Saturday, August 07, 2010

Knowing What You Say

Usually when we buy something we prefer to talk to Filipino salesmen. Not only do we assume an element of trust co-existing between “kabayan”, it also saves us in spending some of that precious and sometimes limited English vocabulary.

Ah ah ah, don’t start accusing me now of trashing our ability to speak “English”. I’m basing my observation specifically on some of our professionals here in the Middle East. I heard Pinoy nurses talked in our adapted tongue but can’t differentiate a particle from a preposition and when to use “to”, “for” and “from” in a sentence. I squirmed when reading reports coming from Pinoy field engineers. Yes, in all capacity, we are good in our job. But communication, logging daily task and submitting progress reports are also part of it. We should also be effective in this area. The reason why I’m sometimes dismayed and reluctant to claim English as our second language. If you think my remarks are incorrect, how come a recent report in TFC encourages our “professionals” to join the Toast Master’s Club in the Kingdom? But we’re going astray here. This is not about our grammatically incorrect English but about some incidents regarding some salesmen who don’t know what they are saying.

Interacting with customers in supermarket is easier. Usually, customers either asked only for an item’s price or where it is located. But if you’re working in an electronic or car accessories department, you should know your product as well or you’ll get in trouble if the customer is a “tech-savvy” himself.

Recently, a colleague went to SACO to buy a carburetor cleaner for his “vintage” car and his conversation with the salesman goes like this:

Colleague: Kabayan, meron ba kayong carburetor cleaner?
Salesman : Anong klase po ang kotse nyo, 4-engine ba?
Colleague: Oo (assuming he meant “4-stroke-cycle-engine”).
Salesman: Ito po ang maire-recommend ko sa inyo. Magaling po na panlinis yan.
Colleague: Pag ito ba ang ginamit ko, lilipad ang kotse ko?

(Airplanes and sea vessels may have multiple engines but I never seen a car to have more than one.)

Two days ago, I went to Jareer Bookstore to scout for a modem stick. Unlike other modem stick that comes with a “built-in” SIM card, I’m looking for one which is interchangeable. This way I have an option of replacing it and can still use the modem even in the Philippines. I approach one Filipino salesman and without blinking an eye, he began his litany of BS about what the product can do. Since I got nowhere else to go, I pretend to be an ignoramus on the subject and indulge him:

Me : Kabayan, ano ba ang specification sa pag gamit nito?
Salesman : Meron na hong laman yan na 1 gig. Pag na ubos na, bumili lang kayo ng pre-paid card. 100 riyals po ang halaga.
Me : So, allowed akong mag download up to 1 gigabyte na data?
Salesman : Hinde 1 gigabyte, 1 gigahertz po. Hinde rin po kayo mag da-download. Meron na pong laman yan at nauubos yan habang gumagamit kayo ng “web”.
Me : 1 gigahertz ang “speed” ng modem na ‘to?
Salesman : Hindi po, yan ang laman ng SIM card. (Looking at me like I’m a hopeless case, he gave me a documentation of the product). Para mas maintindihan nyo, basahin nyo po ito.

It stated that I’m allowed 1GB of data download or 1 month of use, which ever comes first, before re-charging using a pre-paid card that I can buy in any Mobily outlet.

He was right. A pre-paid card cost 100 riyals.


  1. nalilito din ako,pero mas gusto ko sa mga pinoy dito rin sa kuwait. yung bang may ngiti pag kaharap nya ay pilipino din.

    kaya lang madalas talaga, masungit pa. pero pag sa iba, ayun halos magkandarapa sa pag alalay sa ibang kostomer.

    hindi naman lahat...:)

  2. hahaha.... hirap pag hindi talaga nila alam yung mga specs. kung minsan kasi kala nila yon na yon.

  3. Yung experience ko sa Dubai, ang susungit ng mga sales girls at mas helpful sila sa mga puti. Nakakainis.

    Nakakatawa naman yung BS niya tungkol sa 1 Ghz :)

  4. ever, so far wala pa akong na meet na kabayang saleman na masungit.

    donG, sa palagay ko, mas lalaki ang benta kung alam nila ang produkto.

