Thursday, October 27, 2011

4th NU 6 What Pisses you Off at the Mall by RBF

What Pisses Me Off at the Mall?

Just last weekend, I visited the biggest mall in the Philippines, the SM Mall of Asia to meet with college friends. I've been there a lot of times but until now I still do not memorize where the stores are located and what stores are there. I am still confused with the directions. And so my husband and I just walked until we saw the mall directory as shown below:

The mall directory for me is not so user friendly and perhaps a lot of people get confused with it and are impatient to understand it so the mall management decided to assign a person to teach people how to use the directory and show them how to get to their location.

With the many times that I have visited MOA to meet with friends, it would take us at least 5 exchanges of text messages and about 30 minutes before we can finally see each other. Our messages would always include the question "how can we get there?"  And because no one wanted to wait for very long, we would always end up accidentally meeting in the hallway.  So what can the mall do to ease this inconvenience?

A program or a system just like the GPS or the Global Positioning System can be created to help people know their exact location in the mall. Of course providing a free software for phones with GPS capability would be good but it would be expensive for the mall to create such and for now only the rich people who can afford such phones can use it. But probably in the future, these phones will become cheap. (I'm just biased because I still do not possess such phone. hehe)

So another cheaper option but is surely very useful is to change the current mall directory with an LED touch screen where you can see the map of the whole mall. Icons can be clickable to see other screens that would show important details such as list of stores that are categorized accordingly. This list can be clickable and would show details of the stores, what to find, and pictures of it, etc. There should also be a search engine where you can just key in where you want to go then when you click enter you will see an arrow that will direct you the easiest way to go from where you are standing to your intended destination. With this you don't need to use GPS application because the LED screen is fixed. All the mall needs is the simple program. I saw a lot of LED screens in the mall especially in the movie area so I guess they can provide enough number of LED directories in appropriate areas. Since this is user friendly, they don't need to assign people to the mall directories.

Another thing that makes me impatient at the mall is finding the grocery items, and the traffic and long lines in the grocery store especially after office hours, during weekends and most especially during pay days and mall sales.

How I wish I can just leave my grocery list to a saleslady, get a number or a gadget that will light up when my grocery is ready and when I'm ready to pick it up, I'll just pay at the counter then get my groceries. While waiting for my grocery, I can have more time to do other things in the mall such as playing with my son in the kiddie area or dine with my husband in a restaurant or go to facial spa.

Or maybe when you go home from the office, you can just order and pay online for grocery items, indicate the time to pick it up and then on your way home you can just pick it up through a "drive thru" window or door. You don't need to park and enter the mall or the grocery store so it saves you time.

Speaking of malls, the real thing that pisses me off is how SM malls slowly kill the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). I heard a lot of common complaints from MSMEs who supplies the grocery and department stores of SM. They said they are not able to earn profit by selling in the malls because their factory price is being slashed by 15% on top of the big mark up that the mall adds to the product price. What really kills these MSMEs are the additional big fees or contributions that they are required to pay in every event of the malls such as mall sales, anniversary sales, opening of new mall outlets, etc. These MSMEs can barely make a profit with the pricing conditions of SM, what more if they had to pay all those big contributions. They can never break even.  There were also instances when the purchasing officer of SM declared that big volume of products were damaged so they did not pay the small company but did not return nor show the declared damaged items. I don't know if the SM management knows about these actions of their purchasing officers. This might encourage corruption among their employees.

I think it is about time that the SM management reviews their policies. They should at least check how much profit their suppliers make and base their contribution charges on the profit. SM should not only think of themselves but also their suppliers. This is true with all the other mall owners as well.

                Yes it is good that the malls provide employment opportunities, but don't they see that MSMEs also provide employment opportunities? If these MSMEs close down, a lot of people will become unemployed thus there will be lesser people who will go to malls.

Malls have big markets but if they continue to burden these MSMEs with all the unreasonable contributions, they will be of no help to the MSMEs. Mall owners should know that putting these MSMEs to the disadvantage will slowly kill them. We will just wake up one day and realize that all the products sold in malls are made in China.

Maybe the government, especially DTI can talk to the mall owners or create a program that would give incentives such as no additional contributions or unnecessary charges to local manufacturers especially MSMEs when supplying to the malls. Or maybe DTI can also regulate the additional fees that malls charge the tenants or the suppliers. They can also require malls to sell local products and ensure that they don't sell smuggled goods because I heard there are a lot of smuggled goods being sold at the malls.3.5