Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SM Marikina and lessons learned!

I went off today, a Tuesday to SM Marikina to grab some things for the house lest I not be allowed to enter my own abode as I promised to get those things last weekend but did not. Left my dear office at exactly 7:02PM and was there just about an hour after. So I had an hour to shop – and trust me, it was more than enough. Yes, and I really heartily mean this – one hour was more than enough!

Been to this mall sometime ago just a few days after it opened, so I might as well do some little descriptions about what I remember of this new mall. But first, the lesson learned:

If you are serious at buying something or things from a mall, do it on a weekday evening just before they close.

That was my lesson learned and I resolve to do so as long as I ever can! Everything will be convenient and stress-free wherever you go. I may have to shame myself with what I am saying now, BUT, I can honestly say, it was only today that I appreciated going to a mall to shop and even window shop. Not that I will have a change of heart and become a mall addict, but yes, I now recognize the convenience of malls and the ease that it can offer anyone – if done on a weekday evening! Let’s see…

Approach to the mall was never a breeze. To say that there was light traffic would be an utter exaggeration because there was virtually none! There were the usual jeeps by the roadside but they were not in any way hampering vehicular traffic. Parking was gloriously available even if there were a hundred of me who came at the same time. In fact, this time, driver had to locate for a space where there were parked vehicles “for safety and security”! Imagine that?! The place while amply lighted was almost desolate you’d be afraid to leave your vehicle alone in like an open field. Whew!

Entering was easiest at this time. The guard was jolly, even greeted me a genuine good evening PLUS a friendly “meron pa po kayong isang oras, sir”! The cleaner who was nearby the guard (hmm, I knew they were in a lively chat while I was approaching) smiled at me and greeted me with “good evening sir, welcome to SM Marikina”. Whoa! And bowing a bit, I smiled back at the janitor as I stepped unto the escalator thinking… “this is strange, am I really in SM”!

Upon emerging on the first air-conditioned floor (which I gathered was basement 1, and yes there are shops there), I hesitated on which way to pass. Not that I did not know where I was going but I had a choice of another set of escalators going up on either end of the building. A guard readily approached me and courteously exclaimed “this way going up, sir” – in English yan ha?! So I was at the main lobby (ground floor) of SM Marikina in a flash. Gosh, this was the first time I got to totally examine and marvel at how this new building was good in terms of architecture and interior design. Am sure this was not the best that I have been to, but this was probably the only time I was able to walk with much ease and had time to appreciate what was around me – instead of the usual wading amongst a throng or mob of people from 2 to 92!

Oh ground floor is the supermarket level so I went right in – with the things to buy already on my mind and even saved in my hand phone’s draft messages. There were too many of those guys in yellow shirt and blue pants to assist me! No sooner have I entered the area, one of those guys asked if I wanted a cart or a basket. And yes, I cannot recall when, if any, have I been offered this courtesy anywhere in the world. Then again, how many times do I enter a supermarket and how many times do I have such ease, comfort and convenience to notice this kind of good service?! I was already asking myself again… “am I really in SM?”

Going around the shelves was a breeze. There were plenty of crews to ask if I wanted to find anything. There were even a lot of them just roaming around. Oh yes, I recognized many of those plainclothes security people and I grimaced at the realization that their looks are uniformly a funny giveaway! What with almost all of them dark and obviously not a shopper chatting with the crews or standing erect and almost in a “parade rest” stance… sus, truly genuinely mga guardia! My wicked mind was silently chiding and I was actually telling myself “can’t they at least choose cleaner faces with leaner bodies who can act as if they were just mere shoppers like me?” hehehe! Sorry guards, no offense meant, really. I just thought you were all too obvious to me today – probably because there are very few shoppers hehe!

After paying for whatever I grabbed from the shelves, I hesitated thinking I was still going to the department store and I would have to lug those things. What if I saw something I liked and wanted to fit them? What will I say? “Miss paki-bantay ng purefoods hotdog, Queensland butter and the hoysin sauce habang isusukat ko ito”! Wow dyahe! But that very short span of hesitation was readily cut by another guy in the yellow shirt and blue shorts. He seemed to have read my mind, approached me and told me “sir, pwede nyo po iwanan ang mga ito sa package counter habang nag-iikot po kayo sa mall”. As he said that, he gently took the plastic bag of groceries from my hand and motioned for me to deposit them at the package counter. All I could think of was “OMG I am my royal highness here” hehe!