    Mimi, oo, nai-kwento mo ito minsan kung papano makitungo ang mga saleslady na pinay sa Dubai airport. Nakakalungkot.

  5. haha,at least tumama si pinoy seller sa 100riyals, lol.
    We cannot blame them really, kasi first, they are underpaid,second, or they were hired by "a connection",even less or incapable of merchandise knowledge, but the good thing about filipino workers,they try to please the customers, the best they could, and they are me and Lolo...

  6. mahirap din tlaga kapag hindi nila alam kung ano pinagsasabi nila.. parang mas okay kapaga manahimik na lang.. o kung kailangan naman talaga sa trabaho.. they should take the initiative na alamin kung ano dapat ang mga dapat nilang malaman para hindi sila napapahiya at hindi rin sila nagbibigay ng maling information.. after all, parte ng trabaho nila ang alamin ang lahat about their jobs/products etc..etc.. ahihihi

  7. Francesca, my point is, if it's my job, I should know it.

    YanaH, korek. pag trabaho mo at hindi mo alam, dapat alamin mo.

  8. ang nakakaasar talaga minsan eh 'yung ibang kabayan natin na kung makatingin sa atin ay parang wala tayong alam. tapos kahit na mali na nga eh ipagpipilitan pa rin na siya ang tama. badtrip yun! \m/

  9. Hindi ko gusto yung approach ng ilang kababayan na mas "maalaga" sila pag puti yung customer. Ang tipid pang ngumiti.

  10. NoBenta, maraming ganyan. elitish ang dating pero peasant ang mentality.

    Ms.Jo, colonial mentality ang tawag ko dyan.

  11. minsan pumunta ako sa tindahan ng camera para bumili ng lens cleaner. the saleslady referred me to a dvd store. nyahaha!

    yes, it would help if they know more about what they're selling. i think it's called professionalism.

  12. i love that sir! pwede bang i-share ang "elitish ang dating pero peasant ang mentality"?

  13. haha, natawa ako sa ending nu, Blogusvox!

    He was really right, in the cost of prepaid card!

  14. "The reason why I’m sometimes dismayed and reluctant to claim English as our second language "

    Since our medium of instruction is in English and so is our official language in government, we should be speaking better English as a nation, shouldn't we ?

    Yun namang sales misinformation - ganyan din yata everywhere, kahit dito. Ang kaibahan, stores ay nagiingat kasi baka mademanda kung mali ang ibinigay na information, lalo na pag nagkaron ng aksidente at ang customer ay napinsala. Kaya ang staff nila binibigyan nila ng sapat na orientation at pag hindi alam, tinatanong ang supervisor.

  15. atticus, baka ang akala nya lens ng "dvd drive" ang lilinisin mo. >: D

    NoBenta, hehehe, okay lang! : )

  16. Kenjie, hehehe, at least hindi sya na zero! >: D

    bw, dapat nga ganyan eh. Kaso kahit atty. sa atin "bamboo english" din mag salita.

    Yan ang kagandahan pag may accountability, sevice is more satisfactory.

  17. Sa tingin ko synonymous din sa title ng post na ito ang 'Knowing What You Blog(write)'. Good reminder for me, thank you.

  18. tama ka. pag trabaho mo yan, alamin mo lahat ng pasikut-sikot at nang hindi ka paikutin ng costumer mo o even ng employer mo!

  19. RJ, pwede rin. but since we mostly blog about personal experiences, I think we all know what we are talking about.

    Ka Rolly, as atticus said, it's all about professionalism, no matter what's your position or job.

  20. nahilo din ako sa gig hehe. pero you are right, marami talaga sa atin ang medyo may kahinaan pagdating sa mga tenses and agreements ng subjects and verbs. i dunno, baka culprit din kasi ang taglish. pero nevertheless, basta pinoy naman magkakaintindihan yan kahit ano pang language :)

  21. If you notice it too, Ed, kung sino ang kausap natin, 'ipinapantay' natin ung English natin like when you know the guy has limited English, we tend to say 'too much high cost, my friend' (instead of saying, say, it's costly).

