When I tore open my annual notification from Fairprice today and saw how much my dividend and rebates from shopping at the supermarket chain came to, I couldn’t help thinking of a line from St Matthew’s Gospel which I did as part of Scripture Studies for my “O’ Level exams, in 19-dot-dot.
“For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.”
OK, my payment from Fairprice won’t buy me a meal at Gunthers but would finance me and at least two others for a slap-up lunch at my fav restaurant, Ichiban Boshi. But it’s still a nice hongbao by most measurements. And this is on top of an almost similar amount in Link Point rebates I had enjoyed in the year!
Which is why it made me think about what happens to those who shop at Fairprice but who aren’t union members or Fairprice shareholders?
And I’m not thinking of those who live around Coronation Plaza and shop at the Fairprice there, with a maid or two in tow and a chaueffer waiting in the driveway. These are unlikely to be union members or own Fairprice shares tho I won’t discount that some of them may be, just to enjoy the rebates on their hefty shopping bills!
Rather, I’m thinking of the really poor who occasionally pop into Fairprice to buy low priced items such as 50-cent canned boiled peanuts; 90-cent canned sardine and other necessities and pay for their purchases with coins and small notes.
I’ve never seen any of them — when they happen to be in my payment queue — handing over a Link Point card to scan for rebates. So I guess that they don’t own Fairprice shares.
It’s such a shame.
It’s this group precisely who would find the rebates useful and make a real difference.
Sure, NTUC does hand out a lot of Fairprice vouchers to the poor every year.
But won’t it be better to give this group some Fairprice shares as well so that what they spend over and above the free vouchers would yield them money down the line? And what better way to teach these households about budgetting and financial literacy?
Perhaps NTUC could partner some of its better off Fairprice shoppers to acquire Fairprice shares for disadvantaged families and demonstrate that it’s not only those who have much that more will be givem!