Tag Archive | Fairprice Finest

Pioneer perks and pains

First, I was pleasantly surprised today when I visited my GP — an ex-neighbour with a clinic in Bukit Batok — to consult about a suddenly super itchy throat and occasional coughing.

After the consultation and receiving three types of medication, I was told that no payment was needed as I hold a Pioneer Generation card. :)

Second, I was pleasantly surprised again at the Bishan Fairprice Finest outlet to be told that I would get a discount on my purchases if I had a Pioneer card. This was the Monday bonus for us Pioneers!

Well, I have and showed it with alacrity.

Only to be told: “And now your IC”.

Huh? Why an IC?

The cashier auntie deadpan: “to confirm you aren’t using someone else’s Pioneer card.”

I duly showed my IC but the pleasure that Mr Lim Swee Say hoped to give us Pioneers was destroyed in one go.

For heaven’s sake. It’s only a 3% discount!!

Would I, or anyone, be so desperate to get 66 cents off our bills (that’s my discount) as to borrow someone’s Pioneer card? And if someone elderly (but doesn’t belong to the Pioneer Generation) and so desperate would it kill Fairprice to let them have that discount just once or twice?

Today’s request reminded me of the days when I was asked for my bus pass to prove that I qualify for the Tuesday 2% elderly discount, even though I have a union member card.

As I don’t have a bus pass, I had to show my IC. There were even a couple of times at an outlet with unbending cashier aunties when I was refused a discount with my IC as the bus pass was the stipulated proof!

Thank goodness that ridiculous demand has long become history.

Hopefully our good Lim Swee Say will now mandate those who man cash machines at Fairprice be more flexible and not ask for our IC. If nothing else that is showing true respect for Pioneers and not start by implying we would be so cavalier with our Pioneer privilege from NTUC as to let others use our card.

The dress that took me places…

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dress that went places

.. and took me along with it…

I bought this dress out of sheer desperation because I was invited to a glitzy event on Apr 5 that demanded evening dress, as no less than the Acting Minister of Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin would be Guest of Honour, plus a myriad talking heads that are fixtures in the media.

And I suspect, i might be sitting close to the main table, which turned out to be accurate — I was on the next table to GOH’s enlarged table. But then so were a couple of other tables, given the huge circumference of the GOH table.

Okay, what I bought isn’t strictly evening wear, in the sense that it isn’t black, floor length or gltizy. But hey, it’s a major concession for someone who mostly wears denim skirts, jackets, jeans or dresses, the operative adjective being denim.

So I bought the dress — mainly because of what the dress code demanded but also because believe it or not, I had functions on the two days following it, a rarity, as I’m no social butterfly .

So I bought the dress, as I could get the max bang out of the money spent, as i intended to — and did — wear the same dress to all three functions, because I was confident that none of the others going to the three functions would be “overlapping” guests.

I was right!

There was no buzz the first night, as there were many speeches, many strangers sitting with strangers and too many VVIP spotting for anyone, and I mean anyone, to pay attention to what I was wearing.. I could have ignored the dress code, something that I noticed quite a few in the 50+ tables gathering did..

It was different on the 2nd nite — Apr 6 — at old class mate HPC ‘s 70th birthday bash at Penang Place in Biopolis —  hosted by her myriad god-children. The party was so big that many PP regulars were driven to dine outside the restaurant!

Everyone thought me a bit formal– from the word go. NS who came to pick me up. Ditto LPC. And so on.

pc701

Yup I should have been in denim :roll:

The dress was attention grabbing at the 3rd event for the right reason: JL celebrating the first spring of her first grand-kid at a high tea at Intercontinental at Bugis Junction.

Amidst all the singing and real babas and nyonyas dancing up a colorful storm, I was complimented by hostess JL and others, tho I was no competition at all for the star of the show: Anna Rose, all of 5 months!

Love, baby love!

Love, baby love!

It wasn’t the last outing for that dress. It got two more outings be4 it was sent into the wash. And if you wear the amount of Clinique’s Get Happy or Estee Lauder’s Beyond Paradise that I do, and go from aircon car to aircon malls and/or restaurants, then clothes can do several rounds be4 needing to meet the washing machine!

