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I tried ANA for a week

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Chica Villarta

Posted on April 11, 2021

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The personal shopping service of Ayala Malls became my eight-day ECQ buddy.

The second run of Enhanced Community Quarantine is currently happening in Manila, and with that, mobility is severely restricted once again in the city. The spike in virus cases is said to be caused by the new COVID variants, which are said to be highly transmissible. That said, I knew I was back to relying on online means to supply get my daily / weekly supply of food. So for the whole week, I decided to try out Ayala Malls' Neighborhood Assistant (ANA).

ANA is essentially an Ayala Malls personal shopper who will take, process and arrange for delivery of your mall-based needs. Every mall has a different ANA number—all you have to do is visit the Instagram or Facebook account of the Ayala Mall nearest you to get the contact of your ANA, and see which mall stores and kiosks remain open. Message your ANA through Viber, and they will assist you with shopping, payment and delivery through there.

With the massive amount of malls in the Philippines, I wouldn't be surprised if Ayala Malls has hundreds of thousands of mall employees around the country. I can't help but think that with mall closures in effect once again, the wages of these employees are also significantly lessened. Shopping and delivery services like ANA not only sustain the livelihood of mall employees and delivery personnel, but they also lessen the spread of the virus by encouraging people who can afford to stay at home, remain at home.

Please keep in mind that this experiment is just to see how the Ayala Malls' ANA reacts to different types of requests. In real life, I definitely would compound all my mall-based needs into two ANA days a week, to save on service charges. Also take note that my ANAs didn't know I was the editor of Pasyal—as far as they're concerned, I was just a hungry girl in need of food and other essentials!

Day 1 - Sunday, April 4

Objective: Purchase lunch

The first thing I did when I woke up on Easter Sunday was send a Viber message to the Ayala Malls the 30th ANA. I hadn't eaten much the day before, and was craving a big meal for the last day of the long weekend. Thankfully, the ANA was very lively and responsive—it was the kind of conversation I hoped to have with the cheerful, friendly-looking cartoon in ANA ads I see on Instagram.

My first ANA experience felt like I was speaking to the friendly girl in the cartoon.

What I loved about the ordering process was I got to pay the merchants straight through GCash. All ANA had to do was send me each restaurant's QR code. I like this feature because it felt like I was doing the shopping myself, plus, it felt good knowing that my ANA or delivery guy didn't have to temporarily shell out their own money to pay for my food.

The communication fell off a bit when after I had paid for both of my orders. I had been waiting quite a while, but after following up, was updated that one of my orders was taking a while. Within five minutes after my message, my orders were on their way via Lalamove.

All in all, it was a good first day! I would've appreciated more timely updates especially when my order got delayed, but all in all, a two-hour wait for my orders from two different restaurants wasn't bad at all.

Service Fee: P100 (2 stores)

Delivery Fee: P62 via Lalamove

Day 2 - Monday, April 5

Objective: Do a drugstore run

It was right after the announcement of ECQ 2 when I found myself lacking my requisite calcium tablets, which I've been taking daily since 2018 for my colon concerns. A few days later, in the middle of a vigorous handwashing session, I also noticed my pump container almost running dry. Because health and handwashing is essential now more than ever, I knew then that a drugstore run was necessary. To get the most out of the service, I asked the Ayala Malls Circuit ANA to get me lunch for the day as well.

I knew that getting drugstore products was going to be trickier for my ANA, so I prepared a guide for her. I found it so helpful that she would check with me in real time if my specific product wasn't available, or which product size I prefer.

After paying for my purchases and service fee, I expected ANA to be booking a delivery service for me, as was the case in Ayala 30th yesterday. Turns out, Ayala Malls Circuit only has a pick-up ANA service, so I had to book the courier myself. Based from this experience, it might do you good to ask beforehand if your chosen Ayala Mall's ANA has a pickup and/or delivery service.

My orders arrived with a special Ayala Malls lootbag they prepared especially for Easter! I had received a similar one when I ordered the day before. On top of my lunch and drugstore needs, I was also treated to some vitamin syrups, a handwash and breathmints—the last two went straight to my pandemic going-out kit.

