I don’t like people that butt in line. Regular readers of “Philippines Plus” might recall past rants involving my issues with Filipinos, well-known for “Filipino Time,” who are nonetheless in a hurry and push ahead of others in a queue. I’ve been living in the Philippines for close to six years now, and while the vast majority of Pinoys and Pinays are polite, respectful and friendly, there are those that believe it is alright to practice “line jumping.” So when a middle-aged Filipina butted in front of two senior ladies the other day at Robinsons Supermarket Package Counter, this incident sparked the “Americanization” of the two Lola’s (Grandmothers.)
No, first of all, no offense is meant by calling seniors in the Philippines, Lola or Lolo (Grandfather.) It is a term of endearment and respect such as using “Ate,” older sister, or in Tagalog, “po,” a sign of respect for both genders.
My asawa and I had spent a sweltering hot day in nearby Iloilo City buying new floor tiles and soffits for our new home that we are having built in Guimaras, the island province we call home.
A look at our new home in the Philippines
We met the lead man for our ceiling installation, Elly, at A. M. Builder’s Depot, located at Lopez Jaena corner West Avenue, Tanza in Iloilo City. My asawa had told our installer we would meet him at 10 or 10:30 am. I suppressed a smug smile when I heard of the meeting time. I’ve been married to my lovely Filipina spouse for over 15 years now and knew that Bruce Jenner had a better chance of getting a date with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson than of us being at the meeting by ten.
At 11 am we rolled off the jeepney and bolted across the heavy Iloilo traffic where Elly too, was just now headed for the front door. We were delayed by a side trip first to SM Delgado.
My asawa and our lead installer huddled with the employee responsible for soffits. There was a brief discussion. My wife turns to me, fat butt perched on a heavy duty plastic bench in front of a huge, industrial fan, and asked:
“Dear, how much material do we need? 100 meters?”
“How the hell do I know?” I replied in amazement. “I thought that’s why we brought Elly along. He didn’t measure what we needed beforehand?”
My wife wisely decides to call “Boy” our foreman on sight and ask him. At least Boy, whose crew will be doing the installation of the floor tiles, had the foresight to measure each of our rooms separately and provided us with a detailed list of what size tile and how many would be needed for each room.
About 15 minutes later our foreman sent a text message to my spouse. 93 meters would be needed. At least the 100 meter estimate wasn’t far off. But A.M. Builder’s didn’t have that much material for the soffits in stock; we would have to wait until 1:30 pm until their supplier came in and let them know how much local stock was available.
So we sent Elly on his way and began the process of ordering our floor tiles. Our tiles would be delivered next week in Guimaras but 100 containers of needed adhesive tile were not in stock and would arrive in three days, in time for the tile shipment.
It was only noon, so upon my wife’s suggestion we decided to go to Robinsons for lunch. After being told by one jeepney operator that they did not make a stop at Robinsons, an older Filipino gentleman at the rear of a jeepeney loaded with supplies from A.M., told us to hop on and that the driver would drop us off at the popular mall.
We thanked the man for the ride and he asked what nationality I was.
“American, “ I answered. “Illinois, near Chicago, where Michael Jordan played with the Bulls.” (We actually lived in Central Illinois, about 3 1/2 hours from The Windy City but many Filipinos love basketball and understand the Jordan reference.)
Robinsons Mall was busier than free Egg McMuffin Day at McDonald’s. All the eateries were busy but after a trip to the CR, Comfort Room, Pizza Hut had cleared a few tables so we had our lunch there
(By the way, Pizza Hut, has a new lunch feast menu and for 299 pesos, two people, including me, can be well fed. I’m thrilled that they are now allowing substitutions for each menu item. We substituted a bacon cheeseburger regular pizza for a Hawaiian Pineapple Pizza, and this particular feast came with two orders of American french fries and two orders of mushroom soup. My asawa couldn’t eat all of her fries, and I, happily, polished them off for her.)
Yeah, even our local Mormon guys love to chow down on pizza
After lunch and some shopping, it was now 2 pm. Still no word from the supplier at A.M. Builder’s so we decided to go home and check on the soffits later. My wife stopped by the Dunkin’ Donut stand to pick up some treats for home and I went to the Package Counter at the supermarket to claim our three bags from SM Delgado that we had deposited.
There was a long line at the Package Counter. Anyone that has ever been at Robinsons Package Counter in the afternoon, will know that the longer the day wears on, the longer the package counter line will usually be.
The two senior citizens noted at the beginning of this post were just ahead of me, waiting to plunk down their plastic claim ticket number so the two young Filipinos scurrying behind the counter could retrieve their packages. As we were waiting, a Filipino lady edged of front of them and slapped her ticket on the counter and her package was promptly given to her.
I said nothing to the woman who had butted in line. I was hot, tired and just wanted to get home. But I did remark to the two Lola’s:
“You Filipinos are much more patient than I am. You let that woman jump in front of you in line and you said nothing. I’m afraid I would have said something to her if it was me.”
The two polite ladies nodded but said nothing.
By this time, the ladies had dropped their claim tickets on the counter and the young men behind the counter were searching for their packages.
Suddenly, a middle-aged Pinay jumped in front of the seniors, and tried to drop her claim ticket.
The Lola’s pointed to the back of the line.
“The line start there.” they informed the line jumper.
The woman looked shocked but sheepishly went back to the end of the line.
I gave both Lola’s a high five!
“Good for you!” I exclaimed to them.
I then plunked down my claim ticket and collected my packages. Just another day in paradise.