Tag Archive | oat milk

Cold Storage’s nemesis? C’est moi!

I’m beginning to suspect I’ve become something of a nemesis to the cashiers at Cold Storage Supermarket at Great World City. 

You see, I once again discovered a price discrepancy for one item, between what was posted on the shelf and what the cashier charged at the check-out when he scanned the item.

I never imagined I would once again find such mis-pricing, at least not so soon, at least not at the same supermarket, for heavens’ sake!

On two occasions in September I found that I was charged more than what was shown on the shelves and had blogged about that:

So, you could have knocked me down with a feather last Saturday when on a hurried sortie to pick up some items for the larder, I was again over-charged, this time for a litre of Pacific Natural Foods’ All Natural Hazelnut Milk.

Occasionally, as a change from Oatley oat milk, I treat myself to hazelnut milk, as much for a change as to stop my body from getting immune to one type of food.

Altho I buy the hazelnut milk infrequently I know the price very well as I have always thought it a bit odd that hazelnut milk should sell for less than oat milk, as I would imagine gm for gm, hazelnuts should cost more than oat.

But mine isn’t to reason why; mine is to buy.

At the check out I glanced at my receipt and was surprised to see that my litre of Oatley and the Hazelnut were priced exactly the same: $5.95. I queried the cashier and his reply was the standard:”The price has been increased.”

Tho the price difference was small I decided to march back, desite the weight of my two laden bags of grocery, to the shelves where other packs of Pacific Natural Foods stood and, using my trusty Nokia 6500, took a pix of the price on the shelf.

One part of me kept telling myself to let go; after all, it isn’t a lot of money. Another part of me was self-righteously indignant. It’s ridiculous. It’s the 3rd time. What are the odds of that happening 3 times to the same person at the same supermarket outlet?

All right, I’m not as brave as MK to tell pple on the MRT to give up their seats. I don’t as a rule make a fuss in a restaurant over the food or the service. But I think I can do something to make sure, whenever I’m aware, that a big supermarket chain like Cold Storage, a unit of MNC Dairy Farm, doesn’t get away with overcharging me.

And ta da! The pix showed the price as $5.65 but I was charged $5.95!

listed $5.65 but charged at $5.95

listed $5.65 but charged at $5.95

Triumphantly I went back to the cashier to “prove” that I was right but he was busy serving another customer who was buying two trolleys’ worth of goods. The woman looked familiar. I thought she might be a neighbour in my condo or someone I’ve seen be4 at the GWC food court where we go about twice a month.

Cold Storage cashiers probably have a system to summon help with “troublesome” customers because be4 I could go into a song and dance with the one who insisted that the hazelnut milk’s price had been increased, a strappy girl staff appeared, looked at my camera fone pix rather impatiently and then went off to check for herself.

She returned with a pack of hazelnut milk in her hand and mumbling about suppliers and prices, put the pack into one of my Cold Storage plastic bags which I had put in the space behind the cashier, as their weight was killing me.

It then dawned on me she was giving me an extra pack.

“Eh,” I said, “I’m embarrassed. I just wanted the price adjusted.”

“It’s our policy,” she said and in a tic was gone, so much so that as I was gathering my bags to leave, the cashier who had served me earlier turned round — he was done with the familiar looking woman who filled two shopping trolleys — and asked, “What did the supervisor say?”

“She’s giving me the box for free,” I replied and when he still looked uncertain, I added, perhaps a little (needlessly) defensively, “check with her if you don’t believe me.”

I went off a bit annoyed to have been put on the defensive. Though I don’t mind being given an extra pack to make up for the pricing mistake, I think it is too much to encounter not one but three errors within about six weeks.

If I were a Dairy Farm shareholder, I would be worried. Sure, supermarkets sell thousands of items but shouldn’t a greater effort be made to synchronise prices on the shelves and at the check outs?

Or do they rely on customers not to notice and “trouble makers” are fobbed off with a “reward”? 

Well, it looks like Cold Storage isn’t alone — in mis-pricing, I mean. A told me it happened to her at Watson’s — and at different outlets while S wrote more lengthily about her experience at Suntec’s Carrefour where her purchase of yellow capsicums was charged at more than twice the posted price.

The moral is: keep a close eye on prices when you are shopping, especially in supermarkets where because of the long check out queues, cashiers could make genuine mistakes while their employers are tardy with price updatings.

Yes, it’s a pain to double check, especially when the wait has been long, the trolley is full and some fellow customers may give you, at kindest, quizzical looks, as if to say “aiyoh y so ngeow”?

I think that’s probably what the lady who shopped till she filled up two trolleys thought about the exchange I had with the cashier serving her. Incidentally when writing this post, I suddenly recalled that she is none other than Dr Gillian Koh, an academic often appearing on TV programs to give her five cents worth.

Afterword:I think this wrong pricing business is going from absurd to ridiculous; Cold Storage is either raising prices so fast that they don’t have time to adjust or their floor staff are so short-handed or damned lazy, at least at GWC.


Mainly I love Oatly

I’ve been a fan of Oatly, the Swedish oragnic oat milk, ever since I first discovered it in April 2006 when I was trying to combat a bad cholesterol problem.

While I was attracted to the product initially in the belief that oats might help in my fight to lower the bad cholesterol and improve the good, I was hooked after the first sip because of its smooth creamy taste, reminiscent of Jersey milk, in the days when I was studying in the UK.

