This is the main supermarket at Tagaytay township. The staff weren’t happy about me taking photos, and allowed just one image. But you can clearly see this is not a particularly large place. It’s about the same size as our local supermarket in Auckland. That’s where the similarities end.
This place has three armed guards on the doors and enough staff to run Buckingham Palace. When we visited today, it was absolute mayhem. Staff seemed to outnumber customers by three to one. Count them yourself. They’re the ones in red shirts. If you look closely in this photo, you can spot about 15. They’re all busy, frantically stocking shelves, serving customers and assisting the shoppers.
The staffing numbers are unbelievable. A manager told me there were about 100 on duty today. Their total workforce is around 350! For one supermarket! Compare that with your local Countdown in New Zealand – staffed by about 5, including zero staff to assist in the aisles.
With so many people running around, shopping at these places can become quite draining. When it all became too much, I decided to wander around the corner and get myself a haircut.
Now this random choice turned out to be a place for real haircuts. The kind you see in 1950’s movies. Attention to detail. Cut throat razors. A manly massage. Did I say massage? More on that later.
Language issues meant my Filipino barber and I didn’t exchange a lot of conversation. But this lad was a master with scissors and razor. His precision with the hand tools was remarkable. He approached the job like a surgeon.
The session lasted an hour and included a surprise head, shoulder and back rub to prepare me for the chaos outside. It was a masterful presentation and an impressive result. The cost? About NZ$4.00.
This man needs to get to Ponsonby. Fast.