Friday, March 30, 2012

Poor Customer Service at Guardian 1 Utama

I usually go to Guardian Pharmacy to buy fish oil and multivitamins because they offer discounts when you buy them in packs. These supplements are beneficial to my health and wellness because with the strict high-protein diet I am currently at, I do not get enough micronutrients from chicken meat. Also I have been missing out the fatty fish from salmon and tuna because I have not been to the wet market recently.

Earlier, Guardian showcased their Make Over booth at the old wing of 1 Utama mall. Though it was already 8:40 PM, I went to the booth to check out. One thing that caught my attention was the big pack of fish oil. I was already running out of these so I decided to take a look at the price. From the normal 130++, they dropped it to 100++ RM. The sales lady was aggressive enough to upsell the multivitamins pack. I always buy Blackmores because they're cheap, reliable and have gained good response online.

I didn't have enough cash and I didn't load enough money on my MY debit card. So I used my Citibank Card which was issued from the Philippines. Whenever I buy from the same store (not from the same branch) they used to swipe the card easily and ask for my CVV for the transaction to be valid. Noted that all credit cards and bank cards issued by Philippine banks do not have a 32 or 62-bit chips not like here.  I was hoping that they could use the magnetic strip of the back of the card and do the same process, but they didn't.

Ok, considering they have modified their policies in such instances, I agreed to have my card verified. The store manager-in-charge said that they will call the bank even after I mentioned that my card was issued from the Philippines and can accept foreign transactions. (Hello, I have been here for more than a year and I have swiped it a lot of time, I mean a lot!)

The cashier rushed to the nearby Guardian outlet. I didn't consider the fact that my card can be replicated but since it is a Guardian employee, I had my trust. Enduring more than 15 minutes of waiting, I was looking at my clock, I was already late for work. When the cashier arrived, she spoke in Malay to the store manager-on-duty and she, the store manager, proceeded with the usual-cashier-work-serving-other-customers while I was waiting for an answer. It was only when the Blacksmores sales lady offered help and talked to the store manager. It was, then, I found out that the 172.90 RM transaction was declined. Out of her frustration, she threw my card away from her.

Now, when I called the bank, I had to perform additional actions by making an international call because my card was blocked for apparent reason. So, I do not know how many times they tried swiping the card with an invalid CVV2, but it was the most recent failed transaction I have done on a couple of hours.


  1. The store manager could have provided and ETA considering that the retail store is a few minutes walk from the booth. Operations Research have discussed that queueing time and waiting time greatly affects customer experience.

  2. For security purposes, the cashier should have not just walked away with my card on her. They did not invite me to go with her. It was my fault partly because I didn't run after her. She was already a few feet away.

  3. The store manager should not be doing the cashier alone. Neither leaving the cashier place with one person attending a number of customers. When they setup a booth, it was already given that additional manpower should have been allocated considering that they have to run another retail store. The booth attracts more customers and, this in fact, require more people to serve the customers.

  4. Cashiers should be oriented how to properly process credit card transactions, whether it was locally or internationally issued.

  5. That annoying attitude from the manager, driven by the pressure from the cashier queue and I, patiently waiting beside the cashier stall. She should have given at least decent empathic statements which could have lifted my spirits up. But no, in fact, she threw away my credit card because she lost a sale.

It was only a good thing that the Blacksmores sales lady kept my composure throughout. She had a decent utter like she was putting herself on my shoes in spite of the inconvenience. She is one of the best reasons why the service industry progresses. She should be given a commendation. Too bad, I didn't get her name.

Working in a service-related industry for years have driven me to write this lengthy rant. May it reach to the related incidents so we can have some continuous improvement especially when dealing with customers on the spot.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Alexander Ludwig: Team Cato

It has been a quite some time when I went to the cinema to watch a good movie. As much as a lot of people are watching The Hunger Games, last weekend, I went to watch a movie with Alex. I did not read any of the synopsis hoping the movie is good. It is actually, in a sense, if you did not know about Battle Royale.

Anyway, this post is not about writing the movie review on what I watched last Sunday but an eyecandy from the movie. Alexander Ludwig, a typical Disney produced talent. I dug some photos of him. Do not expect soft porn because his image is child-friendly. But since he has matured, he has decided to take off his shirt, for now.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gelo and Dyllan

Did I say how much I miss taking portraits? I remember that day when I wanted to test the Nikkor 50mm 1.8f prime lens two years ago and Clarice wanted photos to be distributed of her sons during Christmas. I just cannot remember if I have given her the post-processed images with the watermark on it.

