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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Great Company, Bad Employees

This is the letter of complaint I sent National Bookstore last Saturday, December 18.

Dear National Bookstore,

I regret to inform you that going to your store this morning wasn't exactly the experience one would expect from a business that has been running for more than 70 years, and has been tagged as the "biggest and strongest bookstore chain in the Philippines."

I was looking for some gift ideas early this morning around 11, when a part of one of your shelves collapsed as I took one of the hardbound notebooks stacked on it. The plastic support was either brittle or not properly installed and caused it to detach. I tried to push the plastic support to keep your merchandise from falling while looking around for a staff to help out. The notebooks then started falling first one at time then in heaps. Still no one was there to help. Fortunately, one of the customers, an elderly man, saw what was happening and quickly moved towards me to keep all your notebooks from tumbling down, uselessly it might have already been. There was no stopping gravity from pulling the notebooks down. And still no help from your employees came. Everything was now on the floor. The old man put the plastic support in place and we started to pick up one by one the notebooks and put them back to the shelf. Finally, one of your female clerks came, pathetically slow and without urgency. Para pa siyang galit at inakala siguro kung ano na ang ginawa namin sa mga paninda ninyo. The man left soon afterwards. Your clerk didn't say anything, didn't even ask what happened, or at least thank the old man. It was I who even had to explain what happened. You'd think she'd react at least, ask some question or apologize for the inconvenience. But no, not a whimper for a reaction. I was so exasperated all I could do was sigh "Hay, naku" to myself and shook my head. You would think I'd left her with all your merchandise on the floor. No, i stayed and helped her until all the notebooks were returned to the shelf. You'd think, she'd say something at least, like "thank you." But no, not a word. I could have accepted a sign language for thank you and I wouldn't mind, in case you hire deaf-mutes. Unbelievable woman!

Another thing, I saw one of the guards inside your store just a couple of shelves away. It wasn't possible that he didn't hear what happened. I'm sure he heard it, at least, if he didn't see it. Some customers already stopped on their tracks after the shelf had collapsed. Never mind that the first of your customers who saw me holding on to your merchandise just looked on and didn't help. But I do mind the people in your payroll who simply didn't care.

I don't regret not leaving your stuff as they collapsed. I don't regret trying to save your little shelf. I don't regret not leaving your staff as she picked and returned the fallen goods in place. I don't regret helping her either. It is because that isn't how I was raised. That isn't how my company trains us. We are always reminded at the office that inside or outside the workplace, we represent our company. And that's what we do all the time - protect our company's good name anywhere we go.

But there I was inside your store, and your people carried your name in the most undistinguished way; these employees wearing their IDs, wearing their uniforms in the workplace.

I'm sure it is not your way. You wouldn't have lasted this long if it were. But I still find no excuse for such behavior.

Also, I come to your store not only during the holidays or during back to school days. I come to your stores (Powerbooks included) at least twice a month to buy books - for myself and for our office library. I may be wrong, but I'm quite sure I am more loyal to you than most of your staff assigned at your Festival Mall branch around 11 AM today, December 18, 2010.

You may think also that I left your store not buying anything out of disappointment. No. I bought a planner and two notebook journals. I gave you business today despite the very poor service I was given.

If you think that what your staff did was right, don't bother yourself with this e-mail.

Until this time, Tuesday morning, December 21 - National Bookstore has not replied.


  1. Should I be bothered that I think this post is funny? :)

    Merry Christmas KL.

  2. Now, that's funny! :) Merry Christmas, too!