Friday, August 22, 2014

About Atrium Iloilo's Carpark Policy

I usually don't post much about real life, but when I do, it's usually a rant/complaint... so with this in mind, read on.

Here in Iloilo City, there's this little-known 4-floor shopping mall known as "The Atrium" located at the very heart/center of the city. It sits adjacent to a hospital and is only a few blocks away from four other significant shopping malls here: Gaisano City, SM Delgado, Marymart Mall and Robinsons Place Iloilo. 

The Atrium has a 2nd floor carpark, which I happened to make use of today after dropping off my mother at the University of San Agustin. Inside the mall, I had some breakfast at McDonald's and then proceeded to make my way out of the building to buy some medicine on an errand for my mother at a drugstore a few blocks away; because everyone knows that the in-house drugstore of The Atrium sells ridiculously overpriced medicine.

This is when I experienced The Atrium's militant carpark policy first-hand. You see, as soon as I set foot outside the store, an armed security guard immediately chased after me and told me that I had to take my car out as soon as I set foot outside of the building. I tried to explain that I'd already had breakfast at McDonald's inside the store (so I did have business in there) and that I was just on my way to a drugstore a few blocks away and that I would be back right away -- to which he responded (in dialect, of course) that no can do and that their policy is that you have to take your car out as soon as you set foot outside of the building -- no room for further protests/discussion. 

Since I knew exactly how these things worked in the Philippines, I had no choice but to comply. You see, these security guards have no discretion whatsoever in the performance of their duties as far as actual authorization goes. If that was the policy laid out by the management, all that they could do was execute it, because their powers are purely ministerial -- so to speak.

Naturally, the security personnel behind The Atrium's CCTV cameras had been monitoring me ever since I'd parked the car inside the mall. This explains the prompt action taken by mall security as soon as I'd set foot outside of the store. He was probably informed via radio to take action.

Given these circumstances, what do you think of this situation? How would you have felt if you were me? Myself, I was probably quite visibly angry even though I did choose to comply with their request without further protest.

From a legal perspective, The Atrium is technically private property and belongs to whichever person or juridical entity which has ownership of the shopping mall. Therefore, they are well within their rights to enforce the carpark policy which I'd just experienced and any other policy that they may establish within the scope of The Atrium shopping mall itself. Therefore, from a legal standpoint, there was absolutely nothing wrong with what they did. 

From a moral standpoint, again, I have nothing to say against them. The policy is obviously in place in order to safeguard the integrity of the business and ensure that the drivers and/or the passengers inside all of the cars parked inside their carpark actually have business inside the shopping mall -- all the time.

Fom a marketing standpoint, is this really all that wise of them? I am aware that this policy has been in place since time immemorial, but this is the age of social media marketing right now where even a single tweet can wreak havoc upon an established individual or business' reputation. Tell me, Atrium Iloilo, how does it look to the public's eye when you cannot even trust the people who make use of your carpark that you have to monitor every single car, driver and passenger who makes use of it and then promptly sic your armed mall security guards to single out every individual who violates your militant carpark policy? I have to commend them for their prompt action, but aren't you misplacing your priorities here?

I'll admit it, my actions were not exactly morally ethical here, but again, was that really so grave a violation as to warrant the kind of positive action from The Atrium's armed mall security that I received -- making me seem like a two-bit pickpocket? 

I'm sure I'm not the only one here, so have any one of you out there reading this ever experienced this kind of treatment from The Atrium's mall security? I won't ask you to take my side if you would prefer to take the morally high ground here, but I will ask you to think and reflect -- how would you feel in my situation? 

In my case, I'm never setting foot in The Atrium again, nor do I need to ever buy anything from them and their satellite Iloilo Supermart branches anywhere else in Iloilo City. A multi-million peso business like theirs certainly would not suffer from the loss of a single individual with an earning capacity of approximately less than half a million annually, and I certainly do not need to buy any of the goods offered within their grocery and in-house stores/stalls specifically from within their establishment/s. This is how I enforce my personal principles -- so tell me, what would you do in my situation? Just let it go and be as passive as everyone else when something clearly does not sit well with you?

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