These were taken at Loyola Cemetery (yes, so don't complain). It was nearing sunset which is a perfect time in taking outdoors because the sun is nearly parallel to the subjects and to the lens' view. Most of the shots were taken by aperture priority stuck between 1.8 to 2.8f.

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Brand Spanking New at T.G.I. Friday's

Last March 15, T.G.I. Friday's invited me to taste their new line of dishes which is mainly based on Tennessee cuisine. Alex and I went to Menara Hap Seng along Jalan P. Ramlee to witness the event. I have always been a fan of their classic and sumptuous ribs so I was actually excited to see that they are launching new dishes.

[caption id="attachment_5511" align="aligncenter" width="560" caption="TGI Friday's Hap Seng"]TGI Friday's Brand Spanking New[/caption]

A few bloggers and some people from the local media were there to meet and be introduced to each other. After a few discussions, the meals were served and everyone shared and gave their thoughts. Personally, I like the BBQ, not just that the food profile is familiar to my liking , but it has this distinct sweet marinade which you will never find in other BBQ sauce. Also, the lamb meat from Osso Bucco is one of my bets. It is very moist and tender that I almost forgot that I had my orthodontic braces adjusted a few days back.

[caption id="attachment_5507" align="aligncenter" width="560" caption="Interior"]TGI Friday's Brand Spanking New[/caption]

It is recognizable that most of the dishes are for not just for one serving, which is actually a good part. Dining has never been fun with yourself, so always make sure to tag along some friends or someone with you. Listed below are the nine new dishes, which I am sure, you will enjoy when you visit any Friday's outlet nearby.

  1. Osso Bucco
    Fall-of-the-bone tender lamb shank slow roasted with roasted vegetables and plum tomato sauce served over Cheddar Cheese mashed potatoes. RM 36.90

  2. Championship BBQ Chicken
    Roasted half chicken grilled to perfection an topped with Championship BBQ sauce. Served with crispy onion rings and Cheddar cheese mashed potatoes. RM 28.90

  3. Caribbean Wings
    Fire-grilled Caribbean-seasoned chicken wings glazed with an intense Tropical Spiced Sauce. RM 16.90

  4. California Club Sandwich
    Mesquite smoked turkey breast, crispy beef bacon, turkey ham and Monterey Jack cheese on toasted ciabatta bread with tomatoes, shredded ROmaine lettuce, guacamole and mayonnaise. RM 24.90

  5. Cobb Salad
    Diced, grilled chicken breast, crisp bacon, avocado, Cheddar cheese, hardboiled egg, black olives, tomatoes and crumbled Bleu cheese atop a bowl of fresh salad greens. Served with your choice of dressing, Ranch, Honey Mustard, Bleu Cheese, Low Fat Cilantro Lime, Caesar, Oilive Oil & Vinegar. RM 28.90

  6. Garlic Spaghetti Vegetali
    Spaghetti gently tossed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh broccoli, tomatoes, radicchio, arugula, garlic, basil, Parmesan cheese and garnished with a crispy basil leaf. RM 19.90. Add chicken at RM 5.00

  7. Bistro Shrimp & Asparagus Pasta
    Sauteed shrump summered with lemon sauce and garlic, tomato, asparagus and basil tossed with spaghetti and Parmesa cheese. RM 29.90

  8. Grilled Snapper with tomato cucumber Vinaigrette
    Chargrilled snapper filet topped with fresh flavorful tomato-cucumber and basil vinaigrette. Served over savory rice with steamed broccoli. RM 32.90

  9. Chocolate Cinnamon Crisps
    Crispy wonton squares with melted chocolate in the center and cinnamon dusted on top. WIth butterscotch topping and vanilla ice cream. Served with fresh strawberries. RM 12.90

[caption id="attachment_5512" align="aligncenter" width="560" caption="TGI Friday's Brand Spanking New"]TGI Friday's Brand Spanking New[/caption]

Along with the new dishes, they Friday's is also running a contest, "Brand Spanking New You". To participate, just enjoy your dine at any Friday's restaurant and fill out the contest coupon providing how would you rate your favorite lifestyle. Among these experiences include a trip to Universal Studios in Singapore, sky diving and flying lessons, a complete makeover package, being a DJ or pop star for a day, an all expense paid shopping trip, and many more!

Not to mention that I forgot to charge my speedlite batteries, for some good karma, after the lunch was served, they prepared another set of these meals outside so I took the advantage of taking shots of their new dishes using natural sunlight.

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1 First Avenue in HDR

With the new lens I recently purchased, I am more eager to take infrastructure and landscape photos. This was taken around 7:30 in the morning in Malaysia so the sun just recently rose up. Too bad there were no cute clouds forming above 1 First Avenue. This could have been better if I used the tripod with me.

