The Receipt as a Symbol of Philippine Authoritarianism

i cardThis topic is a bounce off my family’s recent trip to Hong Kong.

Sometimes the smallest of acts reveals the largest of attributes. I’m tempted to call the attributes of which I speak “deficiencies” but will let you decide on that point. Indeed, I was originally going to entitle this article “The Receipt as a Symbol of Philippine Incompetence”, but the kinder, more respectful Editor trashed that headline during the diplomacy review.

Again, you can decide on the correct wording for the attributes after the discussion.

This blog leapt into my head after a quick bout of panic in Hong Kong in the middle of the night when, for the life of me, I could not remember where I put my Immigration receipt. This particular receipt is issued by Philippine Immigration when a foreign resident purchases the right to leave the country and return later. It is a simple transaction. You pay through the nose to the tune of 4,000 pesos and officials put a sticker in your passport. And they print out a receipt in triplicate, one of which the Cashier keeps, one of which the Immigration Clearance Officer keeps, and one of which I am supposed to keep.

Let me digress briefly to state that I was actually very impressed with Philippine Immigration in Manila this time through. It previously was a horrific headache. But someone got the idea of one priority line, like the Disneyland line engineers use, to route the travelers in proper good order to the first available agent. No more jostling like hungry pigs at the trough to crowd to the front. And the Custom’s agent was downright polite, smiling and providing helpful guidance as to how to get authorized to get out of this place for the first time in five years.

The Chinese Customs agents, by comparison, were snarling pit bulls. They’re like cops on patrol, looking for spies or thieves or malcontents, glowering back at my pleasant “thank you”.  For sure, the Philippines is getting its act together better than those officious Chinese thugs.

But back to the receipts.

Well, my wife put my mind at rest when she gave me the receipt in the morning, but I had to reflect on why, in the Philippines, I panic over lost receipts.

It comes from all the horrible moments with NSO, Immigration, Foreign Affairs, LTO, hospitals, PhilHealth, and assorted other agencies when they ask for a receipt for a prior transaction or a photocopy of some document or another. Of course, they have no photocopy machine available for this. For Immigration, I am required to keep 5 years worth of my annual alien-registration receipts and present a copy of them when I renew the visa.

Now here is what confuses me. THE AGENCIES issued the receipt. Don’t their records show they did? Why do I have to prove to them that they did what they did? My payment or transaction is recorded either on their paper or in their computer records. My visa is electronic, so all transactions are imbedded in the chip on the I-Card. For Immigration clearance at the airport, the record is in three places: (1) Immigration computer, (2) I-card, and (3) stamped in my passport. If I did not pay the required fee, how in the world did those records get made?

You see, a receipt in American culture is usually issued for the benefit of the receiving party. So I can, for instance, prove to the clerk at the “returned items counter” or someone other than the issuing agency (IRS perhaps) that I paid. But here, in the Philippines, it is issued for the benefit of the issuing party. So that I can prove to them what they already know. But insist that I prove.

Stern disciplinarians, these officials. Scowling like parents of a misbehaving child if all the (usually very confusing)  paperwork is not in perfect order.

But the background on it is that their record-keeping has been historically atrocious. Unreliable, paper-based and manipulated or misfiled by this person or that for whatever justification can be concocted. Kinda like legislator SALNs I suppose, numbers all crapped together. No one trusts their own records because everything is slap-dash and paper.

And therein, my friends, lies the distinction between an authoritarian, power and favor-based style of productivity and a customer-service, or citizen-first, value-based style of productivity. Crapped together versus organized to be helpful.

It also reflects the poor (but improving) state of electronic affairs in the Philippines.

This notorious Filipino deficiency was glaringly evident as we made our retail purchases in Hong Kong. Hong Kong credit card purchases were zapped through a hand-held, wireless terminal and approved in 5 seconds. No questions asked. Card approved. Sign. Done deal. Sale. Smiles all around.

In the Philippines, the retail transaction (at Gaisano Malls) goes something like this:

  1. The unsmiling aisle sales agent writes up a paper ticket indicating what is being purchased and what the price is.
  2. After a 5 to 20 minute wait in line, the paper ticket is presented to the unsmiling cash register clerk who scans the bar code on the product and compares it to the paper ticket. If it matches, we can go to next step. If it does not, we spend five minutes figuring out what’s the correct price and why the paper doesn’t agree with the computer.
  3. If or when it matches, the clerk runs to another register to process the credit card payment through a land-line phone which does not have a dial tone for about a minute, and gets approval in maybe two minutes.
  4. Once the payment is recorded, another clerk checks the merchandise against the receipt and packages it up tight, receipt stapled or taped to the bag for clearance at the security exit point (the door guard slashes a red crayon across the receipt as you leave).

