Category Archives: Consumerism
Yeah, this is the same woman that I introduced here, in the guise of Just Tiis.
I attended a success celebration yesterday. And, most of the guests were people from the same workplace of Just Tiis. The conversation turned to Just Tiis when one of the guests asked the whereabouts of Just Tiis’ immediate supervisor. Then her remarkable past encounters with them just tumbled out one by one.
Let us call her immediate supervisor as Miss Kind. This name suits her well. I want to focus on the positive side of her responses to Just Tiis’ manipulations. Otherwise, she will be dubbed as Miss Never Learned.
According to Miss Kind, Just Tiis’ money problems started right after her extravagant wedding. She had on the wedding invitation a list of 91 pairs of godparents! Miss Kind recalled that she was ecstatic to be on the first page of such long list! She is one of those godparents, like those in the story. Godparents were the first victims of Just Tiis scam.
In 2006, Miss Kind recalled, Just Tiis salary ATM was in the care of someone (Miss R) whom she owed in the running of 200 thousand pesos. So Just Tiis just received a balance of her salary after the deductions for her debt were taken. But Miss R started to look for the new person who may have Miss Just Tiis new ATM. She has not yet received the full payment but the ATM in her care had become useless.
Tired from repeated borrowing, Miss Kind refrained from lending cash to Just Tiis. Miss Kind handed her jewelries instead for Just Tiis to pawn. Of the three jewelries borrowed for pawning, two were returned after incessant demand for the return, with the help of other officemates. The third jewelry was past due and ended in the ownership of the pawnshop.
There was this national conference that Miss Kind went with Just Tiis after the latter convinced her that they both attend it. At the registration area, Just Tiis said to Miss Kind, “can you please pay for my registration at this time?” And told the people around, “she is my financier.” Miss Kind felt trapped, paid for Just Tiis registration fees. As a consequence, she ended up borrowing money herself from another friend at the conference.
While MIss Kind was sharing these experiences she had with Just Tiis, somebody from the group remarked, “If she was put to a stop at that time, she may not have victimized more.” Right, Miss Kind’s co-godmother (Miss A who invested over 200 thousand in 2013) even was her co-member in a work committee. at that time. They often met then. So, Miss Kind told Miss A, “why didn’t you verify with me first about the reliability of Just Tiis? We always met then.”
Others in the group commented, “lying is already natural to her.”
“How many children does she have to incur unending debts?” – “Only one.”
“How does her earning husband help her with her debts?” – “Her anchor husband left her already.”
“What’s her relationship with that guy she is always with?” – “No idea.”
“What biological father is sick. How many fathers does she have?” – “There is adoptive father who died before. There is a biological father who was just sick.”
“What’s her excuse this time for being absent for long?” – “She has emergency. Her finger has a node that the doctor said required 130 thousand pesos for operation.”
Well, back to the recent godmother victim. Too late for this godmother. The over 200 hundred thousand was part of her retirement fee. Worked for three decades and the money just fell to the hands of Just Tiis.
Too late even for the future kind-hearted individuals that Just Tiis will meet and sweet-talk.
Yes, she is most of the time seen in that state, especially in front of someone she talks to. Never a lady. She sometimes even hisses, growls or laughs boisterously to emphasize her points. Her tone loud and words usually come with too obvious body quirks, calling attention to bystanders. But, she never mind any over-hearers anyway. They are simply jealous of me, of what I’ve accomplished, she usually said of her detractors, from unknowns to colleagues.
What’s with her? Why does she merit a space in this page? And why would she not? She is incredible in every way. She is a major source of distractions to the peaceful thoughts of many. Take note, many. More than one sane, educated, good-natured individuals whom she sweet-talked and for a time now feel betrayed. If not scammed, as one priest victim call it. He said, “I feel like I am one of the victims of Aman scam with her. And, she is a friend. tsk, tsk, How come she is not answering my calls or if she answers, she simply gives various excuses or promises she never fulfills.” These lines sound so familiar by now, after repeatedly hearing these from different individuals who hitherto look for her for two or three years now.
Two are her own wedding’s godmothers or ninangs. They are seniors in their fields and their mere presence exudes respect to those around them. They believed in the sweet-talk of their goddaughter.
