Chowking Salo Braised Beef Delivery: Walang Kwenta!

This is how Chowking advertises its Salo Braised Beef on its website Chowkingdelivery.com. The price tag is at P241.00, and judging from the picture, it seemed plenty enough to feed two people.

This is what we got when we asked Chowking to delivery their Salo Braised Beef to our house, just a few minutes ago.

The container is as small as what they put their snack size mami orders into, and it was even only half full. Now if this is not false advertising I don’t know what is.

The most expensive Chowking Lauriat, the Chicken Supreme Lauriat, is pegged only at P182.

I called back Chowking delivery to check if the store might have made a mistake, but no–the customer service agent confirmed, after putting me on hold for a few minutes, that it was indeed how they delivered the Salo Braised Beef.

In short, this turned out to be a disappointing way to spend two hundred and forty-one pesos. And perhaps the only positive way to look at this is to consider it a stressful way to lose weight quickly.

Chowking umayos kayo! Ang mamahal na ng mga orders nyo, lumiliit pa ang mga servings.

Fringe benefits

Affordable health insurance shouldn’t be a fringe benefit offered by companies to their employees, it should be one of the basic benefits. Working for a computer company, for instance, especially when you’re in programming when you spend the better part of 8 hours in front of a computer drumming on a keyboard, it’s more likely than not that after 3 to 5 years you end up with carpal tunnel syndrome. You would wish that the health insurance provider would cover it.

But our current health insurance provider is rather iffy on what is covered and what is not. One of our managers had to be confined because of hypertension a couple of months back. He shelled out over P10 thousand thinking it would be reimbursed by the HMO provider.

It wasn’t. Ouch.

Something not quite right

Our company had just spent several million pesos renovating our office. Everything new from the ceilings all the way down to the carpet, with new furniture and appliances as well.

But hardly three months after we moved back into the new digs, so many things are broken already. Doorknobs, definitely not Schlage, are coming off at the handles. Plungers in the toilet flushing systems have snapped. The paint on the wall, which was supposed to be wipe-able to clean, is not.

I’m not sure if this is a case of contractor neglect or a misunderstanding of the specs. But it is disturbing.

Retirement (continued)

The company I work for offers managed web hosting. Quite a number of companies do understand the importance of having a website but do not have either the time or the technical knowledge involved in publishing their site. That’s where we come in. We take either their existing website or make one for them, host them on servers that we manage, and make sure that they don’t go down in the middle of a working day and that they get all their domain email and that they don’t get any spam or viruses in their mail.

The SEO company I mention in my previous post, with their touted success in SEO work, has branched out to web development, hiring marketing people who know nothing about web development and server management. So they rely on us for server management. However since they don’t know the difference between web management and server management, they run to me with their programming problems even when I am only obliged to make sure that their server is alive.

Yesterday, at the paintball tournament, they arrived fashionably late, sashaying into the Global Gutz arena like movie stars that we had been long awaiting. Since they were late they missed the pre-game briefing. This pre-game briefing is mandatory, and all players should undergo it prior to going into the war zone. They were in the second game, against my Web Developers. Because they were late and further took their time suiting up, they still were not ready when the call was made for the second game.

My team was already in place, ready and waiting. They were still nowhere in sight. When the game marshals announced that if they were not in the arena in 1 minute they would forfeit the game, that’s when they came running. They went into the game knowing no rules, because they didn’t even take the time to read the basic rules posted just before the entrance.

What happened next was this. One of my web developers took out their expat boss with a clean shot in the head early in the game. Later on two of my team got hit and left the arena as per the rules. One of their own was already shot in the face, but the marshals didn’t see it. This player kept shooting despite being dead and knowing it. One of the photographers just outside the netting saw it and called it out to the marshal. One of their team members took the opportunity and sprang out from her hiding place, rushing one of my team members from the back and shot him point blank. They won, because they had more people left after the game timed out. If the rulebook were thrown at them they would have lost.

What just happened here? They had a zombie and a stupid idiot who had no idea that shooting point blank was against the rules. Her excuse was because she didn’t know what the rules were. She got a mouthful about that from my boss after the game.

I was shaking when I confronted them. I was pointing to the rules posted by the entrance and I couldn’t keep my hand steady I was shaking so much. I just kept shouting the rules at them, and I suppose all my pent up anger at them as a so-called web development company came out.

I really didn’t care, this was the one day when I could really shout at them and I wouldn’t be reprimanded for insubordination. Come to think of it, I can shout at them even on a working day because I don’t work for them, and therefore whatever I do cannot be called insubordination.