    We say 'stop to the left' to the taxi driver, instead of saying 'pull ovah'. Sino'ng Pinoy ang magsasabi ng 'pull over to the side'?

    And yes, too, most Pinoy salespeople abroad are cordial; others are in constipation kapag nakakakita ng Pinoy.

  22. Lawstude, when it comes to that, I agree. It doesn't matter really pag mali ang grammar as long as each party understand the other.

    Nebz, tama! Sometimes I go all the way to use the most common English word para maintindihan. May drawback nga lang. Some think I'm a bit "slow" because of my manner of speaking. They don't understand that I'm thinking of the best possible way they could understand me.

  23. Hahhaha, naloka ako sa 1 gigahertz at gigabyte...Ang saya pala pag na andyan!

  24. Ito naman na-experience ko sa Glorieta sa SM: Tumitingin ako ng mabibiling polo barong. Maraming alalay na tindera, walang ginagawa at kakaunti ang mamimili.

    Tanong ako kung anong klaseng tela at kung saan gawa yung napii ko, siempre lang, diba? Aba e puro na lang, di ako sure, sir, ang sagot. E di sa isip-isip ko, ano bang klaseng tindera ang mga ito? Pasensya na lang ikako, kaya isusukat ko na lang muna. Tanong ko: saan ba ang fitting room? Aba e, "close po dito, sir. Doon po sa taas na floor ang bukas," ang sagot niya.

    Binalik ko na lang sa sabitan yung napii ko at nagpasalamat sa tulong niya dahil kapus ako sa oras. ng paalis na ako narinig ko ang sabi ng kasamahan niya: Hmmmp, pabayaan mo nga yan, butas lang naman talaga hanap ng mga yan... ???

  25. yan minsan ang nakakainis sa mga kapwa natin pinoy, dapat mas asikaso tayo e lam mo yung colonial mentality di nawawala kahit saan.
    di ba nila alam na yang mga puti nayan e karamihan mga backpackers at walang pera?
    sa totoo lang mas galante ang mga pinoy(o asians)
    kaya nga nung nsa singapore ako,dahil lang na napahiya ako na nabastos dahil
    panay lang ako e yung mga puti na umuusyoso lang ng mga mamahaling sunglasses e mas inaasikaso at ako e mukhang tanga,
    ayun wala tuloy akong planong bumili nakabili ako ng 600usd na gucci sunglasses mayabangan lang yung mga puting di naman bumibili at makasigaw manlang ako dun sa mga kala mo kung sinung sales cleks uhaaaaaa
    KA_BLAG (hinimatay pagkabayad).

  26. Lee, LOL! may punto ka dyan. Dito may nakita akong puti na naka UV sunglasses. Yun bang tig-ti 10 riyals na made in china. >: D

  27. It's been a long time I've not visited your blog. I've availed of an early retirement option from my previous employer and have been very busy with some "racket".

    Nevertheless, my life is my normal once more and I'm an employee again. Hope to catch up with your previous blogs.

    As for us Filipinos in knowing what to say -

    In an afternoon game show:

    Ai Ai de las Alas: "Kung ang ibig sabihin ng sugar ay asukal, ano namag ang ibig sabihin ng shoe?"

    (Bakit hindi na lang ipamigay ang premyo kung ganyan lang ang itatanong?)

    Child Contestant: (Gesturing something with his hands).

    AA: Ano yang ginagawa mo?

    CC: Nagpapaalis... shoo!

    (Perhaps AA should have used the word shoes instead of shoe).

    Heard in RJFM -

    A deejay was announcing a job opening o the air for an Account Executive.

    "Of course, he or she must be an accounting graduate."

    Verbal gaffe is not our monopoly. I would say there are those who have no clue on what they're saying or writing:

    A botched cooking instruction-

    ...After 45 minutes, add light soya sauce to your taste, stew for 15 more DAYS, and it is ready.

    (This was corrected already but read the comment).