Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Company Of The Year? Who Cares?!? Still The Douchebags Of The Century...

.:I Still Remember It Like Yesterday…:.

With all the hoopla surrounding Danvil Plans, I can’t help but remember my harrowing experience with them some time back, and it saddens me that after all these years, they still haven’t changed.

A few years back, I was still with my first girlfriend, and we went to Megamall on a date. The plan was to watch a movie, and by some stroke of luck, we actually wore matching outfits. Now, I can assure you that wearing the same outfit was definitely not going to be necessary for Danvil Plans (Then Family First, of course. I was in college at the time.) to harass you with their “prizes”, but that was the excuse they had for bugging my ex and I.

I didn’t like it, and felt it was going to be a waste of time. Let’s face it: if I wanted insurance, I’ll effing get it myself (Which is precisely how people normally do it anyways.). I didn’t need to bake myself in a room being convinced to plunk down money into an insurance policy when I was out on a date, for crying out loud.

But the ex was enticed by the “free movie tickets” that would supposedly come at the end of the “short” talk. Since she was insistent, I said okay, give it twenty minutes tops, then leave and ask for the tickets. Sounds easy enough, but I underestimated the ability of Danvil Plans to destroy an otherwise fun, cool date. If I were less… wholesome, I’d say that Danvil Plans/Family First would be the ultimate cockblockers, but let’s not go there.

So there she went with this agent, who took her to the 5th floor, and talked to her about what Family First could do for the ex, and because she’s the paragon of niceness, my ex decided to let the agent finish her pitch, which ended three hours later, amid violent reactions from me just outside the office, as I was motioning to the ex that she should already get out of there because if we were going to be catching any movies at all, we better catch it before Christmas time comes around again and bears us the gifts of MMFF movies. Yes, I’m trying to be funny. No, I’m not laughing, either. Just thinking about this again ticks me off already.

We wasted three hours, and the ex was clearly mad at me for insisting that she’d step out as soon as she could, completely forgetting that we were out on a date. Furthermore, what disturbed me was the sympathy the ex felt for the agent, who apparently told some sob story about how she needs to close this deal to feed her family because she’s the breadwinner. Given the violent reactions other employees of Danvil Plans have given us in other blogs, I’m inclined to believe that either these people responding to the blogs are lying, or this agent in particular was. You can’t be “filthy rich” and “need” to close one measly deal at the same time. Either way, somebody is lying.

Was there anything illegal with this experience I had, where I was cockblocked deprived of spending a day with my erstwhile girlfriend? Of course not. I couldn’t sue them even if I had the best lawyers on my side. The ex came on her own free will, and was easily cowed into submission to listen to a three-hour pitch and even feel sympathetic for the agent afterwards. But knowing that everyone in this planet knows that Filipinos in general are very non-confrontative people, don’t you think people who prey on that fact are just being a tad unethical?

Not everything that is legal is ethical. That much is clear. Danvil/Family First/Whatever its name is now can be completely free of any legal liabilities, but not everyone who follows every single law can safely boast that they sleep soundly at night. When we take advantage of the natural magnanimity of people around us, when we exploit their lack of assertiveness, when we manipulate their emotions, and most especially when we resort to logical fallacies to sell our stuff, don’t you think we’re crossing an ethical line? The fact that you have families to feed does not add anything to the insurance you are selling, whatsoever. Your condescending attitude towards potential clients (A.K.A. sourgraping.) may not be enough grounds for libel, but I sure as Hades don’t think that your haughty attitude is good.

Even I cringed when arguably the best magician in the Philippines, Lou Hilario, told the kids he was doing magic for, “if your parents don’t invite Tito Lou for your birthday party, your parents don’t love you!” It was a funny line, but it exploited the emotions of kids so that parents could be cowed into booking Lou Hilario. Don’t get me wrong: sir Lou is an awesome performer, but I really wish he didn’t say that line.

But for a company to be built off the backs of agents who pull a stunt like that all the time? That’s just unbelievably sad.

By the way, I moderate comments. This blog is not a democracy. So if I’m gonna have idiotic commenters who don’t know the first thing about me and question my economic standing (Oh, and I’m insured already, thank you very much.), or my intelligence (Cum Laude in ADMU, baby.), or my looks (Ad hominem rocks!), then unless it’s funny and happens to be written in horrible English, it won’t see the light of day.

P.S. I don't even remember anymore if we even got the "free tickets" at the end of the day... le sigh.

P.P.S. The irony of a cockblocking company being named Family FIRST isn't lost on me, either...


Anonymous said...

I also agree that Danvil Plans seems to take advantage of the nature of the Filipinos: pitiful, non-confrontational, and extreme mall-goers.

Pitiful - Good thing my agent did not tell me a sobbing story about herself or her family. I would probably hate that. She just told me she's living alone since her family's already in some other country, and she was left here in the Philippines. Or maybe she lied since I told her that I'm now living on my own, my parents are too busy with their own lives, and almost all of my siblings have their own families already.

I think magaling silang makiramdam sa client nila. They sell emotions, I must agree. Kaya lang I don't buy emotions eh. Naramdaman siguro ng agent yun.

Non-confrontational - What really pissed me off with those Danvil people is the way they insulted my capacity to pay. Tipong, "Ano, mas matanda ka pa sa akin, wala kang ipon? 55 pesos lang isang araw, hindi mo maitabi?" In my head I was cursing this woman already. How dare she tells me those? She doesn't even know me.

I told her a lot of times that I'm not interested with the insurance. At all. She kept on lowering the price until it became 6650. I gave in because I probably got tired of saying "no" to her. I tried convincing myself that I made a not-so-bad choice. I was trying to diversify my investments, that's why I gave in. My mistake was, [1] I ignored her insults, which I realized as soon as my sister scolded me, and [2] I did not research the company well enough for me to be thoroughly convinced that my money will be secured. Kung hindi pa ako nag-search sa internet, hindi ko pa malalaman yang Family First na yan.

Extreme Mall-goers - Sikat ang Pinas for having a lot of malls. That's why, I believe, Henry Sy built a lot of malls in the Philippines, kasi mahirap malugi. Apparently, Danvil Plans took advantage of it and decided to pollute the malls with their unethical ways of selling insurance.

Anyway, about my Danvil experience, it's a lesson learned. I learned that it's not bad to be vulgar and confrontational when the need arises. I used to decline politely - I was trained to be like that. I need to be confrontational din pala sometimes. But in order for me to do that, it takes wisdom to know when I have to be confrontational, and when I should be polite. It's hard to establish that wisdom, but it's something I will learn, and get used to in the future.

Kel Fabie said...

Agreed on all counts. A pity, really...

Anonymous said...

the only positive thing I see about Diane's experience with Danvil is it is causing a viral explosion in Multiply. Considering there are a lot of Multiply users, we all help to avert potential victims.

Lessons learned but it doesn't have to happen to others. Thanks for the post, Marcelle.

Anonymous said...

badtrip tlaga yang danvil na yan! mag ingat kayo dun, lalo na dun sa agent na si Ana Liza Q. Lazarte! napakapangit na nga ng pagmumukha( nagsasabi lang ng totoo!) ang yabang pa! pang estudyante na ipon nga lang daw, ayaw ko pa, eh sa ayaw ko eh..wala silang nagawa nung umalis kme ng friend ko!
Mabait yung nag invite smen, pero yung nasa loob na kme, ayun pangit na talaga! next time mag ingat na talaga. Sa megamall nangyari yung experience ko.