This whole process takes some 10 to 15 minutes, on average. Sometimes more. It is grumpy and officious. Versus 30 seconds of smiles in Hong Kong.

And I did not even add in the time wasted in Philippine stores to verify that the product works. In this three-stooges parody, the product is unwrapped from its sealed original packaging, assembled, plugged in to whir a bit, unplugged, disassembled, re-packaged in approximately the same order usually with all the parts included and not too badly damaged. High speed is about 7 minutes. Slow can be a half-hour. All because an “easy return” policy is non-existent in the Philippines because NO ONE TRUSTS ANYONE hereabouts (suppliers foist shoddy goods on retailers; employees abuse the products) and the greedy oligarchs who own the stores don’t want to take care of the peon customers who are barely worth a snoot of their time.

So you can use whatever words you wish to describe these Philippine cultural proceedings.

For me, they are upside down. Backwards. Inside out.

  • Hong Kong merchants want you back. They want you to spend your money. They know it is your choice and they are thankful that you choose to shop with them.
  • Too many Philippine merchants believe you should be thankful they allow you to shop with them. And President Aquino may believe Government works for the people, but that message has not gotten down to the government people we have to deal with.

My assessment of the difference could be more descriptive, but my young son reprimands me when my lips run a little loose, so I shall refrain from elaborating.

The point is that Philippine cultural traditions are authoritarian, favor-based and expectation based. And I’d venture to guess that these traditions generally work against the best interests of the nation, if best interests are defined to mean happy people happily spending their money and not being jerked around. Or business people not choking and gagging on senseless red tape that undermines their profits.

Here’s a suggestion for improvement, useful both to government agencies and retail stores: take better care of the people who can make the economy roar. This suggestion applies to everyone from the jeepney operators who wedge customers in like sweaty sardines to the snooty mall workers to the red-taped import/export processors to the officious government agents assigned the job of HELPING citizens. Everywhere.

Attitude adjustment, eh? Everyone benefits from courtesy and good service.

And eventually we might come to believe that Filipinos far and wide are indeed friendly, as they claim they are . . . .  rather than officious authoritarians, as they too often seem to be.

Comments
31 Responses to “The Receipt as a Symbol of Philippine Authoritarianism”
  1. Mel NL says:

    Your observance about the attitude of many Filipinos are down right true when it comes to servicing the low/average client/customers. This attitude is changed when the client/customers look rich and powerful.

    • Joe America says:

      Excellent point. Indeed, as a tall white American who on occasion looks distinguished, I get courteous or even preferential treatment at banks and some government agencies (LTO). But the Gaisano Mall horror-service is all too common and can’t be easily avoided because it is the procedural routine.

      I would also say that in places that serve a broad international clientele, service is routinely excellent (restaurants, hotels, some retail stores). So to your point, as it varies according to the customer’s “status”, it also varies according to the vendor’s “awareness”. As the Philippines gets more tourists in, and a bigger middle class, I’d expect to see a broadening of general courtesies..

      • Tantan says:

        Given that most of these people receive the low minimum wage + job instability (6 months contract), it should not be a surprise.

        But it could be due to poor training and unfriendly boss.

        I’ve had wonderful time once though. was searching for a jeans on sale that would fit me…the lady helped me look for a perfect fit..(yeah, digging through those pile of jeans on sale) and no, I’m not a foreigner to be given that “special” attention

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, good point. Many stores (Robinson’s Dept Store for example) are crawling with customer service people, because they are low-wage. So personal attention is high. I’m inclined to think that “attitude” has a lot to do with management of the work force as some low-wage staff always pack a smile (Jollibee) whilst others always pack a frown (Gaisano Mall). And the routines are generally not built for the customer, but for the store (the Gaisano experience cited in my article).

          One Golden Popeye to you for your first visit to the new dot com.

    • cha says:

      True, it makes a lot of difference to the service that you get in both government agencies and retail establishments in the Philippines when you are well dressed, articulate and definitely assertive. Fluency in english and being “white” like JoeAm can’t also hurt.

