Friday, May 11, 2012

Great (Retail) Expectations

I recently conducted a retail face off by pitting two body parts  beauty and cosmetics brands against each other: The Face Shop and The Body Shop.

Cosmetics is not my vanity. For a not so girly-girl, buying mineral foundation and blush powder, and investing on make up brushes are a big deal to me. It's a leap 3 years in the making. Backed with just a strong resolve to finally do it, my minimum requirements were to get stuff that 1) won't give me allergies  2) won't make me look like a geisha. To be attended to properly and educated on the use of products would also be nice.

To make the long story short: I fell madly in love with The Body Shop.

To say there is real competition for a "share of heart" is to dignify my Face Shop experience. There I was, a clean blank canvas, willing to take what I'm told as gospel truth. I made for a pretty easy sale, one can say. But wow, man. I gave Face Shop a try first. The ladies there could not even be bothered for really simple questions! They were more busy putting on their own make up rather than educating customers (I wasn't the only one there) about their products! It was as if we were their morning ritual nuisance! I spent a considerable amount of time trying products on my own and just when I was about to make a purchase, there wasn't even anybody at the cash register. You guessed it, ate was applying make up, still! So before I walked away (and promised myself never to set foot on that store again) I did them a favor by saying "Nakakahiya naman sa inyo ate, bibili na nga sana ako, mukhang na-istorbo ko pa kayo." *exit frame*

Whereas, my TBS experience was the exact opposite. I can go on and on with my praises but suffice it to say that a guy-- a person who is genetically designed and socially expected to know less about make up and cosmetics than me-- gave me the lowdown on bases, powders and brushes. A. GUY. Okay, he's gay but still...

I ended up stepping out of their store +/- 5k poorer but market experience so much richer. I'm a marketer, after all, and I'm always on the lookout for the best customer experience. I can say my 'purchases' that day were a real steal. ;) The events of that morning led me write this, as shared on my Facebook account the other day---

In a market saturated by almost homogeneous choices, I'm surprised why not all brands realize that great customer experience is the one thing that would set them apart.

Customers would pay to be accommodated properly; treated with warmth and respect; and to see employees not only genuinely happy to be of service, but to know that they take pride in doing their job too. Be it the manong guard who opens the door for you, or the lady who addresses your every question about a product-- notice how a smile goes a long way! Excellent after-sales service earns major pogi points too! Employees who do their job cheerfully and efficiently are all part of the customer experience all brands across all industries should have a good aim at.

Brand people, please, make it easier for us to part with our hard-earned money. Don’t just sell products, blow us away with your umph!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'm INNNN!!!

This is to mean I'm not kidding. Well, not that anybody said I am.

I reckon the first 296 registrants were all from Australia, beating me to it by sheer timezone advantage. Haha.

Registration: check
Hotel reservations: check
Training: in progress (my feet are getting acquainted with the new Brooks GTS 11)
Visa application: Uhm.. yeah.. we'll get there!

Really excited since this will be my 3rd 42 kilometers and 1st international marathon. You know what they say, third time's the charm. Do I hear a PR? :) Looking forward also because I will be traveling with 2 sisters, a brother, his wife and their little boy. :) Marathoner and Tita duties in one trip! :)

And, as I shared with some friends yesterday, I am extreeeeeeemely proud and honored that I will be running with my Kuya, the eldest of the brood. This is his first full marathon at the age of 40! 40!!!! Can you believe that! Family members never fail to surprise me when it comes to embracing new things in their lives. (Another brother recently started his blog at 38, one is training for Ironman Cebu-- also his first for that distance; and the kuya-bunso is a new daddy-o!).

 Only goes to show, it's never too late to start ANYTHING new in your life. :) In mine too! :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Idea buffet

My thoughts are driving me crazy! There's just soooo plenty of them running through my head all at the same time!!! I mean plenty! It is consolation though, they're happy and inspired thoughts, mostly. :)

I used to find it odd that some friends would read books concurrently without losing the train of thought on any of them.  In my head I'm thinking sure, and create a smorgasbord of stories and character sketches. Look who's talking now. I'm writing several things at a time. In attempt not to let any of the thoughts that have made a playground of my brain escape me, I started writing them- some in form of an essay, some in bullets points, some in tweets. Anything, really. I just have to write something I can refer back to if and when I've made some semblance of order in my head. (Sounds very cuckoo!)

I've found myself jumping from a Word document to another (and to another, and to another) lately. There's so much to write. So much things to do out of these things I'm writing. So much life to live out of these things I have to do stemming from the things I'm writing. Good times are coming!

Monday, March 5, 2012

In Memoriam

Heads up to non-YFC UPLB readers, this is a mini project we're putting together for the family of Ray Penaranda, the UPLB student who was slain this week. You may want to take a pass in reading this as it is published here for now for the sole intention of providing space for a mini-eulogy. 

Dearest Tito German, Tita Flordeliza and Anna,

We hope this letter finds you at a better time.

We, the past and current members of Youth for Christ, UPLB are one in extending our deepest condolences for your family’s loss. Ray, for the time we spent with him in UPLB, was family to us, too. And in ways only God has the power and wisdom to make happen, we are now about to live the rest of our lives with the memory of a good son, brother, orgmate and friend.