They handed her a fraction of their hard-earned monies from retirement and from a government bonus in exchange for a piece of acknowledgement paper coupled with the promise of a big-time business venture. They even crossed two cities, in company of their families, and attended the preliminary presentations of the goods – top-rated, well-prepared, classy food tasting at a rented food storage facility.
The clean, well-uniformed workers in all whites from head to foot who served were, later known, borrowed and paid from neighboring processing plants. Their presence definitely conveyed the look of sheer sophistication and credibility to the whole event. If you have handed 50 thousand, you have the desire to add another 50 or a hundred thousand more. You just wanted to be a part of this grand venture about to unfold. This is so natural feeling of people who have work for money all along. There is this wanting of letting their money work for them, for a change. Since it is difficult to do this on your own, it is easier to just hop in in a ride towards it. The problem is, the ride’s driver acts like a monarch in an autocratic wall street, er wall sitio (sitio refers to a smaller area than a barangay or a village). Everything is according to her time and availability. She is a super-busy, important who’s who in other circles of humans and animals.
Days after the event, her godmothers had difficulty contacting her. Days turned to months. The excuses for not being contacted vary in their similarities like a crooked linear regression line on a plot of sample probability of lies and truths. She was in a meeting where cellular phones are put on silent mode. She was inside a training facility where cellular phones are deposited at the entrance gates. She was in another province in the northern part of the country meeting humans and animals. She was at the airport or taxiing she could not hear the incessant phone rings. She was mobile so she’d call you later. She was on a ritual in the mountains where there is no signal. She was attending to a funeral of an adaptive parent. She was back in their province in the farther south to give her donation of still unpaid printed shirts to church workers. (Oh, the printshop owner said so.) The list could go on and on. To be able to talk to her, it’s all up to her. When she is free. When she is available. All these and more made her godmothers fidget in utter discomfort and insecurity over their handed monies, which amount are visible only on paper. Very solid. Never liquid, anymore.
Then one day, two years ago, a ticketing agent and spouse dropped by and asked for her. They needed to collect from her the amount for the tickets she booked from their ticketing office located near the Cathedral. And, “why would you be looking for her here,” my brother asked them. “Because it’s the address she gave us where we could see her for the collection.” “Well, this is not her address,” my brother told them. Then one day, a year after that (a year ago), another couple from another ticketing outlet came by. They also needed to collect the 55 thousand pesos balance from a half dozen tickets of different people booked by her with a promise to pay after the travel check will be released. They agreed with the 20 thousand deposit given to them. And why would they not? She has a name and the header positions to boot. They felt lucky the numerous tickets were booked in their outlet. Now, do you have the talent to do that sweet-talk? They just wondered how long will it take to process the travel documents since it was January when she took the tickets and it’s already March. That was in early 2014. Just like the godmothers, they also received the same excuses every time they would contact her.
“It’s not about the money I lost, it’s about the relationship and the trust she broke,” said by a friend who is connected with an international company and frequents the country. Like the godmothers, he wanted to be a part of something grand to flourish out of a very original concept. He believed in the virtual and verbal presentations of the concept. To be considered as one of the pioneers, he thought it best to join in and support with more of his cash. Multiplying the godmothers’ monies, approximately, from three to six times more! But like the godmothers, the printshop owner and the ticketing agents, he too became baffled at how difficult this wall-sitio monarch to contact. Twice, he even spent 12 hours of public transport road trip from his southern hometown just to have an actual meeting with her. But, when she showed up, she was at another table in a meeting with another couple. And when she finally met him afterwards, she has no documents to show about the foundation (who’s who with how much) or progress (what has become) of her golden, priceless concept.
The priceless concept was alleged by her to have been coveted by multinational companies. But, she wanted it for her own. And she was able to sweet-talk individuals into supporting her venture. If she is likened to Dora the Explorer, she also has her good and loyal companion Boots, who is with her and stood by her despite animosities thrown at her from her disgruntled “trusters.” She really is like Dora, she is always on a backpack with other large bags in tow in her numerous trips in the north, south and the mountains. But, unlike Dora, she seems not to have a reliable map that points to where she should go. She is indefinitely lost in her multiple defense mechanisms – denial, repression, displacement, projection, regression to name the observable.