I kept the dress for a family lunch on Apr 10. We were going to ION but at the last moment opted for Plaza Singapura because I wanted to redeem the goodies in my Ichiban card!

Again, the law of co-incidences worked its magic for me. As we were finishing, a friend from CPF FBed me to say that Tim Ho Wan @ Plaza Singapura has opened — at last. A colleague had bought her some char siu bun that morning and they were delicious.

Had we gone to ION, I won’t have had the energy to dash over. But since I was in the same building, I decided to go pick up some of the buns while the rest of the family headed for the carpark where I promised to meet them within minutes. I’m the optimistic sort.

So it was with shock and surprise that I discovered the snaking line outside Tim Ho Wan. My heart jumped happily when told the takeaway queue was separate, believing it would be shorter.

I wasn’t wrong. It was shorter but each customer was limited to buying 5 buns! I consoled myself that as I wanted to buy 4 only, so being given 5 was a 25% bonus.

But the queue barely inched for 10 minutes. I soon found out why. An affable hunk with soothing voice and demeanour started explaining to potential customer by customer that all the buns had to be split between dine in and takeaway. Also, each tray that Chef Mak (founder of Tim Ho Wan)  baked contained only 20 buns. Oh yes, the restaurant was quite liberal with early bird takeaways, allowing customers to buy unlimited quantities. Hence the backlog in meeting demand. Hence the ration. :(

In short, Tim Ho Wan didn’t, couldn’t or won’t anticipate the demand on what was its opening day, a fact i didn’t know till I had joined the queue willy nilly!

The minutes passed; family members called from the carpark to demand what was keeping me…

Said hunk and a colleague decided to close the queue altogether, sending other hopefuls on their way.

A few behind me in the queue quietly melted away, probably because they had to go back to work. I deliberated mentally whether I should give in but the Tim Ho Wan hunk was still nattering on and I was optimistic that if I applied some antique charm on him, he might let me have my order ahead of the others. At minimum he would be moved by pity that this ditzy auntie actually entertained thoughts of charming a hunk?

It was no dice but mayb our “flirtatious” conversation was so asinine that it drove away whomever else were behind me in the line and I found myself the last in the queue with some 10 others ahead of me.

My turn came finally around 2.45pm and it was worth the wait. I decided to try my luck and asked for 10 buns instead of the rationed 5 and was happily surprised when with a nod from the hunk my request was filled.

It was worth the wait and the wrath of family members who didn’t appreciate being left to cool their heels for 45 minutes in and around the carpark while I queued! Although half of the loot I passed over to sister D did mollify her somewhat. :D

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golden buns

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still good to last bite after 3 hours!

Did my dress help in some supernatural way to get these golden buns? Or was it something else?

The next appearance of my dress may explain. :lol:

After four wearings, the dress was waiting its turn to be washed when I had to rush to the supermarket to pick up some essentials one late Saturday afternoon.

I grabbed it off the hanger, put it on and drove off to Clemeti Mall, thinking that such a big Fairprice Finest shouldn’t be too crowded. I was wrong. It was ren san, ren hai between the racks and at the check out lanes.

I was in a hurry and looking at my amount of purchases — not a lot and nothing wet or highly perishable — decided to die-die try the self-scan and check out lane.

Again, my trepidation was misplaced. A Fairprice sup came to my rescue. Not only that. She even gifted me with a spare “bonus point” voucher discarded by a previous customer and then took me through the paces.

It was easy peasy and I was so pleased with her thoughtful help that I grabbed a shot of her, to post on FB, Twitter and now in my blog. Good service should be acknowledged and publicised while the converse should at least be dissed thru word-of-mouth :lol:

3S = Sunita Service with a Smile

3S = Sunita Service with a Smile

 

So did this experience have anything to my much worn dress? Did it give out the sort of aura that made people want to help or be friendly to me? Was it the pastel shades or the soft draping material that softened my personality like a magic cloak?

I won’t know till I next wear it. But it will take me to more places for sure and give me more wear to make it worth the $59.90 I had paid for it :roll:

I got the millet mush look?

I don’t know whether to be pleased or annoyed. I was at the Each a Cup outlet outside Clementi Mall’s Fairprice Finest apres lunch. I was about to order when the girl in charge said: Millet mush with agar, agar, zero sugar right?

