Tag Archive | Cold Storage

So young and so kind!

Three wonderful encounters on Saturday Nov 1 (due to it being All Saints’ Day?) left me hopeful that SG’s future has a good chance of remaining or even bettering today’s generally kind nation.

First, I was at the Kwan Im Hood Cho Temple in Waterloo Street to do my usual thing. After a few minutes inside the temple, I left and saw, as I made way towards Fortune Centre, a few young kids offering a lunch box to a tissue seller. They had some persuading to do!

The kids couldn’t be more than 12, possibly younger. But they were earnest in harassing the tissue uncle to accept their food. And it wasn’t a once-off gesture. The same kids repeated it with another tissue seller.

I am not sure if it’s a “movement” involving more children or just those three I saw. Whatever it is, I am happy to witness the kind acts, unlike the usual donation drive vultures — usually young adults — who ask for money for this or that needy cause, in SG or elsewhere, quite oblivious to the very needy right next to or in front of them.

Earlier on, before I entered the temple, I was touched and humbled to see a father showing his little boy how to pay for the tissue paper they bought from a wheel chair bound woman seller. He held the kid’s small hands which were holding a $2 note and together father and son offered their cash with overt sincerity and respect.

I wish more parents would be so hands-on in teaching their offspring the right way to do a kind deed.

The third kind gesture by a young kid had me at the receiving end.

After the temple and a few other errands I went to VivoCity in search of Pat’s Oven which sells exactly the sort of nuts I like to eat.

While there, I decided to do some shopping at Cold Storage.

Bad idea as my car was parked on the 2nd level and the supermarket was in the basement!

Added to that bad move was another one of choosing to use a basket instead of a trolley which saw me joining a slow moving Q humping a heavy basket that I had to be put down and then lift up as one more customer ahead of me paid for his/her purchases. And I inched up the Q.

I was just two customers away from the cashier when the kid — he looked no more than 16!! and I am at an age when anyone under 32 is a kiddo! — immediately ahead of me in the Q turned and said: “I carry up your basket for you after I pay?” (meaning he would help me put my basket on the belt for the cashier to tally).

“Yes, please,” I replied. Surprised and pleased. Especially when earlier I had snarled at him and his mates who though not buying anything were fooling around their friend.

“Eh, got eggs in my basket — if one of you fall, who will pay for the broken eggs, ah?”

His mates muttered apologies and disappeared.

His subsequent offer in the context of what went on before is therefore doubly kind.

Oh yes, his name is Jonathan! :D!


Dumb-ass service!

Tan Hsueh Yun, the SPH go-to food girl, raved in a recent Sunday Times piece about a certain Japanese seasoning that’s available at the Meidi Ya supermarket at Liang Court. She gave a detailed description of where three brands of the seasoning could be found, adding that it’s no point asking the supmart staff  as no one knew where anything was 🙄

I don’t know about Meidi Ya but I just had an experience — two to be exact– at a Cold Storage outlet out in the heartlands of Hougang that was far from funny, though if it was part of a comedy script, it would be!

As I’m not familiar with the outlet and as I didn’t want to waste time exploring, I asked one staff where I could find the garlic. Would you believe it! The staffer actually directed me to where the ginger was kept in the chiller!

Now if I don’t read English and can’t tell ginger from garlic, I would have gone home with the wrong stuff.

That was not all.

Later, i was looking for tang hoon and again to save time, asked for direction from two staffers stacking stock at the noodles and pasta section.

One told me to go around the corner. I went around the corner but saw nothing that resembled tang hoon and went back to them who continued busily stacking.

The staff who directed me to where the tang hoon wasn’t gamely walked back with me around the corner and pointed to a solitary packet hanging at the bottom of the display frame.

“It’s not tang hoon,” I said, tartly. “It’s agar agar.”

Staffer took a closer look and might have contradicted me if not for the fact that the words Agar Agar were there on the packaging! 🙄

He siddled back to his colleague with me in determinded tow and after telling her what I was looking for, she looked at me non-plus.

Both might have then said that there was none in stock — if not for the fact that I suddenly saw the light.

We were standing in front of the pasta, noodles and beehoon stack. Tang hoon would surely be here?

I glanced quickly at the shelves and then stooped down to look at the more obscure items on the lower shelves. I found not just one packet of tang hoon but several packets — and in two brands to boot! 😆

Carrefour: didn’t I tell you so?

