04 March 2011

Act On IT!

This is a piece from a 'Japanese pie' I bought freshly baked (still hot from the oven!) at a popular local bakeshop yesterday afternoon. I bought this on the way home after spending a day of shopping with my sister Loyd. As soon as I changed into a more comfortable attire (shorts and tees) I joined Loyd to partake of the bread with coffee for our merienda (snacks). On my third bite into the bread I smell something acidic like those chemicals that the hair salon would apply to curl hairs. I did not imagine the smell to come from the bread and when I realized it, I was boiling mad! Loyd did not sense the acid smell (Loyd ate a whole slice!) until I asked her to smell the bread again. Suffice it to say that Loyd was just as angry!

I was tired and have no energy to act on it but I decided I must not allow this incident to happen without taking action. So I went to the bakeshop and hauled one of the mall's guard I invited to stand as witness and calmly made my investigation. The baker and his staff accommodated me in their baking area (it was clean) and checked the bread and agreed that the smell probably came from one of the ingredients used in the making of the bread which is delivered to them in measured quantity from the commissary. They assured me of its safety. I left my name and number and left a small piece of the bread for them to investigate (I asked them to sign a receipt copy) and went home.

At home I continued my investigation. I called BFAD (Bureau of Food and Drugs) and they told me they only investigate processed foods and they told me to have it tested at our local Sanitation laboratory. I was not aware we even have one! So I contacted one of our local officials and he referred me to our town's Sanitation unit. Voila, we do have one! But since it was already past 5 PM Friday (laboratories/government offices closes at 5PM and reopens on Monday!), I refused to delay the testing until Monday when the bread might go stale and affect laboratory findings. So I charmed my way and expressed my urgency to have it tested immediately. In sympathy and agreement, the staff (bless them for still working in the lab beyond office time!) referred me to the mobile phone number of the Sanitation inspector. I called him and he personally came to my house and inspected the bread and got a sample piece where he even took a small piece for a sample bite in front of me! He advised me to write a letter to our Municipal Health Officer where he will forward his findings.

Before the Sanitation Inspector arrived, the bakeshop supervisor also called me and expressed her concern at my complain. She assured me that their bakeshop adhere to the strict standards of safety and she was willing to present samples of their ingredients for testing. I relayed this information to the Sanitation officer and he promised to inspect the bakeshop.

All these events happened from 4 to 8 PM. Four hours. Everyone I talked to were kind and helpful maybe because I tried to be calm and expressed my concern in a gentle manner. In turn, everybody extended their helping hand over and beyond call of duty. People were sending me text messages for updates and referrals for testing, etc.

A small pie. A loyal customer. Local officials. Local business. All of these can crumble had I simply abandoned my loyalty to my favorite bakeshop because I was tired to act on my complain. Some of us do this and badmouth companies and businesses without giving them a chance to air their side. Local officials can also ignore texts on their mobile phone (yes, I texted my concern in urgency!) or simply not act on their constituents complains but the officials all responded to my call! And so did the business through their efficient staff.

A local community like mine works like this. And I am a part of it. If I want my community to thrive and be proactive and progressive and significant, so must I.

I chose ACTION yesterday. And I got one.

NOTE: This story will have a sequel next week when the laboratory findings are submitted and my concern is officially submitted (everything in writing and sent to proper agencies with proper/official receipt notice) and official action has been done. By that time too, I will acknowledge all the HEROES in my story and possibly give a photo-documentary of a happy ending! Watch for it!

Now for my late Thursday Two Questions:

1. Do you also find time to take action on your concerns?
2. How far will you go to resolve a simple concern like "a bread with a strange smell" incident?


1 comment:

JamericanSpice said...

Oh yea. I had two battles today in regards to my hard earned money.

One battle was over my card for SAMs club being charged more than once for renewal. I've done this battle the last time today I hope.

And another at Walmart for being charged for a product for the wrong price. Every time I shopped there I'd tell them about the problem and that has been 3 months now. So today was another battle and I refused to buy the product.

Long long story.

So Yes I've battled and I realize that I've grown. I never usually stand up for myself like this. Yes I've grown.

Good for you.

I can't wait to here the outcome!