A door greeter is someone who welcomes visitors and customers as they arrive at a restaurant, retail store, or other businesses. The greeter may also bid people farewell as they exit the premises.
Their job frequently calls them to provide answers to questions regarding store hours, merchandise location, and the like. But most of all they are supposed to make the customer feel welcome upon entering the store.
In Manila, we don’t really have greeters. We have security guards.
At S&R there are greeters and security guards, but their main purpose is to check your bag and your membership card.
Last week I was in Quezon City to take my son to a vision and hearing test required for school.
After the exam he wanted french fries and ketchup, so we made a quick drive through Jollibee.
I was still holding my pack of fries when I saw the sign Estrel’s from the car.
I had never seen the Estrel’s mothership, and the sign that said “Since 1946” made me very excited.
I told the driver to make a U-turn.
Estrel’s is a caramel cake I’ve come to know through dinner parties at home. Grace, who lives in QC, used to bring them until she had a bad experience after many years.
Estrel’s are the prettiest, daintiest cakes you’ll ever see. But I might add, they are prettier than they taste.
I think I like them more because they remind me of my grandmother’s simple, homemade cakes, God bless her.
The thing with Estrel’s is you can’t just walk in, buy a cake and walk out.
There are rules: You have to order three days in advance, you have to pay a deposit. The rules are listed here.
That sounds fine to me, a would-be customer. What I didn’t appreciate was how the security guard greeted me.
It wasn’t a hi, hello, or good afternoon. Instead he said, “Anong sadya niyo?”
“What?” I said, clutching my bag and fries.
“May pi-pickup-in ba kayo?”
“Bawal yan dito,” he was eyeing my fries.
“Ganon? Hindi ko naman kakainin dito.”
I really didn’t want to throw the fries or walk away. I just wanted to see the store.
Normally you’re not allowed to eat in the supermarket or a clothing store for obvious reasons. But a cake shop that doesn’t even sell cakes to go??
I ignored the guard and pushed the door open. Once inside I saw the strangest cake shop scene of people behind desks taking orders from customers seated in front. No pretty cakes on display. Just desks, people, and papers.
Nobody greeted me. Nobody said, hi, may I help you? Nobody looked up and smiled. It had the warmth of a gestapo office.
So I left. On the way out I got myself a leaflet but not without telling the guard how I felt:
“Anong bang tinitinda niyo diyan? Ginto??”
I couldn’t believe what serious business it was to order an Estrel’s cake. No wonder Grace stopped bringing them.
I was so upset I started tweeting in the car.
Since presscons are all the rage in Manila (what with Kris Aquino and her sisters and Heart Evangelista’s parents), someone suggested I call a press conference to talk about Estrel’s.
Of course that sort of thing wouldn’t happen in real life, so I asked my sister Ana to draw me and my sisters in a presscon.
“Inapi ako ng guard sa Estrel’s! Huhuhuhu….”
My sister Diday is in the middle, my sister Ana, the artist is at right.
Makes you wonder how a place like Estrel’s has lasted since 1946 with this kind of service.