“She said she already has started paying you back,” her former batchmate asked via online. He needed to know of someone who is in the “ride” too. His reaction to the reply was, “so, is there ever a truth from her? She is really trying my patience.” This batchmate had just gone home two years ago from being an OFW in an Arabian country. He brought with him his vision to help in the business operations and stopped from being a foreign worker. He said he has virtually handed her (through remittance) about three to four times of the godmothers’ amount. He even traveled 12 hours on road to be shown the new plant site, which is to be bought from a religious group that own the property. He was told, there is still a need for more cash to realize the purchase, but that he need not add more as he had handed much already. He said he was also told, “others have turned their backs on me and I had to gradually hand them back one by one their monies, so if you want to join them I can understand.” From such remarkable conversation, who would like to back out? Indeed, talking is an art. But, months after the showdown, he wishes to be off the ride and demands his katas ng OFW back.
Lately, she gave the excuse, “I’ll call after class.” But she never did. Called her once, twice, thrice… your fingers could get equally numbed to her countenance. In days, her phone (she did not change her antiquated smart number) just keeps on ringing. She has no more excuse to give? I write this wall-sitio saga in consonance with the thought, “in the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.” I want to pity myself for the predicament of indebtedness I am in because of her, but why do I feel pity upon her instead? Like this scene below, may everyone who have ever been in the “ride” finds eventual peace (and due remuneration?) from this wall-sitio debacle.
Prepaid SIM Cards for Sale
In the Philippines, prepaid SIM cards of various cellular networks are sold everywhere. There are SIM cards for sale in cellphone shops, reloading stations, and even small sari-sari stores. There are peddlers selling SIM cards outside of mall entrances and in the streets.
Numerous Cellphone Numbers
The above scenarios proliferated the ownership of a number of cellphone numbers by individuals from all walks of life. One can have both postpaid and prepaid cellular phone numbers. Even preschoolers have cellphone numbers. The groovy senior, senior citizens have embraced this technological change by learning to use cellular phones; so they too have cellphone numbers. When you ask for a cellphone number from a friend you meet, chances are he or she may ask you, “what number do you prefer, Sun, TM or Smart?” Many individuals own more than one cellular phone with numbers by different network providers. Even having a single cellular phone but with dual SIM card slots in it allows one to have two sets of mobile contact numbers in combinations of prepaid-postpaid, prepaid-prepaid, postpaid-postpaid.
Irresponsibility in Flexibility
This ability to own numerous prepaid cellular phone numbers is coupled with more untoward activities. The villains are enabled to realize their dark plans. One can at anytime destroy and throw away the SIM card used in scamming or bullying others. It has become normal to receive scam text messages now and then. The more informed individuals simply ignore and delete the scam messages. The uninformed or unthinking (?) ones succumbed to the guile by unknowingly giving cellular phone loads, or worse, by depositing processing amounts to claim the supposed large winning prizes. There are those who bully their enemies using unregistered cellular phone numbers. How can one file a complaint over someone personified by an unregistered cellular phone number? It would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Cellular Phone Number Prefixes
Below are the prefixes of various cellular numbers by various cellular phone network providers. Knowing these prefixes allows you to save, especially when the number you are to contact belongs to a network different from what you use. Most unlimited load promos have limited or no provision for call-text to other networks.
One Person = One number
A family member who worked as a nurse in Benghazi, Libya in 2011 shared that every person’s cellular number is registered with the government. In this case, no one can ever bully or scam anyone without having to face the consequences. Every number corresponds to only one owner. This manner somehow protects the general population and making each number owner as a responsible being. Well, is this possible in the Philippines? If ever there is a bill on this, who may support and who may oppose? For a start, which side will you be?
This concern started in January 2008 when telemarketer Justine Bautista of POSITIVE RESPONSE VISION INC called my celfon with offers of items on sale by her Company. Justine has my number from my aunt-in-law LC, her customer in the business. My friend LAR was with me at that time of the call. We both decided to order the Air O Space Bed charged to LAR’s credit card. LAR ordered one queen-sized while I ordered one queen-sized and one single-sized Air O Space Beds. The single-sized was for my sister AVF.
On 25 February 2008, we received the package from POSITIVE RESPONSE VISION INC (see Attachment A). We did enjoy sleeping and relaxing on the bed. However, aS much as we enjoyed with the comfort the beds gave us, we could not continually do so for the beds simply ran out of air and would become fluffy. We used the patches accompanying the package. But this did not hold long. We reported this to telemarketer Miss Justine through a text message for which she’d call as in response.