So Carrefour is leaving SG be4 the end of the year, closing its two outlets: one at Plaza Singapura and the other at Suntec City.

Didn’t I already say it would back in July and September 2010?



And i had been expecting this development whatever the marketing or image-making folks might say to the contrary.

I use my eyes and experience.

We go to Plaza Singapura reasonably often and the last time that we were there, just be4 mum’s Picky Siti went on her one month’s leave, my sister dashed down to Carrefour’s to buy her fav bread. She came back disappointed that there was none.

I told her not to be. It’s to be expected. The place is closing down, I said.

“How do you know?” Daffy persisted, like most sisters always ready for a verbal scrap.

“I just know,” I retorted.

Actually I know because some of the clothings and towels it sells can be bought for a fraction at which they are priced — at Blk 25 Bendemeer Road where I shop and visit for a better and fresher buy!

And, frankly the fresh produce at Carrefour Plaza Singapura is no better than what one can get in a tired late afternoon at Ghim Moh market and at a lower price to boot.

Carrefour has to leave SG, IMHO, not because of Cold Storage and Fairprice but because it sells a second hand Parisienne chic based on name, not value for $!

Wang Foong’s excellent service Sam

On Wang Foong Foodstuffs Suppliers’ website there’s a tagline that says “Expect nothing less than EXCELLENT”. And it’s no empty boast!

I experienced first hand such excellent service that I’m quite astounded how a little factory outlet tucked away in the boondocks of Wooodlands could cultivate such customer centric behaviour that leaves so many big organisations like banks — not to say SMRT — and Cold Storage lagging so far behind as to be out of sight!

This is how I got to know Wang Foong.

Last Sunday, Dec 18, I was at OperaViva’s last soiree for the year held at founding chairman Leow Siak Fah’s imposing home off Kheam Hock Road.

Besides the excellent singing and a solo poetry recital on “The night before Christmas”, there was, as always, plenty of food. Besides the host family’s signature dish of mee siam, several of us brought something to share, pot luck style.

And it was the least inspiring looking contribution that caught my eye and taste bud.  Note that dark little lump on the extreme left of the pix (below) behind the nyonya kueh.  It was the best smoked pork knuckle I’ve tasted in a long time!


best smoked pork knuckle

 Once the outer skin was peeled off, the unprepossessing bundle turned into an ambrosaic tender flavorful knuckle ham, with just enough fat and bite to make every mouthful a heavenly experience.

No wonder then, several of us stood around to attack the meat repeatedly, morsel by morsel so that it was  gone in no time.

I simply had to ask the woman who brought the knuckle where she got the yummy fare. She wrote the contact web site on a paper serviette: www.wanfon.com

That night, I went to the site and sent an email asking for more info and was given an auto response followed promptly the next day by a reply from Mr Samuel Soh, a sales operation executive, explaining that Wang Foong doesn’t take pre-orders but I could call him to find out more.

To cut a long story short, we spoke and I explained that I needed just two knuckles, to justify my drive from Newton to Woodlands. He gave me directions and promised to ensure that I won’t be disappointed on arrival with the “sold out” sign.

This morning, I made the trip but as one auntie who knows Orchard Road and its surrounding best, it wasn’t long be4 I was lost in the wilds of Woodlands. Despite very clear directions on how to get off the SLE to Woodlands Terrace, I found myself outside an MRT station, without a clue which it was — it didn’t help that there wasn’t any easily noticeable sign either!

I lowered my car window and shouted at the first uncle passerby who looked my way to ask. He told me it was Marsiling which frankly in terms of giving me a sense of location, he might as well have said Mars.

So I called Mr Samuel Soh who told me not to worry. He would drive from Wang Foong “to fetch” me. And he did, within 5 minutes and then guided me to Woodlands Terrace by driving slowly with me trailing close behind.

Then he zipped into the sales area and picked up the required pork knuckles. I paid and he was all smiles, as he waved away my offer of a $2 tip “for your petrol lah, to come and look for me”.

This is service par excellence — all for a $39 purchase! Compare this to the terrible service that’s been doled out to me at Cold Storage on a fairly regular basis — where I spend thousands per year!

And no, Wang Foong’s operations aren’t of the “catch fly” variety. There were several customers milling inside its premises when I got there.

Yet it actually spared a sales executive to come and show me the way knowing that I’m no big spender! That’s putting service be4 dollars and cents!