We wish to express our support in seeking justice for him. We will be in touch with school and town authorities; we will be vigilant; we will pray and stand solid on the promise that we will not rest until justice and retribution are served to whom they are due. We may never ease the pain your family is going through at the moment, but please allow us to help in ways we know how.

Finally, we put some of our favorite memories of Ray together in the hope that, through our words, you might be able to see Ray in a new light… to know how the young man you raised was such a positive influence to us who were blessed enough to know him in his lifetime. We hope reading through the following pages would help you feel that we will dwell on Ray’s light, life and love that will surely live on.

We will keep Ray and your family in our prayers,
Signed: YFC-UPLB alumni and resident members


Frisbee po ang sport nya na shinare nya sa amin. Tahimik lang yan. Kahit pag inaasar lang namen, magsmile lang yan. ~Norbert

He never complained of his service (in YFC and to God).
He had given to YFC UPLB a talk (Repentance, Faith, Healing and Forgiveness) of YFC youth camp. Up until now, we still believe that he is one of the best people to give that talk. He lived his YFCUPLB in full conviction. ~Louie

Nakakatuwa siya, lalo na pag nagvivideoke. ~Kresyah

pinauso niya po yung 'may dumaang spaghetti' instead na may dumaang angel kapag po biglang tumatahimik. ~Lotus

Masipag po siya magchoir. Kahit 6am yung sched andun siya, walang reklamo. ~Sarah

Napakasipag rin po mag aral nyang si Ray. ~Khalil

Isang pagsaludo sa isang kapatid na nasa piling na ng Poong Maykapal. ~Bryan

Dear Ray,

I remember my YFC days as fulfilling and worthwhile. We always say "we are in the business of loving people". I believe in being a friend, brother, son and a servant of God are all part of this business. His BUSINESS. My heart cries for you bro...I’ve been there, done that and the memories are Great! Then this...God will give justice! 

But let's not grieve. Let God take away the anger and frustration. Let us your brothers and sisters celebrate your LIFE. God is powerful and All knowing. I know you’re with Him right now...Wish that I met you in this life time... But I’m sure I will meet you in the next. 

A tap in the back,(YFC greeting)a hug and a salute to you Ray. YFC till the END!
 Rest in peace brother.

Kuya Joseph

Tito Cwazy

Tears are beginning to well in my eyes as I write this letter but I want to share this now, now that the emotions are still pure and strong.

The fact that something is intangible does not make it less true- even if its existence is defined by manifestations rather than an actual state of matter. I have no words for how much my family defines me. No words for something the eyes can't see. Tricky.

Fortunately, my brother is brave enough to put some words together. It is with great love, and somehow vulnerability to bare a side of the Altamiras, that I share with you Kuya Arnold's blog-- 

Muf to us and Mack to our nephews (ang layoooo ng nicknames!), Kuya Arnold is the writer in the family. He singlehandedly made me want to write too. His wit does not just show in his writing but is something pretty spontaneous too when you get to talk to him. Having no kids after 6 years of marriage, he intends to chronicle how much kick he gets out of co-raising our mushrooming army of nephews and nieces. Little does he know he speaks on behalf of the bunch. 

There's just one entry for now as the blog debuted just today. Nevertheless, I think it's worth 2 minutes of your time. :)

I often make cross-references to my family when it comes to subjects on love, happiness and strength. More and more I know why. 

Love with a love that can only spring from a loving place,

Note: This was an actual letter I sent to some of my friends. I just feel the blog is too good not to share with more people so I'm also sharing it to you now. :) 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Tooth Fairy

Upon knowing about the bounty that awaits in exchange for a milk tooth, the 6-year-old nephew barely had any sleep waiting for the Tooth Fairy to come for his first incisor casualty.

As any child would need to sleep at some point, he drifted to dreamland and to his delight, found a candy bar tucked under his pillow the next day.

I am that 6-year-old kid today. Giddy, enthusiastic and hopeful. I always find birthdays a treat and barely manage to wait for it. I turn 29 today and I’m holding my breath for what lies ahead.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Treason to My Generation

Two of my friends posted this link on Facebook, figured it's worth reading.

While the author raised salient points that I feel aptly describes the world today, I have just one argument:

It is remiss not to give due credit to HARD WORK. 

Our parents did not stick to one job for the lack of options or because "the world has not opened up quite as easily" as it has now. They did because they value an age-old formula for success which, I argue, would still hold true generations after everything has been made so convenient/connected. They did because hard work-- or sticking it out patiently with one thing, knowing you get what you give-- is the best way to go.

I for one, will not make apologies for the conveniences of the modern world. They are for us to exploit. But I will also concede to the fact that those who took the back-breaking road have reaped wisdom no shortcuts, no technology, no sense of self-entitlement can ever teach.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The heart never sleeps, it just dreams

Ang galing lang. I believe-

Your dreams yesterday are still your dreams today. Some details may now seem irrelevant, or you may want different things altogether. Of course! We grow! But when you dig into the core of things, the motivation and guiding maxim in their most honest form are still the same.

We remain faithful to the dreams of our young hearts.
So here's to dreaming, wanting new things, and getting them exactly. :)