Caveat Emptor

I tried buying coffee when groggy.  The clerks responded like sharks. I ordered Cafe Americano, short. for P 70. Gave 100 P note to girl and she walks away.   Guy comes over and says Ok, that’s a cappicino (P 80). Nope I say, Cafe Americano.  Ok, that will be P80. Nope  say, a short is P 70. OK. That will be 70, then waits expectantly. My 100 P note is on the register shelf where the first clerk left it.

One coffee place almost always quotes the price for the next size larger than what I order. I’ve never let the process go far enough to see which size would be delivered. Fast food companies for years have tried to upsell by asking if that is a large drink or do you want fries for that. Some of the coffee places here that are frequented by americans don’t bother with the upsell, they just charge you for the larger size.

Ordering Cafe Americano? Watch that the clerk doesn’t just pour a cup of brewed.

Want your order to be a modification of an item on their menu, such as a cafe mocha with half the usual amount of chocolate? Good luck.


Most foreigners don’t ride. Driver may assume you don’t know what the fare is, e.g., pass forward a 10 peso coin and never get back the 3 or 3.5 pesos. Driver always gives the 3 pesos change when asked in these situations. I usually wait a while as he may be short on change and waiting for some one peso coins so he can make change. Usually one can see the coin container on the dash and see what his change situation is like. It’s only 3 Pesos (6 cents), but I figure every time one of them succeeds in ripping off a foreigner it just encourages them.

One way to look at another culture’s features is to see it as a puzzle to be understood, not as a problem to be fixed. Just because I try to understand it doesn’t mean I’m going to let it happen to me.

Oh, watch out for the coins handed back as change in a Jeepney.  They’ve probably been sitting on the dashboard and can be HOT!


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