So go eat your heart out all you big business and organisations, which are more interested in being big in sales than big in service! It’s shameful that a small operation like Wang Foong can out-run you like a gazelle can out run a bumbling elephant! 

3 rude persons & moi

November is supposed to be Kindness Month but why has the following happened — to me?

Yesterday, I was at Cold Storage Great World City and was squating down to reach the lowest shelf where the spring onion was. Now when a few strands of the garnishing now cost all of $1.75, I could be excused if I did turn over a few packs to try and get something that wasn’t all limp, yellow and disintegrated.

While thus absorbed, i heard an impatient voice which said:”Excuse me, i want to check the vegetables!”

I almost jumped up to give way when without thinking I shot off my mouth: “Hey, I’m checking the veggies too, so do you mind waiting till I’m done?”

I thought she was going to nudge me with her trolley but she didn’t. Just a stare but I quickly turned my face away and equally quickly made my selection and moved off.

I thought: what a rude woman. She probably thought the same too — of me, that is.

Then later at the check out, I again encountered the cashier who has trouble with my Passion Card. It’s always at her termi that my efforts to “tap for more” encounter “card error”.  It was no different yesterday and tried as she might the card didn’t work and she had to call for assistance.

While this was going on, a white couple came to join my queue of one. As each of them was carrying a ladened basket and as my trolley was equally full and as the cashier was still doing finger gymnastics with my Passion Card, I, out of the goodness of my heart turned and said to the couple:

“My card is having problems. Think you’d better go to another cashier?”

They just stared at me. I repeated what i said.

More stares; they consulted each other (so they understood English perfectly!); then stared again and went off, without a smile of acknowledgement, let alone “thank you”.

I felt like kicking myself. I should have left them to queue till the cows come home while my Passion Card was being revived.

After that experience, you’d think I would refrain from any gratuitous “do gooding” for a while! But no, kaypoh moi was at it again today and again got snubbed.

I had parked my car at the Forum Galleria carpark to go for a lunch appointment with an acquaintance at the Orchard Parade Hotel.

As I was fortunate enough to get an excellent parking spot, I felt happy enough to pass that spot to the next person. And there was one such person when i was about to go to my car to leave. A lady driver in a swank car had come into the carpark and, seeing me head for my car, slowed down.

So I nodded pleasantly at her and quickly clicked on the door auto-unlock button with the corresponding flash of lights to signal that I was leaving and she could take my lot.

You could blow me down with a feather when the lady driver looked poker faced; no returning smile or nod. I felt tempted to retrace my steps into the shopping centre to leave her high and dry — but resisted. That would have been childish and served no better purpose than to make me late for my next appointment!

Still, this being Kindness Month makes me wonder whether what we really need is a Kindness Year to instill some appreciation in those at the receiving end of a stranger’s kindness.

Or am I just an idiotic needy masochist when I look for a “thank you” from the self-confident who not only believe that the world is their oyster but it also owes them plenty of favours 🙄

Ice lollies from Cold Storage a watery mess!

… at least that’s the case with the box I bought from its Chancery Lane outlet this afternoon.

Sure, its not a First Choice brand but an F & N brand, so you might say the fault lay with the manaufacturers. But surely as the supermarket distributing the lollies, don’t you think Cold Storage has a duty to ensure that the stuff it sells is edible?

Sure, some people may think I’ve been carrying the box around for half a day. The fact is I didn’t. I live across the road from the Chancery Lane outlet and drove home right home after paying my bill at 15.14.56. As I drove, not walk home, it was a bare 5-minute drive and hardly long enough for the lollies to have melted.

Nope, i also didn’t leave the box lying around on the kitchen or dining table. It went straight into the freezer.

Around 4pm, mum’s Picky Siti went to the freezer to get a lolly for mum and found on opening the box, each and every one was “lembek” or soft.

“Melted, melted,” she declared.

I checked. Sure enough. Every lolly was soft, clearly having melted since don’t know when within their wrappers and the box they came in.

My first reaction was to throw the whole pack away and forget about the $4.85 I had paid for it, remembering at the back of my mind what a nephew once said: “Your time is so cheap meh!”

However, on 2nd thoughts, i decided not to let Cold Storage get away with it and armed with the pack of melted ice lollies drove back to Cold Storage across the road.

