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Man Verses Machine

As much as I enjoy living in the Philippines there is something that keeps reminding me of the difference between here and back in America.

In America and I would think most developed countries modern machines and technology has replaced a lot of manual labor.

Because of the overpopulation here and the minimum wage you see more people doing jobs that can be done faster with machinery.

One example is where we live. Down the street there are 2 houses adding additions to their homes. Instead of using a cement mixer to mix the mortar for the hollow block construction 2 or 3 men pile their sand and concrete in a pile, mix it well, then after pushing a depression in the center, they add water and mix with a shovel.

When they were installing the storm drain system, they also mixed the cement by hand to seal and attach each section of covert pipe.

You see another example shopping at the malls. Each department has sales people. Even though each item is tagged with the price, a salesperson has to write a receipt. Then you have to go to the register for that department. You cannot pick up something in the men’s department and then go to the ladies department to get something there.

As the register counter there is one person who checks the receipt with the tag then passes it to a person at the register. If you are using a credit card a third person has to write down the card number and transaction amount, go to a credit card machine to run the card and then bring the printout to the person at the register. After your transaction is complete the receipt and the merchandise is past to a final person to again check the tags to the receipt and then puts it in a bag. The bag is then sealed with a heat seal and the receipt is taped to the bag.

I guess this is a way to employ more people and save money on equipment. It is just one of those differences where you want to say “it is different where I come from” but we are not there anymore, we are here.

As time goes on, I know I will be more accustomed to things here, but if I get too accustomed what will I write about.

5 Responses to “Man Verses Machine”

  1. brspiritus says:

    You know at first it really freaked me out, the level of service in the stores. In the USA we’re used to retail chains cutting staff to save money so it’s a “Self Shop” experience unless you go to the high end retailers. Here though you have salespeople follwing you around and even willing to hold your handbasket while you shop… who knew you could get the Neiman Marcus experience at Victoria Mall for Wal-Mart prices.

  2. Bruce says:

    Thanks for the comment. Yes it is true that the sales personel are more plentyful and helpful.
    The point of my article was the use of manpower over technology. In the malls it is nice to have so many people to help you, but as you have seen during the Christmas rush, the backup at the registers is so long.

  3. Marvin says:

    Hi Bruce,
    I know this is an old post but I had to comment. I think the number of staff working the floors is more for security than service. Also if they help you they want to sign off on the receipt before you take it to the register so they get a small sales commission. I used my credit card once for a washing machine in Manila and started getting billed for books from a store in Europe.

    • Bruce says:

      I really do not think sales people in the malls get commission. They get basic daily wages and a six month contract.
      With the fraud, it happens all over the world. That is why there is credit card security and protection.

      • Marvin says:

        Bruce I beg to differ. Any person who helps you pick out a shirt and you decide to buy it, she or he will make sure it gets to the cashier with their mark on it. I don’t know what they get in return at the end of the day, week, or month but it’s something. And yes, most are temps…in the big stores, malls. But ya your right, in like a kitchenwares, or Ace hardware they don’t.

        Ya the credit card concern is for folks reading your blog. Don’t let it out of your site and ask for any copies they wrote down. My bank covered all the fraud but I think its better to use an ATM and then pay with cash. Most all merchants here charge (my experience only in Manila) a percentage more if you want it put on the card.

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