Anyway, they won that game, and then lost the second one. I think they got creamed in the third game, if they ever got to play again. They took a box of pizza and a bucketful of chicken (provided by our company) and ate at the corner of the game room, refusing to mix with the rest of the players. Now that I thought was plain discourteous. They were late, they were in the wrong, they cheated. Now they were licking their wounds like hurt dogs? They even left early, not even bothering to wait for the tournament to finish, to congratulate the eventual winners. I think that was bad form.

Does their attitude in the arena reflect the way they work? Having worked with them, I would say yes. And I can sincerely say that not having to work with them in the following days is one of the sweetest things to happen in my life in a long long time.

Retirement

I have no plans of retiring just yet, but I did hit the breaks just now.

At first I thought it was a general burn out after several years of doing the same thing. But something happened at yesterday’s company sponsored paintball tournament that made me come to terms with what I really hated about work these days.

We have a third-party SEO service provider. We’ve worked with them for several years now, but with only one individual providing SEO services for our own website. It would be fair to say that he knew his SEO stuff well, and could make any link say, UTV Accessories, come to the top of the search engine results in less than a month.

That one individual has now expanded his services to include web development. He and his people have no certifications whatsoever in this field. My team does. But it was as if I literally just woke up to find most of my older clients in his hands. He had approached them with his famous SEO stuff and won them over.

What my old clients don’t know is that this individual who now runs what he calls a web development company knows absolutely nothing at all about server management, and is still dependent on us for support. What they don’t know is this individual is fond of installing unknown and untested components into a live environment that has caused several websites to go down during business days.

They don’t also know that once the sites go down this individual or any of his cohorts literally run to me for support — for stuff that they have been fiddling with on their own and have absolutely no idea how it works.

For several months now, my email inbox has been peppered with requests for support from them, which was eating up the time that I could have spent on my other paying clients. It was really getting on my nerves. I’ve never felt this stressed in the 10 years that I have been working for this company.

Well, we invited them to our annual company sponsored paintball tournament. My team, Web Development, was pitted against theirs in an “impartial draw.” I was so pleased to have the chance to finally settle a long standing score.

To be continued

Goodbye P910i

I got my Sony Ericsson P9109i from my then-coworker Ejay in the last quarter of 2005. He had just bought the phone himself, hardly two months old, but he had found a cellphone that he liked better. Perhaps if Ejay had not wanted to give it up I would not have bought the P910i, but we were at the point of our careers when we needed a phone that was also a PDA, and this was an opportunity for me to buy it for a lot less money than I would have shelled out at a mall.

I lost that same cellphone last Friday, December 11 2009, after four years of constant use. It was stolen from my backpack as I was walking across the Estrella pedestrian overpass. I was an easy mark for the zipper gang, I suppose, regularly walking that route at least 5 days a week.

The phone has seen better days. I had already removed the flip because it was broken, and was using the onscreen keyboard and virtual flip for text entry. There was even a time when the jog dial didn’t work anymore, but I found a shop that could repair it, of all places, in Masbate. I had vowed till death do us part with this phone, and I guess this loss was its death.

But not quite. The thief, whoever he is, is still using the SIM card. The number is 0921 9866 989. I can’t recover it because I no longer have the card backing, having had that number for the past 2 years or so. Feel free to send it any junk text that you can think of. :)

The Pumpkin and the Easter Bunny

Went to the mall today to pick up a few groceries, a few hours after Typhoon Santi decided he’d slapped enough trees and pulled the fronds out of coconut trees. I was expecting to find the mall deserted, but since the power was out in most parts of the city, everyone and his cousins thought the best thing to do would be to hang out at the mall.

In fact they not only hung out, they came with their kids dressed in costumes ranging from the so-so to the outlandish, to join the mall’s Halloween event. Some wore off the rack assemblies, I think I saw one dressed as a Oakland motorcycle accident lawyer and a couple who looked like bloody mummies.

There was a time when November 1 and 2 meant going to visit our departed relatives wherever they may be interred. These days it means loitering in a mall with your kid in tow dressed like a walking car crash victim, begging treats from the owners and the general public.

November 1 in the Philippines is All Saints Day. It meant going to church (when I was small I did go) and praying for our dearly departed. Now the malls say that we should go the American way and celebrate Halloween, with all the attendant competitions and activities related to that peculiar American holiday.

I don’t think the ordinary Pinoy in the mall concourse knows that Halloween started out as All Hallows Eve in northern Europe thousands of years ago, and brought into America by immigrants. All the ordinary Juan knows is that Americans celebrate Halloween by dressing up in costumes and going trick or treating. Little do they think that trick or treating in the Pinoy context is actually teaching a child early on in his life the joys of extortion.

All in the name of commerce and the creation of the need for a product where there previously was none. The Pinoy is the perfect target for such marketing strategies, we who so idolize the American that we play basketball despite our average heights, and celebrate Halloween though we have no idea why.

Now don’t get me started about the Easter Bunny and egg hunts.