Saturday, May 16, 2015

Be vigilant! Don't be a victim of unscrupulous trade practices.


Dr Abe V Rotor 

Wa-is, coming from the word wise, is the local parlance to describe a person who puts one over his fellowmen. It is taking advantage of others of their situation, ignorance or weaknesses (lamangan). Here are common cases.

Be sure you know what goes into your coffee. It may be adulterated with ipil-ipil seeds. Likewise, chocolate may contain road dust as filler. Papaya seeds mixed with black pepper is not uncommon. Peanut butter comes from broken and immature seeds; bagoong and patis from unsold fish at the end of the day.

1. Coffee is adulterated with ipil-ipil (Leucaena glauca) seeds. The seeds contain mimosin that retards growth and causes baldness.

2. Broken and inferior peanut is ground into peanut butter.  It is high in aflatoxin which causes cirrhosis and cancer.  Healthy nuts are sold whole peanut.  

3. It is the culled piglets (bansot) that are made into lechon. The robust ones are grown for meat.

4. Papaya seeds are mixed with black pepper. They look similar.

5. Inferior quality fruits such as strawberry, orange and mango are made into jam and puree.

6. Ordinary milkfish (bangos) is passed on as prized Bonoan bangus from Dagupan. The lower tail of Bonoan bangos is shorter than the other tail.

7. Unscrupulous traders add water and salt to bagoong and patis to increase their volume.

8.  Premium grade fruits are arranged on top of kaing (basket); inside are of inferior grade.  

9. Ordinary rice is mixed with premium rice, and passed on as premium grade.

10. Cabbage grown on the lowlands of Ilocos is brought up to Baguio and passed on as Baguio cabbage which commands a higher price.

11. Before a large animal like cow is sold to the auction market it is first bathed with patis to make its body to swell and appear fat.  This is a  malpractice observed in Padre Garcia, Batangas, the biggest animal auction market in the Philippines.

12. Tomatoes are forced to ripe when price is high,  This is done by uprooting the whole plant laden with fruits and hang it upside down until all the fruits, including the immature ones, are "ripe."

13. Immediately after the Chernobyl nuclear accident fallout-tainted milk found its way to the Philippines. The huge shipment was impounded pending investigation. When the investigation was over, to the surprise of not everyone, milk was gone. To the amazement of housewives - powdered milk  and polvoron became so suddenly cheap!   

14. Double dead is not a new term.  This is meat from already dead animals - poultry and livestock sold clandestinely. It is prevalent during foot-and-mouth epidemic for livestock, and corriza for poultry, usually in the summer months. 

15. Check expiration date, also date of manufacture. If there is none -  erased or altered - don't buy the commodity.  This is specially true with canned goods, bakery products, and other perishable products.  Check date of harvesting or slaughter for fresh items.  There may be frozen food long overdue for disposal. 

16. The most rampant trade malpractice is short selling. Watch out those weighing scales on the sidewalk. You pay for three kilos lanzones when the actual weight is only two. Translate this to bigger volumes. 

17. Frozen dressed chicken?  After thawing, it shrank by a quarter. So with fish.  Sometimes water is injected before freezing. 

18. Formalin is added to ice water to preserve fish. Any trace of formalin is enough warning.  But not so many people can detect it. 

19. Kalamay sa ba-o.  How do we know if it's really filled?  This is where trust of a suki comes in.

20. Food coloring makes food and drink attractive and inviting. Many food dyes are carcinogenic. 

21. Over packaging (e.g. tupig is over wrapped with excessive banana leaves, so with carabao cheese, puto and the like.  Too much and elaborate packaging is part of selling strategy.  It is a tool of manufacturers of many products from toothpaste to underwear.  

22. Davao pomelo, Zambales mango, Laguna  lanzones, 

23. Nakatikim ka na ba ng kinse años? (Referring to a 15-year old wine).  It's a lie; a viable business can't let money sleep that long. And how about the hidden indecency of the message?  Would you patronize the product?

24. Made in USA,  Made in Japan, But the components of the appliance are made in China.  German Design, but locally made.  "USA"  Translation: Deer   

25. Dilution = More Profit, in shampoo, washing detergents, softdrink, fruit juice, whiskey, brandy, rubbing alcohol, perfume, gurgle.  We may be buying "water" and least of the product. 

26. Fillers in toothpaste, detergents, cosmetics, etc.  Breaded fried chicken, fish to make them look bigger - and cheaper.   

27. Sale!  Sale! Be aware of the original price, and find out if it's really sale.  

28. Advance payments.  Payment-in-kind. Wholesale price, factory price (really?),
No exchange no return.  The customer is always right. I mean, the right of the customer.  

29. Smuggled? contraband (guns)? Stolen? Regulated (drugs)? Fenced? The customer must know the law. Ignorance is no excuse. Don't fall victim of illegal activities.   

30. Book Cover Syndrome. We are in an age of aesthetic design.  Of beautiful facade.  Of first impression.  Of idol endorsers, of the "in" thing. "Contemporary" means now; tradition is passe.  Futurism (Lady Gaga), gender insensitive (Charice).

Don't fall into the tender trap of consumerism. Impulse buying, psychological appetite. Restraint, restraint. 

These and many more practices attest to the negative traits of some Filipinos - and other nationalities as well. It is by knowing these unscrupulous trade practices that we are forewarned. "To be forewarned is to be forearmed."

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