She was right in so far that’s what i ordered the last time I was at Clementi Mall, mayb 6 to 8 weeks ago. I’ve since moved on to millet mush with black pearls.

The girl’s ability to identify the drink I took won’t have been so remarkable, if she were the one minding the outlet at City Square Mall, where I’ve become quite a regular. And where as soon as I stop by, the girl would recite what I want, without prompting.

However the girl’s at the Clementi Mall outlet where I’ve only had one drink there be4 today and such a long time ago!And every day she must serve at least 100 more more customers! Yet she remembered me!

She either has a damn good memory — or horrors! I got a millet mush face :lol:

Reunions with “Botak”

Peeved though I was with the higher prices of the once excellent value set meals at Imperial Treasure Windows of Hongkong, my Tuesday trip to Triple 1 at Somerset wasn’t entirely a wash out.

The food at Windows of Hongkong was still good, though the higher price stuck in my throat.

But my apres lunch discovery at Fairprice Finest, a hop, skip and jump away from the cafe — where me, mum and her Picky adjourned — to pick up groceries, veggies n fruits, made me want to skip and jump.

I found my Botak coconut again and tho vaguely remembering past disappointments since our first encounter at the same supermarket outlet many moons ago, I let my enthusiasm over-ride unhappy memories.

I grabbed three and it was only at the check-out that I remembered Picky’s last admonition as detailed here.

As there was no queue and the cashier was most obliging, I asked Picky to please take those I’d chosen back to the chiller cabinet to see if she could do better. She returned triumphant to declare she’s swopped my choices with better ones.

scraped clean

OK, the proof of the coconut is in the eating which we found out on reaching home. And each of the coconuts had plentiful delicious water and tender flesh that was good to the last scrape, as this picture (right) testifies.

So is Picky Siti such a fantastic coconut picker?

Who knows?

Yesterday, I happened to walk into another Fairprice outlet — this time at City Square where I had gone to buy nuts from Pat’s Oven, which arguably in my experience sells the best nuts in Singapore.

I wasn’t looking for coconuts at Fairprice but for cut-price oranges for juicing and Fairprice’s prices run neck and neck with a no-frills fruit store in Bendemeer and sometimes even better.

That’s how I found another pile of Botaks and promptly bought three, even though I didn’t have the self-proclaimed coconut expert with me.

Guess what?

I’m delighted to share that all my picks were excellent, perhaps even better than those that Picky picked.

My conclusion: nothing or very little to do with choosing. And very much to do with what’s available at the supermarket!

Botak and old!

Almost exactly a month ago, I was all angsty about the family not being able to locate our new found food-love, the Botak coconut, and the trials and tribulations of buying the wrong coconuts and finally, the humiliation of being taught by mum’s maid Siti on how to tell a Botak from the others.

So, picture my delight when I ran into Botak again — all four of them — sitting in the chiller of Fairprice at Jurong Point.

All the pointers that Siti had laid out to spot a Botak were met:

1) Botak coconuts are truly botak with all the husk removed – check

2) Botak coconuts’ tops are not cut for easy opening – check

3) Botak coconuts’ tops aren’t cut but could be easily prised open with a gentle tap – check

4) There are all versions of coconuts in the supermarket and if they are marketed as young, Thai or fresh coconuts, they aren’t Botak coconuts – check. What I found was marketed as “Botak”

Botak at last!

I grabbed all four of them and at 95 cents each I felt a sense of deja vu — like the first time I discovered them on sale at Fairprice Finest @ Triple 1.

I told the others with me on the supermarket shopping spree and we couldn’t wait to get home to sink our teeth into the soft coconut fresh and cool our throats with coconut water.

Now, picture my disappointment when Picky Siti after hacking off the top, delivered me a Botak that had little water but was thick on the flesh. She also hacked open hers, even though it wasn’t time for her to buka puasa. It was the same.

“You should have asked me to choose,” she said, irritatingly.

“How to ask you to choose when there were only four?” I retorted.

Silence. She hacked open mum’s. Again, low on water, thick on flesh. My sister had taken hers home, so I won’t know whether she had a lucky pick.

Botak is just another lau yah

The new pointer on coconuts? Even when it’s truly Botak, it needn’t be young!