      But that is because these types of clients/customers are usually well-educated and aware of their rights as consumers and taxpayers, and are willing and able to make their case and demand better treatment from the often less privileged salesperson or government employee.

      Those on lower income brackets and especially the ones living in extreme poverty, even if they may have the tiniest inkling that they somehow deserve to be treated better, would not know even where to start asking for fair treatment.

      There is a non-profit org called ATD (All Together in Dignity) Fourth World Philippines that is working toward helping preserve and protect the dignity of those living in extreme poverty so that they too may ask to be heard and listened to. These are the people who probably don’t even get to make purchases or enter into financial transactions that require a receipt. ATD goes to their communities and conducts workshops, learning sessions that helps the different members of the community understand that they too have rights, that they too deserve respect.

      For the adults, they have a whole series of workshops on “How to Face and Deal with Authorities”, the objective being being to teach them how to approach authorities like barangay officials, public school teachers etc. when they have issues or concerns regarding their community, their family or their children’s education. (check out their website or Facebook page for more details about what they’re doing).

      Anyway, the point is that a lot of Filipinos not only need to know their rights but also how to ask for/ demand it. Thank goidness for those organizations like ATD Philippines and many others who are working at grassroots level helping uplift the quality of life of the less privileged so that they too may someday finally feel offended by the attitude shown by some power-tripping government employee or SM/ Gaisano Mall check-out lady and be confident
      enough to say so.

  2. Amir al Bahr says:

    With this new layout, I can now use my gravatar profile and don’t have to write under anonymous, unlike with your old one hahaha.

    I think “incompetence” would have gotten the point across much better, Joe.

    You’re spot on when you say how Filipinos do record-keeping is generally atrocious. There isn’t even a sort of database that links all government agencies together. Think of all your “numbers” in one place: SSS, Pag-Ibig, LTO, etc.

    The downside, of course, is that this can be used by people with malicious intent (usually in government) to target people they don’t like.

    And people here are so used to doing it the old way, paper-based, that attempting to introduce a more automated process will be met with vehement, even violent, opposition. Filipinos have a hard time adapting to change.

    It perplexes me to no end, that although Filipinos are known the world over for hospitality, the concept of customer service ingrained in service outlets here is horrible. Maybe it’s because hospitality is reserved for foreigners, while Filipinos generally don’t like each other and don’t get along with each other very well.

    I’ve been to HK a few times before. The number of merchants is limitless! Maybe that’s why they do everything to make people come back, as you say. In contrast, the merchants here in the Philippines know that there are only a few of them, so they couldn’t care less if you complain; you’ll be back with them anyway. Eventually.

    Filipinos think that they have a choice, when really all they have is an illusion of choice.

    With the ever-growing population and the persistence of a protected, consumption-driven economy, Filipino merchants are not really worrying about losing their customer base. At this point, the base is easily replaceable. Filipino consumers want them cheap, want them plenty, and want them now.

    And that’s the sad part.

    • Joe America says:

      Ha, Amir, glad to see your impressive gravatar, which always reminds me of Ahab searching for that damn big white whale. One Golden Popeye to you for popping in to the new site.

      Thanks for the elaboration on my article. I tend to see change in the wind, though. As the cities and towns get bigger, there are more choices, and the obnoxious and inept vendors will soon fail. In my small hometown, there are perhaps 10 bakeries, 5 hardware stores, 3 grocery markets, 5 gas stations, and 3 banks. One of the banks (Land Bank) is ending up with the masses and the other two (Metrobank and PNB) are getting the moneyed people.

      And Manila seems somehow more cosmopolitan these days. Gaisano is rather a dinosaur, but I figure they’ll wake up soon enough as the big malls come to town and expand and clean Gaisano’s clock.

      Competition is a great tool for improving service, and it is expanding in the Philippines.

    • JM says:

      “There isn’t even a sort of database that links all government agencies together. Think of all your “numbers” in one place: SSS, Pag-Ibig, LTO, etc.”

      I agree with this. I always complain about this but even if I complain to my father (works for the government), he just says we really can’t do anything about it since we’d just meet resistance so I just stopped complaining.

