Seemingly simple tasks

Before I continue, I’ll point out that I realise these are distinctly First World problems.  But having spent the last 14 years, or so, in a First World country, I have been conditioned to think in a First World kind of way.We set out to do 3 main tasks on Sunday morning:

1) Buy tickets to watch The Killers live in Manila
2) Find a copy of Swim Philippines
3) Do the weekly shop

The first 2 tasks took us close to 2 hours.  2 hours?!  Both should have been possible within about half an hour based on the location of the venues where we needed to complete the tasks.

To get The Killers tickets, I knew we needed to head to SM Makati.  The walk, from our apartment, to SM Makati takes us through 2 malls: Greenbelt & Glorietta.  Within Glorietta there are a number of sports shops.  Mr H had it on good authority that at least one of these sports shops (Planet Sports) would stock the free Swim Philippines magazine.  So we headed there first.

Mr H’s enquiry was met with a blank stare.  We know that the magazine is stocked in this store, as we’ve picked one up there before.  Next stop was a running store, Athlete’s Foot.  This time, it was suggested we head to the Speedo store.

Speedo, for those of you who are not familiar with the brand, makes swim wear and related kit.  It’s all about swimming.  Mr H’s enquiry again was met with a blank stare.  Sense of humour failure was starting to set in.

We ventured to another store, Toby Sports.  At this point Mr H had decided to use my phone to bring up the Swim Philippines Facebook page to avoid any confusion due to potential misunderstandings in Brummy English vs. Filipino English.  We were directed to another store, Toby’s Arena.

I should point out that Glorietta is a big, sprawling shopping mall set over at least 3 floors.

As soon as we walked into Toby’s Arena we had 2 shop assistants half a metre behind us, following us to the checkout.  But they also just looked blankly at us when we asked.  The person behind the checkout went to enquire in the back room whether there were any magazines (we *think* they knew what we were talking about), only to find that they don’t have any.  And they didn’t know when they would get any copies.

We ended our search there.  Unfulfilled.

Our next task would surely be easier.  I’d read that you could buy The Killers tickets from SM ticket outlets, and I knew there was a ticket outlet in SM Makati.  We found the ticket outlet, and it was all going well.  We were shown a venue layout, shown the different prices, shown that tickets were available… we made our decision and I brought out my Smart Money Mastercard to pay.

“Oh, sorry ma’am, but you can’t pay with a Megalink Mastercard, you can only pay with a credit card.”


So we went in search of an ATM.  The first one we found kept refusing our transactions (with multiple cards).  It must have run out of money.  The second one spat out some cash.  In fact it spat out a lot of cash.  5000 Pesos in 100 Peso notes!!  We were finally able to purchase our tickets.

2 tasks done.  At least 2 hours down.

And we still had the nightmare of the weekly shop.  Which is rarely weekly, because we both hate doing it so much.  It wasn’t such a nightmare, about an hour later we were home eating salami sandwiches on great French bread.  Epic over.

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