After Oatly, I’ve never again wanted cow’s milk in my coffee or breakfast cereals.

Hence you could have knocked me down with a feather when my nephew H over dinner on Monday nite laughingly regaled me with a review that the Sunday Times had made on Sep 28 about Oatly along with a host of alternatives to cow’s milk.

“Like thick cloudy water,” he chottled. His mum, my sister, added: “Like dish water with cereals…”

(This teasing was because everyone in my family knows that I’m a strong unofficial evangelist of sorts for Oatly, gifting family and some friends with a pack or two of the drink to get them to experience the great taste).

shake well for best taste




shake well for best taste

As I’ve given up the print editions the Straits Times and the Sunday Times since early this year, I’ve not been combing the online editions as assiduously as time permits, because once online, there are more rivetting distractions than what’s put out by the SPH papers.

So, no, I didn’t read the Oatly review but post-haste did so.

Under the banner, “LifeStyle taste-tests some milk alternatives”, the tasters were listed as Deputy Life! Editors Tan Hsueh Yun and Ong Sor Fern, Straits Times restaurant reviewer Wong Ah Yoke and Rebecca Tan.

There were too small consolations:

  • The team dissed all the milk-alternatives they taste-tested and where there was any modicum of praise, it was of the kind “damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, and whilst not sneering, teach the rest to sneer”.

  • The Suntimes’ review of Oatly wasn’t as bad as my dear ones made it out to be.

Still, it wasn’t flattering, to say the least: “..bland and watery…tastes like thick cloudy water…the coffee becomes sour and the milk just isn’t creamy enough….looks like cereal in dish water. And like water, it flushes out the taste of the cereal.”

Given my personal experience, none of the taste tests were accurate. Seems like none of the testers followed Oatly’s instructions to shake the packet vigorously. If that had been done, it would have been impossible for the liquid to be anything but smooth and creamy but not cloyingly so. 

Worse was the price the testers quoted: From $5 a packet. As a long-time and regular buyer, I would like to know where they had gone to get a packet for $5? And I would rush there to buy a dozen 1 litre packets straighaway!

When I first laid eyes on Oatly in 2006, it was selling for way above the other cow milk alternatives, at around $4.80 per packet. Since then, its price has gone up and up. And has hovered at around  $5.95 at Cold Storage supermarkets while Sophie’s New Green Pasture Cafe sells it for $5.35 but I would look more closely at the expiry date there, because sometimes they are a tad close. 

Green pastures old…

After so much feasting in recent days, those written abt and those best not to remember, there was yearning for something less demanding on the digestive juices and less heavy on the internal circuitry.

After some absence, we headed to Sophie’s again on Sep 6, for lunch: my sister, maid Siti and mum. For a while we had deserted New Green Pasture Cafe or Sophie’s on the 4th floor of Fortune Centre, thanks to the write-ups abt the alternatives to Sophie’s at the Centre.

So had gone to Piao Xiang Vegetarian Food and Healthy Lifestyle, both on the second floor. While the cabbages rolls at Piao Xiang were absolutely delicious, the cedar shoot fried rice tho at once delicious and strange was swimming in oil.

Also, altho the pix of the menu reproduced on the flyer was colorful and tempting, the pix of the actual dishes I ordered when I went there with J turned out to be colorless and unappetising. No point posting them.

And while the food at Healthy Lifestyle was quite photogenic (as pix of a bowl of lei cha or thunder rice below shows), the gastronomic experience was ruined by another tantrum by our maid Siti.

not everyone's cup of tea

not everyone's cup of tea

She disliked the lei cha rice intensely and showed it by eating the dish grain by grain in angry silence, her head bowed to hide her ugly scowl. She remained stubbornly withdrawn despite my explanation that I had ordered the dish for everyone, not just her alone. That it’s a Hakka speciality. Also, we all liked it and it was Healthy Lifestyle’s dish of the day.

Now I understand better why some Singaporean “macikans” never take their maids out for meals or if included, don’t feed them, while the family sups. That wasn’t the first time Siti had given trouble over food but….

All at the table were affected by her sulks which meant I would hesitate to go back there any time soon, if I was with the family as that invariably means the maid comes along to keep an eye on mother.

That’s why we went back to Sophie’s by default last Saturday: mother wanted Fortune Center, sister D wanted to try Sophie’s and I wasn’t going back to the place where the maid’s tantrums gave me heartburn.

Laksa was the day’s special and all but me opted for that. I had assam “fish” which came with rice and salad: nice but not exceptional.

The surprise or the shock was that the laksa turned out to be Penang laksa, not nyonya laksa and I held my breath for complaints from mum, sis and maid. Thankfully, they accepted that they had assumed wrongly and ate up the laksa with gusto, possibly because it wasn’t as sour as the original Penang version.

Since everybody was in a good mood, I decided to treat all to the dessert of the day which was bubor cha cha in oat milk.

At $2.50 a bowl it wasn’t expensive, considering that oat ilk costs $5.95 for a litre, at least for the Oatley brand that I soak my home-assembled muesli in every morning. Even ordinary bubur cha cha in coconut milk costs as much in foodcourts and dedicated dessert parlours like Tong Shui Cafe and Dessert Hut.

delicious to the last drop
bubur: delicious to the last drop