Wednesday, October 25, 2006

McDo (Caution to Liberals: Heart Attack)

Here's the ongoing fight between much admired but underheard singer/songwriter Gary Granada and McDo. Now another singer Armida joined the fray. Here's what Pete Lacaba calls the Gary Granada's Granada.

Gary Granada's granada

FROM THIS CORNER: Armida Siguion-Reyna's column in Daily Trib (10/24/2006)

His drive to finish what he started remains, despite a letter from the McDonald's camp inviting him to a meeting, which was only what he and his fellow Kaalagad members initially wanted, until, well, until hell broke loose, and led him to pushing for a boycott of McDo's.

I'm printing the first letter and Gary's response in full. Matapang ang sagot ni Gary, walang pakialam, mistula talagang granada. He probably gave the matter of losing commercial support from the international burger giant some thought, but
even that lost to his ecological concerns.

First, from McDonald's, addressed to Kaalagad,

Attention Fr. Ben Moraleda, Spokesperson, and Gary Granada, volunteer.

"Dear Fr. Moraleda and Mr. Granada:

"On behalf McDonald's Philippines, we would like to invite you to a dialogue with senior McDonald's representatives on Thursday, October 26, at 9:30 AM at Top of the Citi restaurant, 34th floor, Citibank Center, Paseo de Roxas, Makati City.

"McDonald's would like to discuss with your group their efforts in addressing the various issues that you have raised. They would also like to formalize their commitment to your cause of reducing the use of harmful substances in the
quick-service industry.

"Thank you for your attention. Please confirm if you are available on the said date and time. Should you have further queries, please contact Mr. Stevie Martinez at 889-8332 loc. 131 or 0918-9258163.

"Thank you.


"HCN Bonjin Bolinao

Managing Director

DDB Phils. Ad Verbum PR"

Here now is Gary's reply, which he sent Oct. 19, through e-mail to Ms. Bolinao, to this lola, and, I presume, to all his other friends in media, none of whom can be deemed pipitsugin.

"Dear Bonjin,

"I just read your letter dated 16 October, 2006. Thank you for the invitation. Because we are a consultative community, Kaalagad is currently consulting its members and staff as well as our partners in order to come up with an appropriate
collective response.

"Offhand, I would like to share with you my personal view. (Kaalagad is drafting its official position.)

"I am of the opinion that your letter is insincere, insensitive and mercenary. It is
insincere because you write as though October 6 never happened. No mention of the incident, no need for apology, no need to explain why McDonald's acted the way it did.

"It is insensitive because you picked a venue which is one elevator ride from McDonald's bosses' office, while we have to commute all the way to Makati from Quezon City. To add insult to injury, you picked the very same building where
we were harassed by your security people and shabbily treated by your managers.

"It is mercenary because I see PR written all over the page. It is not even signed by McDonald's but by an ad agency. We are not a 'market' that your college advertising textbooks may have taught you to regard. We are not a 'segment' of the market that you can simply 'sample', 'profile' and 'contain' if need be.

"Don't treat us like we are a PR problem. I cannot take this veiled insult sitting down. So, to cut the crap, I will excuse myself from any possible dialogue with you or your client.

"I have a very simple, doable and straightforward suggestion to you though. Why don't you and McDonald's use everything within your enormous financial and media clout to discredit what I am saying:


1. McDonald's is arrogant - don't make them more arrogant.

2. McDonald's uses styrofoam - don't encourage them further.

"I urge you to publicly discredit those two statements. And I shall be very happy, even eager, to be discredited and proven wrong if you really mean what you say. Show proof in all your stores and offices that contrary to what I am saying, McDonald's is a humble giant that puts public welfare above profit. That way, we all win!

"I will publicly broadcast those statements. I know it sounds laughable for I can't even afford to pay for one column-centimeter of news item. A little-known folksinger versus a transnational ad agency of a transnational mega-corporation is a like playing chess blindfolded with one rook less. On the other hand, I believe there are lots and lots of people who simply seek goodwill and solidarity. And I suspect many of them are fond of spaghetti and brewed coffee.

"This will be the last time I'll write to you regarding McDonald's, hell I don't get paid for writing letters like you do.

"Lastly, please do not take this letter as a personal affront. Like you said over the phone, we have common friends. I hope we are on the same page then, for instance, in taking the illegitimate Arroyo government to task over the specter of state-sponsored summary executions and brazen political opportunism that has become the norm in this country.

"Tell you what, I hang out at Conspiracy (Visayas Ave, Quezon City, across Shell, beside Equitable Bank, landline 453-2170). My favorite singers Cooky Chua and Noel Cabangon (who by the way once did a commercial for McDonald's) perform there. Our mutual friend Conrado DeQuiros is a regular. You might want to check the place out. Please let me buy you a beer, no scripts, no agenda, but as real persons in a real way.

