By now, most of us might know that hawkers have to pay a monthly cleaning fee to receive clean dishes and trays when they cook at their stalls.
But what if they don’t get clean dishes and trays, even after paying the fees?
Well, it seems like that’s precisely the situation in which hawkers at Albert Centre in Bugis have found themselves.
According to them, they have had to collect dishes and even wash them by themselves even after paying hundreds, and in some cases thousands, for other personnel to do it for them.
The situation is particularly bad during peak hours since many customers have used the dishes, and there are more waiting to be served.
Here’s what they have to say.
Need to Collect Dishes from Tray Return Area
Mr Chen, the stallholder of the wanton mee stall, told Shin Min Daily News that he pays $470 every month to a contractor who ensures that his stall has a constant and sufficient supply of dishes for them to serve their food in.
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However, he noticed that the contractor had not been doing their job promptly over the past two weeks, causing the stall to have insufficient dishes to serve their customers.
As a result, Mr Chen and his assistant have needed to take turns collecting plates and cutlery from the tray return area, making it particularly inconvenient and busy during peak hours as many individuals working nearby often have lunch at the centre.
Have to Even Clean the Dishes Themselves
And that’s not all, for some stallholders who paid for their dishes to be washed have had to do the job themselves as well.
The stallholder of the lor mee stall, Huang Cuidi (Hanyu pinyin), explained that she decided to fork out an additional $700 every month for the cleaners to help her clean the dishes at her stall. In total, she pays $1,170 for the cleaners to help her collect and wash her stall’s cutlery.
She chose to do so as her business was getting better, which would cause a shortage of cutlery at around 1 pm every day.
She uses around 200 bowls daily and hoped the cleaners could wash at least 50 bowls for her in the afternoon when she first engaged them.
However, she now has to ask her customers to excuse her while she goes to collect and wash her stall’s dishes before she can even begin cooking.
She then questioned if the $1,170 she pays monthly is “for nothing”.
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Need to Collect Trays and Clean Them Themselves as Well
Mr Zhang, another hawker at Albert Centre, added that the hawkers also need to collect the trays for themselves.
They even need to wash them themselves if they are too dirty.
He also pointed out that he still has to carry a bucket around to collect his stall’s dishes after he closes his stall for the day and that he is very exasperated at the situation.
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