      I would give you another example in relation to my job. I am a CISA. My job is to basically check if there are fraudulent/erroneous transactions and at the same time improve the process I am auditing through automation. Each time I try to recommend improvements however, I meet resistance especially from old/traditional ones. However, I think there is hope. When I talked to younger people who are familiar with new technology, they are basically more receptive.

      • Joe America says:

        Hi JM. Your real-world experience actually gives me optimism. Progress relies on young people rising into management positions where they can apply their natural comfort with technology to solve some of the current processing problems. You’ll be interested in one of the blogs I’m concocting that will run next week. Look for an article entitled “Success Breeds Failure”. In fact, I think I’ll amend it to incorporate your perspectives.

        A Golden Popeye to you for stopping by the new joeam.com with your point of view.

  3. andrew lim says:

    Using your new blog feels like driving a new car, Joe! I can smell the new-car scent! ha ha

    Your essay touches on an observation I’ve been trying to validate for years: there is no Tagalog word for “efficiency”. Instead what we have are words that capture certain nuances of it like “mahusay” (excellent), “masipag” (hard working), matiyaga (persevering) and the closest – “masinop” (industrious/thrifty/economical) .

    But there is no word in Tagalog that gets it in its full meaning in English: getting maximum output, using less resources (time or money).

    My idea is that if there is no word for it, then the chances of practicing or implementing it is not good. Of course, exceptions abound – manufacturing and other businesses are obsessed by it, because their survival depends on it. But the average Pinoy doesnt seem to get it. Moreso for bureaucrats whose only motivation is their salary. Maybe that’s why many Pinoys do not rue wasted time; life will be the same, anyway. Think cab drivers who roam endlessly instead of organizing themselves with call-in services.

    Some years ago, a group of expats was toured around by a friend and they saw men hawking whole beds on the street, carrying it on their backs under the sun. Perplexed, they asked: how many can they sell in a day in that manner? Why dont they use brochures or scale models instead? What if it rains or they damage the bed?

    There ought to be a word for “efficiency”.

    • Joe America says:

      “Maybe that’s why many Pinoys do not rue wasted time . . .” Indeed, the Philippine clock is an amazing instrument. The hands are not attached to anything, and they just spin around reactively. I tried to explain to my wife the idea of the “value of time” by reciting the businessman’s logic, My salary equates to 6,000 pesos per hour, which is how much a store clerk or bank or government agency is costing me by wasting my productive time. She stared at me for a short time, turned, and walked back to her game of “Candy Crush”.

    • edgar8lores says:

      On hawking beds, I don’t know whether to exclaim, “That’s hilarious!” or “That’s unbelievable!” At least if they get tired, they can sleep on it.

  4. Welcome back JoeAm,

    I can relate especially to the receipt-obsessed pinoy bureaucracy. When i went to get my eligibility certificate from the civil service commission, i had to bring a receipt and a valid I.D. a valid I.D. is reasonable, but why do i have to bring the receipt when the cashier is right inside the building? don’t they have a data transmission and transaction-tracking process within the office?

    And your observation of pinoy oligarch stores, especially those that cater to the masses, is spot on. There seems to be varying service codes depending on the customer’s socio-econ class or nationality (preferential treatment for high-spending foreign tourists/expats). lastly, i think you haven’t heard of “horror” stories on how Public Attorneys Office lawyers deal with indigent, non-paying clients– the rightful beneficiaries of their agency’s service; where could you see lawyers shouting at their clients?

    P.S. i think the new interface is cool. i can scan entries by categories. And also, i don’t have to post as Pinoy_realist.

    • Joe America says:

      Angelo, a realist by any other name, I’m glad you like the new digs. You have earned your own Golden Popeye by visiting.

      Attorneys. I need to do a blog about them. I can imagine your horror stories, although I have not witnessed them. Some attorneys here seem to be a shady bunch, almost gangsters with hats pulled over their eyes and a bulge in their suit vest pocket which can be either a gun or a big pack of bribe money, received or set to palm off onto a pliable judge. It seems a shame to work so hard in law school and getting prepped for the Bar exam and then just taking queasy street, sliding into the network of favors owed and paid, rather than laws.

  5. edgar8lores says:

    1. Obviously Gaisanos are not paisanos.

    2. The systems-man in me laughs – and weeps – at the misuse of resources (man-power, machine-power and time usage) in carrying out a simple rectal – sorry, retail – transaction. Has time-and-motion been considered? Has a cost-benefit study been conducted over the usage of manpower vs. computer-power, electronics and store layout?

