Sunday, March 22, 2009

Business $ense, Common $ense, No Cent$ !!!

I was quite early when I arrived at the Kallang MRT station. Hence I decided to look around the station as the roadside stallowner who used to sell newspapers and confectionaries had closed down his business. In the past, I would usually rush to board the train after buying the Straits Times from him. Hence, I was surprised to find that there was a 7-11, Old Chang Kee and a bakery store at the station. I thought I might buy some pieces of bread for Elaine Tan, my toastmaster friend who is also a volunteer at the Changi Prison speechcraft. Elaine always picks me up at the Tanah Merah MRT on her way to Changi Prison. Every Saturday morning, I would enjoy three modes of transport - bus, mrt, car. How wonderful! I just love the efficient transport system in Singapore. In all, it takes me only about 20 to 25 minutes to take the bus and mrt to Tanah MRT station from Little India.

To my pleasant surprise, all the pieces of bread and cakes were going for a dollar each. It was a special promotion. However, I noticed that the quantity of pork floss on the bread had been somewhat reduced, and to make my gifts look good, I would prefer to have them packaged in a nice box. I asked the salesgirl how many pieces I would need to buy in order to have a box.

To my surprise, she was quite rude, and almost barked, "So cheap already! What box you want?" I understood that as the bread was on offer, it would be unreasonable for me to demand for a box if the bakery was not prepared to provide one. Hence, I was prepared to pay for the box, thinking that it would probably cost about 30 to 50 cents. To my surprise, the salesgirl said, "$2/ for a box!"

I heaved a sigh, and decided to put back the 6 pieces of bread I had already selected on my tray. As I was walking out I heard the salesgirl grumbling loudly. I wonder why the lady who spoke with an accent that is typical of someone from Beijing, had to be so uncouth and rude. Her aggressive and rude attitude were really uncalled for. I had heard of Mr. and Mrs. Goh Chok Tong praising the people in China for their wonderful service when they were in China for a visitl Yet, why are so many of them behaving so differently when they work in Singapore? Stress? Double standard?

I wonder why it would be necessary to reduce the price of the bread from $1.40 to $1.00? Why don't bakeries just reduce their prices somewhat, say maybe to $1.20 and hence attract more customers. There would be no necessity for promotion or price slashing for a period of time. After the sales, then what?

I was told by my friend about the terrible service of a particular beauty saloon in Chinatown. The saloon was unethical and greedy. Is it any wonder why customers would never want to renew packages with them. Every time I pass by Chinatown, I would see beauticians standing along the passageway to promote their services.

Compare the above with Bee Choo Herbal Hair Treatment. The centre charges very reasonable fees for their treatment. Best of all, with the good and honest services, happy customers automatically refer their friends and relatives to the centre. Bee Choo Herbal Hair Treatment never had to advertise and hence costs saved are passed on to to their customers.

I guess everyone is different. Even entrepreneurs.! Some have more business $ense than others; some have less common $ense which of course, would often be instrumental in making them end up with no cent$ !!!

Gan Chau

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