Upstairs, 2nd floor, I had to grab some more things. But that was really quick. Then I thought I was enjoying and having a time of my life so I strolled along to the men’s section and started skimming through. I found a shirt and a guy, obviously new, was beside me saying things that it was good quality, that there were sizes and there were other colors. Hmm! He seemed to have read that this was one of my hatest in malls – somebody coming to spell a litany of whatevers when I am not asking for them. So when I did not answer he distanced but alert if ever I’d call for assistance. I moved along, and almost playing with the multitude of them who were ready to come to me if I needed to lift a finger hehe! In the same area that I thought was the domain of that guy, I found a shirt that I liked. But when I looked, he was attending to a whole family of customers. I never had to turn and look though; a courteous young lady probably in her late 20s was readily on hand to assist me. Grabe ito!

I did let this lady assist me for indeed I needed help. I wanted this that and this that and she seemed to be happily obliging, helping me find the size, color and kind of print that I wanted – all for a muscle shirt that cost P99 hehehe! I just told myself… probably they’re too bored standing around without customers on weekdays, thus, the enthusiasm!

Next, I saw another shirt of the same type but different brand and color. I looked around expecting another sales lady or sales guy to be on hand. But my goodness the same lady was already there to assist me. So, I was again discussing with her what I wanted and she ducked and searched the sizes and the designs from below the shelves and voila, I had my shirt. Oh there was another shelf that had walking shorts on display and I thought I needed one too. She was still there to assist me. I thought this lady must have been well trained for she was not the type who would keep talking about sizes and colors and styles if I did not ask her. She was just there to be of help when I wanted to. She was not pitching with a lot of blabbering like many sales ladies would in all malls in this godforsaken earth – and that irritates me hehehe! Her silence and prompt attention (when needed) was probably the most effective sales pitch that I now wonder why I had to buy these things now scattered in my bed. Hey am not done with her!

Let’s go back to the walking shorts that I liked since the length reached far down beyond my knees and covered the thin unsightly legs that my royal highness is unfortunately made of! The display pieces were all waist size 38 and am waaay below that! But I liked the color. It was some kind of a steel-blue-gray thing. That I heard from her ha?! Steel? Blue-gray? Whatever those are, I liked the color of that pant and I liked it peppered with so many pockets. She again ducked to the stocks trying to look for my size. None! She hurried to some wall-mounted intercom to check the stocks if there was something in my size… NONE! Aaargh! Then she readily told me “sir, you can try the displays over that area (pointing to some other row of men’s wear) and I walked towards them. None!

I walked a few steps back to a display of what seemed to be a conglomeration of everything with the brand “baleno”. Started tinkering at the displays and I thought I liked two or three styles. When I looked up to ask for my size, guess what, this lady was there! I joked “ikaw nanaman?” and she laughed and said, “yes sir, ako pa rin po”! So what else, she helped me searched and did not anymore ask since she knew my preferences. She presented her pickings to me with some explanations like “their size 33 is a bit small”, “the color is not steel-blue or steel-gray” but also attractive and so on. Sold! Half of my brain was already shouting “stop this foolishness, you don’t need those” but the other half of my brain was grinning with “I love this, everyone is so helpful so I better use their help… I know I will need these sooner or later”. You abviously now know what prevailed, right?! I window-shopped, tinkered, fitted and bought too many than I would usually do!

See? This was “life-changing”, right? Hehehe!

Lesson for me: already spelled above
Lesson for shoppers: learn all that I spelled above
Lesson for shop-owners: genuine care works a lot – to the extent that shoppers keep buying what they don’t need just because they appreciate the help and courtesy of the staff. Am sure majority of people would behave like I did above if subjected to the same kind of rare cheerful attention, courtesy and helpfulness.

Am going to another mall’s D-I-Y and appliance section tomorrow evening hehe!


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