    2.1 Of course, labor is cheap in the Philippines, but I think a simple study would eliminate the need for the sales agent and the packaging clerk.

    2.2 And wouldn’t electronic helpers be cheaper than maintaining extraneous personnel in the long run? Electronics are now a big help. CCTV cameras can monitor and record different sections of the store – not only the customers but also the workers. The design of the store layout with separate entry/exit points would eliminate the need for an ‘exit’ door guard if the buying customers were immediately debouched out of the store area, and an ‘entry’ guard could monitor incoming customers. Electronic door sentinels, that raise an alarm when an electronically tagged product is carried out of the store, can be positioned along both entry/exit points.

    2.3 And is labor so cheap that it cannot afford a smile? I don’t think I would mind inefficiency that much if it were lathered with expressions of gratitude even if they were pro forma –- and a certain amount of grovelling.

    3. I did not know about the product verification step and the lack of a return and refund/replace policy. As far as I know here in Oz, product verification is not carried out for electronics or white goods and product return policies are quite liberal. It has been discovered that customers reward such trust with greater patronage. There is a certain point where the rate of returns can boost sales before draining revenue.

    4. As to attitude adjustment, it would seem it’s an easy thing but… we have discussed the master-slave mentality of the Filipino before. Simple impersonal transactions become power entanglements. I think people who provide service are afraid to be seen as inferiors hence the non-smiling, non-caring attitude. There is the subtext of “I am not your slave.” Naturally, people who expect service see themselves as superiors. The subtext is, “The customer is always right.”

    4.1 In government service the roles are reversed. The elected official or bureaucrat becomes the master of the citizen who requires a service. The subtext changes to “I am now in charge here.” And the bureaucrat will not be moved until proper homage is offered. As to the elected official, there are three types: the true servants (PNoy’s “You are my boss”), the tricksters (GMA and the three kings of UNA) and the in-betweens.

    4.2 The clergy are the servants of God who behave as masters of the people.

    • andrew lim says:

      @Edgar,

      You’ll find Puregold grocery here very funny: After the checkout counter, you will go through three- yes, three stops, where a clerk and guards will check your receipt and mark it. ha ha ha

      Reminds you of East Germany, where half of the population was employed to spy on the other half, since jobs were scarce. 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Good points all, and you saved me the trouble of writing a full blog with your points 2 and 3. It would appear that very few Filipino merchants or government officials ask the simple question, “How can I serve my customers (citizens) better?” Asking the question would lead to things like better use of technology and work measurement studies, or, because the offenses here are so wild, simply looking about to see how customers are jerked around and correcting that. The level of arrogance among service managers must be astounding. Upon saying that, I recognize that there are some places that indeed do work on good service (Jollibee). But I’d guess that, far and wide, no one ever asks and tries diligently to answer that question. Perhaps because they don’t care. They are the masters in their own minds.

      Maybe they will be out of a job soon . . . outmoded and outdated by competition . . .

      As for 4.2, that is the best characterization of religious arrogance I’ve ever read. Like, Zingggg!

      • edgar lores says:

        I notice here that retail staff are very helpful. If the store does not carry the product you are looking for, they will suggest another store – even that of a competitor.

        I also notice that even in the supermarket, friendly conversations take place between the register clerk and customer. The clerks are trained in courtesy and to ask, “How’s your day?” and that can spark a dialogue. Perhaps if Filipinos can return the courtesy and see clerks as humans rather than receipt robots we can overcome the master-slave mentality. I must confess though that if I am next in line to be served and the conversation goes on and on, I do get impatient!

  6. essie says:

    I feel your pain. I got my driver’s license recently and it took 8 effing hours to process. Ridiculous!

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, yes. My first license took 4 months to get the plastic done and shipped to Zambales from Manila. But where I am now, they have their own plastic printer, so it took 10 minutes. Sometimes I think they are trying. Sometimes, I think they care not one iota. A Golden Popeye to you for stopping by.

  7. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “Authoritarian” regime of the Philippines is ready for May 13 election: POWER FAILURES. Ballot switching rehearsal was tested Wednesday by switching off power grid. Powerfailures always happens during election.

    Guess who owns the powercompanies? Who they support? I so love Philippines. Never a dull moment. It is fun in the Philippines.

