My cousin B, booked a connecting flight to Macau. Their local flight was cancelled so they cannot make it to the flight. He was asked to pay for rebooking fees, but after repeated calls, they were able to rebook for free.

5. My friend's cousin C, received a call and was offered if she could take an earlier flight and since she can make it earlier, she said yes and proceeded to the airport. When she got on the plane, the passengers applauded her. She learned from her seatmate, the flight was delayed for an hour and the announcement made was they were waiting for a passenger. Humiliating! Her story was published in the local papers, I'm not quite sure if she got concessions.

6. My cuz B along with the rest of the passengers were kept inside the plane for 3 hours before it was announced that the flight was cancelled.

7. Me, I've written my story. I filed a complain at the airport and sent email twice to complain but never got a reply. Keeping my cool, I worked out some documents, called every day to follow-up the cancellation confirmation, I got my tickets refunded three months later with the help of my credit card issuer.

8. Me, I booked again with the same airline last June for it's irresistible all-in rate. I got two calls while I was abroad that my flight was cancelled. (grr, I had to pay roaming rate for that) Luckily, I alreay decided to forego that ticket beforehand, I alreay booked another flight with PAL. With that, I'll get a refund for that cancelled flight that I no longer intend to take. *fingers crossed*

From these experiences, I've learned:

1. To always keep your cool.
2. Listen first to what they can offer, take a stand then bargain.
3. Never leave the desk until you get what you want.
4. Free tickets are no good, you still have to pay for the taxes and fuel surcharge.
5. To call their hotline, use local phone with speakers, you have to wait for as long as 30 minutes before your call gets picked up. It's best to call at midnight.
6. While on the phone, be patient, sometimes they'll have you wait for 10 minutes before they can give feedback.
7. On the phone, manage your anger, the call center agent now has on their manual to say, "sir/ma'am if you don't stop, I will hang up."
8. Check-in early but even with a boarding pass at hand, it doesn't guarantee you a seat.
9. Credit card companies entertain complaints only when a cancellation confirmation is issued by the airline.
10. Contact Arnulfo Alivio, director for Manila operations at (02)8536781.
11. Don't fly with Cebu Pacific ever again.

Their promo fare is irresistible so prepare to face your ordeal... yes, I have booked a flight home for Monday. I'm not in a rush, but I hope they'll redeem themselves this time. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Age of Marketing

The books tells you 101 ways to market your product... but there is no one successful formula. I'm no expert in this field either.

Have you heard of establishments with awards, like shopper's choice, outstanding retailer of the year and so forth? Yep, it doesn't only happen in the movie industry. As an ordinary consumer, I was led to believe that these companies were actually screened and given such award voluntarily. The truth is, these so called award giving bodies are actually advertising or marketing agencies. We received several notices that we are nominated as this and that and we shall be awarded in exchange for a sum of money. How can these be credible when a nominee has to pay for such award? It costs around twenty to more than a hundred thousand pesos to get that so called seal of excellence. Wow, such easy money for them! It shall remain credible for as long as the consumer remains ignorant of how the process works. Nevertheless, this new age of marketing seems to work.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

When Harry met Sally

The other day, Ms. Corazon S. dela Paz, was interviewed on ANC. She is being hounded once again by media on issues relating to her resignation from SSS and her thoughts on the controversial Romulo Neri being her successor. More than anything, what struck me on that interview was her private story! She talked about how her name now is hyphenated as "dela Paz-Bernardo". Yup, she remarried last year and where was I to miss this news? Ms. dela Paz is actually my boss in my previous employment. She is highly regarded by everyone, I met her once in the boardroom of our office giving an intimate talk about her work life, the inside story on being part of the Saguisag Commission (Centennial Expo Scandal) among others and in another occasion, we got in an elevator at the same time. We couldn't help but keep the distance and cramp on one side of the elevator, as we felt intimidated around her. So she blurted out with a smile, "why is there such a big space between us?" and then we all laughed.

Read her simple but inspiring love story here with her high school classmate and golfing buddy, Ike. It's so cute, I can't fathom the thought how she managed to have a budding love life inspite of being overworked. :D

Monday, July 7, 2008

Simple things made complicated

Switched on the car's engine and it went click, 2nd try, 3rd, 4th and then finally it started. Later, in the middle of the busy downtown street, the engine went off and took another turn of the stop light and a couple horns honking before it started again. What could be wrong, when this car is brand new? After reading the car's manual today, we figured out that there is such thing as "engine immobilizer system".

Engine immobilizer system is a a chip built in the car key (holder). It's a security feature that prevents the engine to start with the use of unauthorized duplicate key. What is embedded in the key is one precision resistor. When you insert the key in the ignition, the resistor becomes part of a simple circuit involving 3 other resistors. If the key does not have a resistor or if the resistor has the wrong value, the circuit disables part of the car's electrical system to prevent the car from starting.

It's been a while since we last had a brand new car so I'm not quite sure how and when this thing is being used by car manufacturers. This is totally new for us. Apparently, when any electromagnet or metal touches the key, it interrupts and disables the chip from sending proper signals. So, key chains made out of metals should be position in a certain way otherwise, when handled improperly will cause it to immobilize. And there's one more thing... the clutch has to be (as in) fully stepped on (even on neutral) before the engine starts. Hay, simple things made complicated, don't you think?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Love is Mysterious

"It is a mystery why we fall in love.
It is a mystery how it happens.
It is a mystery when it comes.
It is a mystery why some love grows and it is a mystery why
some love fails...

Love always had been and always will be a mystery.
Be glad that it came to live for a moment in your life.
If you keep your heart open it will come again."

-excerpts from Letters to my son by Kent Nerburn

Moving on is such sweet sorrow. The roller coaster ride makes life more exciting. While two failed, three has decided to tie the knot.

After being together for 3 years, he finally proposed, she obviously said YES!
And the latest buzz, after two months, (another) he proposed and got a yes too! I'm not really surprised but who cares! :D

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Her words

It has been a tough morning. We woke up at 2am as we heard a bang and found my 60-yr old roommate faint on the bathroom floor. She regained consciousness a few seconds later but it was a struggle to bring her up to her bed. She was cold, pale and dizzy, there were moments I thought she stopped breathing. I felt helpless for a moment not knowing what to do. Later, she felt better. So we went back to bed. Two hours later, we heard her calling. She was all sweat, pale and dizzy again. Not feeling any better, she started talking like it's her last. Her words send shiver down my spine, my knees weakening, I knew I was fainting so I moved away.

It is so odd to hear those words. I didn't want to listen simply because I know it is not her last, please not now, I thought.

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