As advised by Miss Justine, we sent the beds to POSITIVE RESPONSE VISION INC on 22 September 2008 via Air21 (please see Attachment B). Air21 is the Company’s official courier. For weeks to months, we have not received any feedback regarding our beds. Through a text message, Miss Justine informed us that she had taken a sick leave and that she formally endorsed us to her officemate-friend Meg Aquino.
Miss Meg Aquino then called us and told us that the Company is still waiting for stocks of the Air O Space Beds and would inform us immediately whenever the items are available.
Meanwhile, she offered us new products – like what you’ve seen on TV – that her Company is putting on sale. I was in my friend’s house during that call, MBH residence, just two-door away from our rented apartment. MBH got interested about the juicer on sale from P14,000 to only P6,995! Weekly, Belen usually would bring 2-3kilos of fresh fruits at a local Vegan store here for juice extraction. She asked me to include her one juicer when I make my order. In short, we placed two orders of the juicer on promo for a total of P14,590 (2 juicers = P13,990 and P600 courier fee) charged to my sister AVF’s credit card this time.
When the Company called my sister to verify the charges, it informed her that since there was only P11,500 available on her credit card, it would just send one juicer with other items to fill in the P11,500.00 and it will just send the other juicer when the card’s available credit is okay. There were 2 boxes of Auto Cool products. We would just send back the other items then. That was not customer-friendly at all. With that deal, the entire available amount left at that time had all been used up. I would not have agreed on that deal had I taken the confirmatory call. In short, the item was delivered to us on 15 October 2008 (please see Attachment C).
MBH had the juicer first. She and her family were so happy with the ease with which they were able to juice fresh fruits. Right away, her husband gave their old, light-duty juicer to a relative. Just a week after receipt and use of the Juicer, however, it just emitted smoke all of a sudden!
We reported this incident via text message to telemarketer Meg Aquino who in turn called and instructed us to “ship” it back to their Office so they can replace it. We were told that the Total Juicer delivered to us may just have a factory defect. We did ship it back through Air21 paying P700.00 for the charges. Right away, we received the replacement on Saturday, 29 November 2008.
Unpacking it few days later, on 4 December 2008, intending to juice some fruits, to Belen’s utter dismay, the Jumpstart Juicer as replacement did not work! During the previous tele-conversation, Miss Aquino assured us that due to the untoward incident, she would personally supervise the testing of the items before packing them up and sending them to us. If this was so, how could a product just unpacked be nonfunctional at all!
It was noteworthy that the Company sent us a completely different brand. It was before the brand Total Juicer, but the replacement was already Jumpstart Juicer! It would not have mattered had the new juicer functioned as it should. MBH and her family were in utter dismay they wanted a cancellation of the order! They feared the possibility of sending-resending of the item to and fro Manila.
With regards to the Auto Cool product, which MBH’s husband decided to use, it ended up unused after one try because it did not function as it supposed to – maintain coolness inside an air-conditioned car while parked for a few hours exposed to the sun. The inside of the car is still hot same way it normally is even without the Auto Cool. The product did not make any difference at all! Not like as seen on TV!
We faxed a letter to POSITIVE RESPONSE VISION INC. regarding the non-operational items with accompanying request for cancellation of that order (please see Attachment D). The said fax-letter also contained reminder about the replacements for the Aerobeds.
In response, Miss Aquino called and instructed us to fax the official receipt from Air21 to confirm that we indeed had sent back the Air O Space beds (see Attachment B). Until this moment, there is no update regarding the Air O Space beds. As to the juicer, once again Miss Aquino instructed us to send back again the item for them to replace!
This entails another P700 courier fee to our end! The juicer’s promo price of P6995 had been added P700 when we sent it back for replacement. Now we need to pay another P700 for the second time! And until when shall we do this! I told Miss Aquino if we can send back the item without any charge since it is not our fault that the item is nonfunctional. The reply was negative. How uncaring and unjust that is!
I am trying to show the non-operational juicer through a video take using a digital camera. Notably, the Tagalog is a sure give-way of the Visayan tongue; nevertheless, it is a sincere attempt to document the misfortune that befalls us as customers.
[originally posted at Multiply, 13 March 2009 11:21 AM]