  8. JosephIvo says:

    In Landmark in Makati there are 20 paying counters I guess over 4 floors with on each side of the square 3 to 4 cashiers, checkers, packers… or 4×4=16 uniformed employees per counter. A multiple are idling sales ladies hanging around, more than customers on many parts of the day. Between our subdivision and the main road there are at least 40 sari-sari’s 2,3 well stuffed all the others with limited supplies, transport by tricycle, 1 driver with 1 or 2 passengers, 10 tricycles waiting. The only tools on the constructions sites are a hammer and some things made from reinforcement bars. Grass is cut with scissors by an underpaid helper. Etc., etc… Inefficiencies are a dirty trick to hide unemployment.

    27 million Filipinos suffer in poverty, according to government figures, 10 million work as “slaves” oversees (see Mariano) and how many more are hidden unemployed?

    No revolution yet, let’s vote for a film star.

    • Joe America says:

      Achhh, too much reality, really, with your perspective. Let’s get more manufacturing and real industries going while the glow is still glowing. The masses indeed scrape and suffer.

    • edgar lores says:

      1. Here’s a riddle for economists: Which is better?

      1.1 Option 1: High employment coupled with low wages?
      1.2 Option 2: Or Low employment with high wages?

      2. Option 1 – High employment/low wages:

      2.1 Benefits

      o High employment rate
      o Many people have at least some income and can survive
      o Business has high profit margin due to low labor costs

      2.2 Disadvantages

      o Many people live at subsistence level
      o Staff are easily controlled (e.g. command votes) and abused for fear of job lost
      o Staff do not have extra employment benefits like health care and retirement provisions
      o Low income class is maintained – no growth in middle class
      o Business may have high turnover in staff – due to low wages
      o Business processes are not streamlined resulting in less profit
      o Consumption is limited to basic necessities and growth is limited to food/plastic utensil industries
      o Greater traffic congestion and pollution
      o Great reliance on government services in terms of extended welfare

      3. Option 2 – Low employment/high wages

      3.1 Benefits

      o Employees and their families have a higher quality of life
      o Employees have benefits like health care and retirement provisions
      o High employee morale and productivity
      o Business processes are streamlined
      o Greater growth in middle class
      o Personal and business consumption expands to include technology and ‘luxuries’ which in turn stimulates other businesses
      o Less traffic congestion and pollution

      3.2 Disadvantages

      o High unemployment rate
      o High cost of labor
      o Lower profit margin
      o Greater reliance on government services in terms of basic welfare

      • Joe America says:

        Excellent comparison. I wonder which is more inclined toward violent rebellion if the economy turns south in a material way? In the Philippines, perhaps both.

        It seems to me that one has to get to where one wants to go by starting from where one is. I suspect no economist would argue that the current economic circumstance in the Philippines is desirable. The country needs more manufacturing, more exporting, more investment and competition to drive productivity upward. I think tourism is building nicely, and as more areas emulate Palawan, and as the Manila casinos get regional fame, this nation should attract tourists in huge planeloads. Agriculture, in my opinion, is managed exactly the opposite of what is needed. It is managed to keep people employed but poor rather than for marketing success, export, and profit. Technology consists of a shovel, machette and big cow.

  9. manuelbuencamino says:

    1. Too many employees all looking out to keep their job by making it appear that their redundant tasks are essential. Same thing happens in government, Gaisano, and SM.
    2. And managers always devising new reasons for even more red tape so that even more employees will be needed. A simple transaction involving a sales rep, customer, and cashier now even includes the security guard! So who is going to check on the security guard to ensure there is no collusion between him and the customer? I know how to do it boss but we will have to hire more people!
    3. I don’t think it reflects authoritarianism. It is more a reflection of a mom and pop mentality still being applied to a process that grew a lot faster than management’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. They went IT but instead of cutting out redundancies they ended up hiring more people to run their machines.
    4. Gives the real meaning of the most used phrase in the country: I will dobol chek, poh.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, that makes sense. Rather employee-up management, or throwing labor at problems rather than thinking of (potentially costly) productive processes like a computer.

      “I will dobol chek, poh.” 🙂

      Glad you found the new digs. A Golden Popeye to you for your success.

  10. andrew lim says:

    I just realized most of today’s receipts are printed on thermal paper, so it gets erased after some time. So all that authoritarianism are ephemeral at best.

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