Service Fee: P100 (2 stores)

Delivery Fee: P84 via Grab Express, booked myself

Day 3 - Tuesday, April 6

Objective: Order essentials to give

Mall: My condominium is strict with its pandemic measures, which means just like ECQ last year, our security staff have to temporarily reside within the building to lessen infection coming from outside. Our security guards are kind individuals who always put our safety above all, and I wanted to give them some food while they make the building their temporary home once again.

At this point, my trusty Ayala Malls the 30th ANA already knew who I was, so the process was so much faster. My ANA and I barely conversed—she just ran through my orders and contacted me for payment. In just an hour, I already received my order: coffee for my workday and of course, several bottled goods from Connies Kitchen, to achieve my goal of giving some food for our condo guards.

Thankfully, specialty food stalls like Connies Kitchen remain open.

Service Fee: P100 (2 stores)

Delivery Fee: P84 via Lalamove

Day 4 - Wednesday, April 7

Objective: Restock my mom's groceries, part 1

With the ECQ extended for another week (and possibly more), I started to worry once again about my mom's food supply. She lives with my sister in our family home, and being a senior citizen at 61 years old, I didn't want her or my sister leaving home to do the groceries, especially since the current virus variants are more susceptible for contamination. I knew I had to request ANA to do the groceries for her.

My plans were set and my grocery list was complete, but I didn't make it in time! Work made me miss ANA's 3 p.m. cut off. Luckily, ANA takes orders past 3 p.m., for processing first thing the next day. I messaged my ANA at 230 a.m., after a long day of working.

Day 5 - Thursday, April 8

Objective: Restock my mom's groceries, part 2!

Even before I woke up, ANA had already texted me that they received my grocery request and are working on it. At the grocery, they took time to update me on which among my orders were unavailable, even showing me how my cart looks like so far (see rightmost conversation).

In my opinion, this is one of the reason why ANA is a great service—it allows senior citizens and people with comorbidities to stock up on important essentials without having to risk their lives. In my case, it also allows family members who are away from their parents or high-risk loved ones to help and provide for their family's needs even from far away.

That afternoon, the groceries I planned to send my mom arrived right at my condo's package receiving area. It arrived with a sweet, personalized note as well.

Service Fee: P200

Delivery Fee: P62 via Pickapp

Day 6 and 7 - Friday & Saturday, April 9-10

I had been feeling a bit under the weather this week, as if I knew a cold was gonna come. Sadly, it did arrive last Friday. I had no fever or any aches and pains, but I definitely had congestion and felt weaker than usual. One of my friends sent me food as well. So I decided to give myself a rest, take cold meds, and postpone my ANA order to tomorrow, Sunday.

Day 8 - Sunday, April 11

Objective: Purchase lunch and much-needed medicines

It's been fun earmarking this experiment with two long weekends. The only thing is, this time I was in the middle of nursing a cold, so not only did I need food for the day, I also needed paracetamol and other medicines to nurse me back to health.

At this point, my Ayala Malls the 30th ANA knew me well enough, and ordering was a breeze. As usual, she was very accommodating and processed my orders in one go—all I had to do was pay.

Japanese with a side of paracetamol. Thanks, ANA!

I honestly didn't expect being sick at the tail end of this week-long experiment, but found it fortunate that I had ANA to supply me with my much-needed medicines. Full disclosure, I also took a home-service PCR test this day to rule out anything else. I haven't been out of my condo building for the past three weeks, but as I wait for my PCR results, then all the more I felt grateful for having a shopping service like ANA to assist me with my needs.

Service Fee: P100

Delivery Fee: P69 via Pickapp

Overall, I definitely see myself availing of ANA for my essentials moving forward. While the combination of service fee and delivery fee may seem a bit heavy (P100 for 2-3 stores, and P200 for grocery services; delivery fee depends on how far your home is from the mall), I'm glad that ANA is willing to shop for you in any part of the Ayala Mall, as long as the store is open, and is attentive to detail and getting your needs as accurately and as quickly to you as they can.

For more details about the Ayala Malls Neighborhood Assistant and to know which stores are currently open, visit ayalamalls.com or visit the Instagram and Facebook accounts of your preferred Ayala Mall.

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