I was somewhat mollified by the carpark lady guard who on hearing that I’d come to return “bad food” allowed me to get into the carpark without paying the mandatory $1.50 parking fee. At least she empathised with my having to make a return trip.

Indeed, had my reception at the supermarket been as acommodating, I might not have written this post at all.

But no, the supervisor I spoke to and showed my unacceptable purchase to said with a deadpan face:”Ok, you go and get another box.”

No word of apology. No pleasantries. Nothing. And she wasn’t even serving another customer.

Actually when i set out, I had intended an exchange. But her take-it-or-leave-it attitude invited me to leave it so I said: “No, I want a refund.”

To which she replied: “Did you pay by card or cash?”

As i fumbled in my wallet for the receipt, she repeated her question, deadpan.

“Card,” I said, still fumbling for the receipt.

“Just give me the card.”

I did as instructed, even though by then I had found the receipt and proffered it and which she ignored.

The refund went thru at 16.12.25.

“Just sign,” she said. I did so and gratuitously added she should check that the rest of the ice lolly stock is ok, which she ignored. She dumped my melted lollies into the bin, then marched off, hopefully to check on the stuff as I suggested.

Moral of this encounter? After my June encounter as detailed in the info I passed to my friend Peng Yew http://boo-n-bouquet.blogspot.com/2011/06/cold-storage-weighing-machine-that.html i should have learnt my lesson n give the Chancery Lane outlet a miss.

However, its nearness to my home is my Archilles heel. So serves me right for going there again and again, despite the overcharging and indifferent service.

And end up wasting precious time and thought posting about a very unpleasant experience when my intention at the start of today had been to post yet again about the miracle of the Parking Lot prayer!

What would you do 2?

Yesterday I recorded the ridiculous encounter I had with a woman shopper behind me in the pay-queue at Carrefour in Suntec City.

Today, I want to share something equally ridiculous, though it didn’t involve a fellow shopper, unless you count those who stood and stared at me.

This was what happened. Several days ago, I had popped into Watsons at Tiong Baru Plaza intending to buy some hand soap. Then I remembered that I had more urgent shopping to do elsewhere.

I turned to leave when I spied a toothpaste offer: normal price of$8.40 cut to $6.55. I couldn’t resist, especially when the box was sealed. There was even the warning: “Do not accept if seal is broken”.

This is something that’s rare where toothpaste sold in Singapore is concerned. Most times, the tubes come without a box; worse, the caps have no seals either.

Naturally, i decided to buy the Parodontax toothpaste.

But I was surprised when i was charged the full price of $8.40!

Thinking I might have made a mistake, I went back to the shelves to check. Sure enough, the signs there were large as life, stating the selling price was $6.55, down from $8.40.

It’s the sort of mistake I’ve come to expect, having come across such errors from Cold Storage, to Fairprice, Watsons and Guardian, as regulars to this website would know from my various posts.

So I went back to the cashier to point out the mistake which as usual didn’t elicit anything more than a stare of disbelief, followed by passing of the buck from one supervisor to another.

Thereafter mistake confirmed, refund process kicked in. As I had paid cash I expected to be refunded the difference and that would be that.

Thus i was flabbergasted when be4 handing me the $1.55 refund, the supervisor handed me a small form, asking me to give my name and IC number and sign for the money.

That’s when I got irritated, very.

“I’m sorry, I won’t do it,” I said. “Why should I give you those details? It’s you who made the mistake, not me…”

Other shoppers stared.

The supervisor was adamant. I had enough and said forget it, I don’t want the toothpaste. Just give me back my $8.40.

She wavered but another supervisor strengthened her backbone, and she declared it was the company’s policy.

“I won’t sign and that’s final. Just give me back my money..”

She said she couldn’t; I said I won’t. We went on a bit like that for a couple of minutes when I nearly gave in. But she beat me to it. Handed me the refund, saying grudgingly: “You don’t need to sign…”

I walked away far from triumphant, as i had endured many curious stares during the exchange.

Worse, I had wasted some 5 to 8 minutes, all for $1.55. As one of my nephews said: “Your time so cheap, meh?” when i told him what happened.

Lagi worse, I also kicked myself for not having the presence of mind to oblige with a fictitious name and I/C number instead of engaging in a stupid argument. Why didn’t I do that? Doesn’t a stupid policy deserve this snub, unless giving a false identity is illegal under all circumstances?

Now tell me what you would have done in my shoes? 🙄