Not all coconuts are created equal

It had started with my discovery of Triple 1, the Cinderella of Somerset Road, which I mentioned in a post  and with that, the discovery of Imperial Treasure Windows on Hong Kong.

It was after my first satisfactory lunch at Windows on HK that then led me to the new Fairprice Finest outlet at one corner of Triple 1. Nowhere near as complete in product range as FF in Thomson Plaza or Bukit Timah Plaza but I found something that made my household drool and wanting more.

Triple 1’s FF had on offer Botak coconuts at $1 each, down from I don’t know what, since it’s not a regular item. I bought enough for all at home.

If I had any reservations about the price — implying that the product was being gotten rid of in a hurry — I was wrong.

We found the cocounts had plentiful amount of good juice and the flesh very tender but not so tender that there was no bite — you know, the translucent sort which turns almost to water as you scrape it off the inner shell.

So we were hooked, and everyone wanted more but over many days, we never got to go back to Triple 1. Mum’s maid while shopping at the wet market even called back to report sighting botak coconuts.

Be4 I said “buy”, I asked her to check the price. $2 each? Forget it.

However, the longer we went without, the more we kept thinking about that delicious taste of Botak’s flesh and juice.

So much so that the next time I saw what I thought was Botak coconut at Fairprice’s Square 2 outlet, I immediately bought several “Botak” coconuts, even though the labels just declared them as Thai coconuts and despite the fact that they were priced at $1.65 each, 65% higher than what i last paid.

When I got home, mum’s Picky Siti triumphantly declared them to be the wrong type, not Botak. She was proven right. Although there was plentiful juice, the flesh was tough, almost tough enough for grating — what one commonly calls “lau yah”, old coconut or Chinese slang for “lousy”.

At that point Picky Siti gave me a lesson in picking the right Botak coconut, not from a tree but from a supermarket chiller.

1) Botak coconuts are truly botak with all the husk removed

2) Botak coconuts’ tops are not cut for easy opening, unlike the coconuts (on the left of the picture below) and which I had bought mistaking them for Botaks.

3) Botak coconuts’ tops aren’t cut but could be easily prised open with a gentle tap.

4) There are all versions of coconuts in the supermarket and if they are marketed as young, Thai or fresh coconuts, they aren’t Botak coconuts.

I’m now well versed in coconut lore. Pity, I haven’t been able to find Botaks at bargain basement prices lately but I shall keep looking.

Botak not among these

Fairprice is truly fairly priced

Prices indeed fair!

Prices indeed fair!

The above pix was snapped going down the escalater from Fairprice finest to the basement carpark at Bukit Timah Plaza. I went there on Tuesday (to take advantage of Fairprice’s Tuesday 2% discount for seniors) to buy groceries.

Had planned to buy dinner too at the nyonya food stall, also on basement 2. To celebrate my mum’s maid Siti’s one-year anniversary with us.

Having a maid who lasted all of 12 months is something to be thankful for, considering that one of my neighbours managed to get thru 6 (yes, six!) maids in less time than my mum’s has been with us.

I often wonder how the neighbour has the stamina to have one foreign stranger after another live in the privacy of her home! Besides other considerations.

Anyway back to my dinner purchase or non-purchase as the nyonya stall guy nonchalantly told me “all my rice dishes are sold out at 2pm. What time is it now, sister?”

So I hightailed it back to Fairprice Finest to buy the sakura chicken supplied by of all people, Culinaire. $12, less 2% for senior citizens.

As I was abt to pay, I spied 750ml bottles of Chilean sauvignon blanc chardonnay blend 2008 going for $12.50 for each. Remembering the regret I had felt when I couldn’t find wine in Tsim Sha Shui to match the S$7 equivalent I saw (but decided against buying) in Stanley Plaza when we were in HK last month, I grabbed a bottle at Fairprice F.

cheap thrills!

cheap thrills!

And, remembering that I’m a member of NTUC Fairprice’s Just Wine Club, I fished out my card at the cashier and got 8% discount on top of another 2% for being categorised “senior citizen”. I paid all of $23 for the wine and the chicken when the actual total was $24.50!

Yes, such cheap “thrills” make my day in these times of austerity. If  Citicorp shares can lose 99% of  their value in a year, who knows what tomorrow may bring?

So thank you Fairprice finest for making my day!