"Sincerely, Gary Granada"

I know both Bonjin and Gary. Bonjin tried to contact me the day before I left for Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, and I suppose it had to do with the space I gave Gary's complaint, regarding the Oct. 6 incident, or what he entitled "My Personal
Ordeal With the Arrogant Managers of McDonald's."

But my decision to put out the second granada missive in its entirety has nothing to do with being on beso-beso terms with the two. It's just that sometime in June, of 2003, I stated that this corner would also serve as a "consumer's watchdog" and publish complaints from readers who feel they've been shortchanged by local business
establishments. So, there.

Besides, I so rarely get letters as forthright. It shows that not all entertainers are garapal na mukhang pera. While others make obscene amounts of money promoting McDo on TV and on billboards, there is a Gary Granada who cares more for his
environment, and this I will publish any time of the day.

Why can't there be more like him? Why do we, instead, get the likes of Š hindi bale na lang, saka na.


Blogger frank cimatu said...

My Personal Ordeal with the Arrogant Managers of McDonald’s

5 seconds

My name is Gary Granada, I am a KaalagaD volunteer, and I need 5 seconds of your time to help reduce the use of styrofoam in fast food chains.

What was meant to be a nice and simple Saint Francis Day motorcade-march to McDonald’s turned out to be a nightmare. We were rudely treated by McDonald’s, to put it mildly. Weeks before, we already sought a dialogue with them to reiterate our concern for their reluctance to reduce their use of styrofoam, despite their pledge to seriously attend to it during our dialogue in 2002! (Jollibee said the same thing, and while we are not satisfied with their response, at least they made some effort to shift to other packaging and serving materials.) We wrote to them, went to their office, made follow ups, waited for a response. The most we got from them was ‘you wait for our call’. They never called, never wrote back, but verbally said they will assign representatives to receive our motorcade’s representatives.

When we got there, their representatives turned out to be the Citibank Building’s security detail. Ill-mannered and impolite, they told us that they were told by McDonald’s that they were not expecting us. One of our staff went up to their 17th floor office to find out whether they were willing to sit down and talk matters. Told to tell us to wait, we waited. The giant that it is, the bosses of McDonald’s apparently regard little children, nuns, mothers, priests and concerned consumers as their employees. We asked how long we were supposed to wait and got no
straight answer. Finally they sent word for me to come up, just me, no one else. I thought these people must have seen too many spaghetti movies, perhaps they thought they had a hostage crisis. I was led to a conference room that could easily sit six or seven people and was greeted by two bright boys.

Think about it. Naglakad kami papuntang McDonald’s, at pagdating namin doon, wala man lang bumaba para kausapin kami ng maayos. At pinatawag ako nitong dalawang batang managers!

It occurred to me that there were far more basic issues that plague McDonald’s than styrofoam. Like common courtesy. So I explained to these rich young rulers that the courteous thing to do was to go down, greet the delegation and ask how they may be of help. I even asked them where they were schooled, because in the public school in an obscure town where I came
from, they manage to teach such things in Grade One. Their bloated bright brains must have taken up the space that was meant for their ears. It felt like talking to an electric fan.

Meanwhile I insisted that somebody from Greenpeace, the Ecowaste Coalition, Franciscan Movement for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, and the JPICC of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (our partners in the activity) be present as well. They said they can only accommodate three people at most. Fine. So I said I and our staff will go down and we will send three people up. But at the lobby, the three representatives we sent were barred by security people from proceeding, again upon McDonald’s instructions we were told. It looked hopeless.

We decided to wrap up the program when out of nowhere a condescending woman materialized and introduced herself as the media relations officer of McDonalds. She said ‘Why don’t you go to Jollibee instead, they’re number One.’ To which Father Ben Moraleda replied, ‘We did, and at least they are doing something.’

On the side, irked by her audacity, Fr. Ben quipped, ‘And please take that hand of yours off my shoulders, I don’t like you.’

And all that commotion for a very simple and very reasonable plan: that McDonald’s reduce the use of styrofoam by 50% within one year. McDonald’s has once again demonstrated its arrogance and incapacity to appreciate the sincere and constructive efforts of common folks to protect our environment. Unlike them, we do not make money doing what little we can to help make things a little better for everybody.

5 seconds, that’s all I ask of you to help reduce the use of styrofoam. Sa mundo ng mga mayayabang, papansinin lang nila tayo kung tayo ay maninindigan. Take 5 seconds to think twice before choosing where to dine or order food.


I feel sad for that woman and those two young managers. So young, so successful, so ahead of their game, so privileged; so rude, so arrogant, so lacking in character, so bland. And I have since stopped wondering why their burgers taste the way they do.


It will take a bit longer than 5 seconds, but itwill go a long way if you can email this page to
friends. Thank you.

8:38 AM  

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