Integrity, transparency, neutrality: Convenience store addresses barcode issues on election cups

March 11, 2022 - 6:14 PM
7-Eleven presidential cups
7-Eleven Philippines' presidential cups for the 2022 national elections as posted on its Facebook page on March 9, 2022. (Photo from Facebook//711philippines)

A major convenience store chain assured customers that it has policies on integrity, transparency and neutrality following reports of barcode scanning issues on its “7-election” presidential cups.

7-Eleven Philippines on Friday released a statement following testimonies of some online Filipinos who claimed of receiving receipts that listed a different electoral bet than the ones they had bought.

“We thank those who have bought several issues of non-scanning to our attention, as this will allow us to take corrective action on those involved if [the] further investigation finds that they have violated our policies on integrity, transparency, and neutrality in this promotional campaign,” it said.

“While 7-Election is all about increasing voter engagement and awareness in a fun and unscientific manner, rest assured we take our commitment to faithfully report on customer purchases very seriously, and enjoin you to help us do the same—especially at the point of sale,” the convenience store added.

It also encouraged customers to continue checking their receipts upon their purchases as it is a “good practice.”

7-Eleven said that it will upload its processes, methodologies, and policies pertaining to the initiative on its 7-election website “in the spirit of transparency.”

The convenience store added that customers can contact them via (02)-8-711-0-711 and 0919-0-711-711 if they want to “Speak Cup.”

The “7-election” presidential cups refer to the cups that can be purchased by Filipinos when they buy a GULP drink or a City Cafe coffee in any branch of the convenience store from March 9 to April 27.

The national elections are scheduled to be held on May 9.

The design of the cups bears the graphic and names of survey frontrunners, namely Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, Sen. Ping Lacson, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Vice President Leni Robredo.

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Each purchase of the cup is counted as a “vote” in the convenience store’s “7-Election Speak Cup” initiative when its barcode gets scanned on the cashier’s counter.

Those who are undecided can purchase the cup with the same label which has a question mark and a silhouette of a person instead.

The convenience store’s statement came after some Filipinos took to social media to complain about their experience after buying an election cup. Some claimed their receipts registered different names from their chosen bets.

Others, meanwhile, had unreadable barcodes.

Supporters of Robredo were among those that were affected.

Statistician Peter Cayton commented that the presidential cups are “not a valid analysis for polling.”

A disclaimer can be found on the convenience store’s 7-election website, which reads:

“This unscientific and unofficial survey, done in the spirit of fun, is a sales promotional activity for 7-Eleven Stores’ Gulp® and City Café Products supported solely by the company. This activity is conducted by and in 7-Eleven Stores from 09 March to 27 April 2022.”

Cups may not be sold separately from the Gulp® and City Café Products. This survey is solely measured by the cups chosen by 7-Eleven Customers for the Gulp® and City Café Products they purchased, without additional questions and without restrictions as to the age of the customer and frequency of purchase and hence, may not be considered to reflect any sentiments regarding any official survey or any upcoming elections.” 

Last month, the University of the Philippines’ School of Statistics cautioned the public against “survey methodologies by some entities doing their own brand of research.”

It said that the public should not immediately accept “survey results as they are” and to be critical, especially about how it was implemented.