June 1, 2017
Ambushed by SM Seaside
Location: Antuwanga, Cebu City, Philippines
GPS waypoint: 10°16'54.6"N 123°52'53.8"E
Malls are Not Equal
I thought that malls are essentially the same. But my recent experience at SM Seaside made me realize that there is no sewer these guys won't crawl into to trick you out of your last money.
P25 shuttle fee to go to SM Seaside
Having experienced the free shuttle service by Robinsons to their malls from varied locations across the city, I thought the SM City to SM Seaside shuttle was also free - wrong! I had to pay P25 cash, one-way. I was already in SM City when I realized this, so I went along with it. That's not the worst part.
I walked around SM Seaside, but by the time I was about to head back using the same shuttle service, I was told that I could no longer pay cash! I now have to buy the P200 card with only P100 load! Huaaaaat? Why didn't they tell us that at SM City when we were paying for our one-way shuttle fee? From SM Seaside, there were no public buses or public jeeps. The only option out was a cab - which would be more expensive. At that point, I realized I was deliberately and methodically painted into a corner by the clever guys at SM who wouldn't let me leave their mall without getting more money from me - by hook or by crook!
It's not just a matter of getting P200 from me or anyone else who fell into the trap. It's about making you come back no matter how grudgingly. With your card and the P100 load, when you come off the shuttle, you'll still end up with a P75 credit on the card. Even if you hate SM for that duplicitous act, you'll still come back to use-up the credit balance! And what if you already used-up your load? You'll realize that you paid P100 for the card itself. Would you let it go to waste? Probably not. So now, you'll make the most out of it by adding more load, making you come back to SM Seaside where you will have to spend more. Clever, no? And yes, disgusting and infuriating!
Yes, these SM guys think they are clever and have outsmarted everyone else. But are they really clever or short-sighted marketers fueled by greed? With what happened, I would never go back to SM Seaside or any SM mall for that matter. Why? Because I cannot trust them anymore. Because with whatever they offer, no matter how glossy, I will be suspicious. I will ask myself where the booby-trap lies or at what point do I fall into their deceptive trap-door. In the same manner I will not work for or work with anyone I cannot trust, I also will not shop in a mall that has proven to be untrust-worthy. SM gained loose change with their trickery but lost it big time and in a very fundamenetal way - loss of trust! Let's not even mention they breed shopper contempt. This mall has 1st-world infrastructure with 3rd-world thinking.
There was no way in hell I would be coerced into buying that shuttle card. After looking at all possibilities, I learned that there are single motorcycles (habal-habal) who take passengers into the town of Mambaling or just to the nearest main intersection for public jeeps at P20. I took that. And that's the last time I'll be going to any SM mall.
This is no lip-service to Robinsons Galeria, but these guys offer no-strings value to their customer base - free shuttle service between branches and from main points across the city. They offer a Travelers Lounge for free shower, free luggage storage and free wifi. In short, they build their customer base by developing goodwill and earning their trust. You would think this is just common sense - apparently not to SM. I am sure that when Henry Sy built Shoemart of Escolta back in the day, he also had customer goodwill in mind. Somehow, along the road to getting big, those values were abandoned for greed.
Cebu City, Philippines
More Information about Cebu City
Cebu City to Camotes Island
- via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
Camotes Islands to Cebu City
- Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
- Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City
Cebu City to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental by Boat
- George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
- Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0918.898.2188
- Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Cebu City to Dumaguete via Liloan
- Cebu City South Terminal - take the southbound Ceres bus to Liloan, P200, 5 hours
- Liloan - the bus drops you off at the Liloan Port where you board the Fastcraft to Sibulan, Negros Oriental, P62, 30 mins
- Sibulan - at the Sibulan Port, the jeeps wait for Fastcraft passengers to take them to the public market in Dumaguete, P12, 30 mins.
- Public Market - at the market, you can take any tricycle to your hotel, P8 for short trips
Cebu City to Tagbilaran, Bohol
- Weesam Express - Pier 4, departs 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 2 hours
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - Pier 1, departs 6-7-8-9:20-10:40-11:40AM, 1-2-4:20-6:35PM, 2 hours
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63 932 8734 885 / +63 922 8572 300
- SuperCat (2GO) - Pier 1, departs 08:15-13:30-15:10-18:00-19:40
+63 32 233 7000
- Lite Ferries - Pier 1, departs daily 12:30pm, 10:00pm and 1:00pm (Mon, Wed, Sat)
Standard (Lying) Php 150, Tourist (Lying Aircon) Php 340
+63 977.822.5483 / +63 998.999.5483 / +63 925.347.5483 / (032)255-1721 to 26 / (032)414-9001 to 03
email@example.com / www.liteferries.com
Suggested Destinations in Cebu
- Camotes Islands - caves, beaches
- Cebu City - rich in culture and history, 2nd largest city in the Philippines
- Moalboal - amazing coral reef system, sardine bowl, deep drop-off for freediving
- Oslob - Butanding (whale shark) watching
- Bantayan Island - long stretch of fine white sand beach, Virgin Island for snorkeling
- Malapascua Island - divers' paradise for seeing the rare Thresher Shark
- Cantabaco Cave - Toledo
- Barile Waterfalls - Barile
- Whale Shark Tour - Oslob
- Carcar - chicharon and lechon in public market
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