[caption id="attachment_5493" align="aligncenter" width="560" caption="1 First Avenue on HDR"]Handheld HDR[/caption]

This was shot using a Nikon D90 with a Tokina 11-16 2.8f lens. It was on 2.8 aperture at 1/320 shutter speed and at 12mm focal length on DX format. Three shots were taken on handheld with -3/+3 exposure biased variance between bracketing. Minimal tonal exposure was adjusted after merging three photos.

4th Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2012

Since I missed the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Clark, Philippines early this year, I made sure that I will not miss the chance to take pictures of such gigantic balloons when they landed here in Malaysia. With such enthusiasm, my co-workers and I went straight from night shift work and some from their off to see these in person.

[caption id="attachment_5476" align="aligncenter" width="560" caption="Hot Air Balloons"]Hot Air Balloons Putrajaya[/caption]

It was disappointing that only few balloons were available for public ride and they are tied onto the ground. Ergo, the balloons can only fly a few feet above the ground. If they held the venue in a wider and more open space like in Clark Airfield, there would be more air flight shows, parades, family activities and such.

To my dismay, I just enjoyed the event considering it is a mini-team building event with friends at work.

[caption id="attachment_5474" align="aligncenter" width="560" caption="OSO at Putrajaya"]OSO at Putrajaya[/caption]

Below is a short video while walking from the field back to where we park.

[download_box]To view and download hi-res pictures, go to my Picasa photo depot.[/download_box]

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Animal Cruetly at its Best in the Philippines

The picture below has been circulating these past few days. A certain concerned citizen took shots of the incident while they are on the way to Baguio. Apparently, the owner left the space inside his car vacant while he put his dog tied inside a sack hanging outside the vehicle. I have a dog and this pierces my heart when I see such cruelty.

Animal Cruelty

Not to mention that euthanasia has to be done on stray animals around the city when noone claims them, but that is a different setting, talking about natural against common law. Nevertheless, from what I saw in the original post on Facebook, the dog was freed but they didn't have any idea what happened when the driver drove away after it has been reported to the nearby police station.

Calling upon the lawmakers, can we rectify and have Republic Act 8485 to impose a higher fine when suspects are convicted of animal cruelty? On section 8 of this act, this can be easily paid and no imprisonment is imposed.
Any person who violates any of the provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction by final judgment, be punished by imprisonment of not less than six (6) months nor more than two (2) years or a fine of not less than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) nor more than Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) or both at the discretion of the Court. If the violation is committed by a juridical person, the officer responsible therefor shall serve the imprisonment when imposed. If the violation is committed by an alien, he or she shall be immediately deported after service of sentence without any further proceedings.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Batu Caves on UWA

It was last Saturday that one of my fulfilling goals this year to acquire a new Tokina 11-16 2.8f happened. I went to Digital Mall with Sheena to purchase the lens. I got a pretty hefty discount from all of the upsells that were pitched by the salesman. Anyway, it has been almost two years since I got new accessories for my camera.

I have never imagined riding the KTM Komuter because of the horrible experience the last time I rode the train. I was very surprised that it was a smooth ride, though I rode from Subang Jaya all the way to Batu Caves station. It was like a horror ride when you start your journey from KL Sentral.

With the slim UV lens and with the CPL filter attached, I started shooting the scenery without the tripod using mid-closed f stops and fast shutter speeds as the sun was shining so bright that day. I couldn't get the perfect angle and maximize the effect of the CPL because the sun was always shining directly above my head and vignetting was an issue especially when using the farthest focal length, 11 mm, even on DX with a crop fact or 1.5 - which converts to 16 mm on full frame size. It was only around 5PM that I finally had the chance to take a good shot with the CPL effect on the final shot.

Below are my post-processed shots. Next time, I will deal with the sun with some GND filters.

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Jessie J Live in Malaysia at Sunway Lagoon Surf Beach

The British-born singer Jessie J took the world by storm with her hit song, ‘Price Tag’. This global star will be partying it out at the Surf Beach come March! Catch her concert as she shows off her looks, style and explosive talent that has gained her recognition as the ‘new face of pop’. It’s gonna be one amazing visual experiences of music and fashion right on the beach.

Jessie J

When & Where: 8.30pm, 16 March 2012 @Sunway Lagoon Surf Beach

Cover: Tune Talk Zone RM298 (Free Standing), Party Zone RM198 (Free Standing), Regular RM98 (Free Standing)

Info: please call 03 7880 7999 or log on to for more details.