Chicken rice is practically sacred in Singapore for its taste, price, and convenience.
Case in point: whenever we are comparing food prices and items, we will always compare it to one packet of chicken rice first. It’s a great measuring system.
The High Price of Chicken Rice
On 5 August, a Facebook user by the alias of Peter Lau took to the Complain Singapore page to complain about the prices of Tong Fong Fatt Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice, saying that the stall owner would upsell or force the more expensive portions on the customers.
This chicken rice stall is located on 16 Bedok South Road at Albert Food Centre.
According to the observations of Peter Lau and Shin Min Daily News reporters, the chicken rice stall owner would ask his customers whether they wanted the $5.50 or $6.50 option after they placed an order for chicken rice.
Curiously enough, the updated pricing (from 16 June onwards) states that normal Chicken Rice costs $4.50, while Chicken Drumstick Rice costs $5.00.
Therefore, where did the $5.50 and $6.50 option come from?
When customers asked the stall owner why it was not $4.50 instead, he allegedly told them that kampung chicken was more expensive.
Cheaper Option for Students
Although the stall owner’s foisting tactics leaves much to be desired, he is not completely without scruples.
Apparently, a Shin Min reporter noted that the stall owner would adjust his pricing depending on who was patronising his stall.
For the majority of his customers, he would cut ahead and ask if they wanted the $5.50 or $6.50 option.
However, when a few Junior College students were placing their order, he would give them the $4.50 option.
Interesting difference, but it can’t be considered a student discount when $4.50 is the original price.
When the students were interviewed, they said that they would frequent the stall once every few days, and the stall owner would always give them the $4.50 option.
Price and Portion Differences
For the sake of gathering the full facts, the Chinese newspaper reporters went ahead and bought the $4.50 and $5.50 options to do a side-by-side comparison.
While the rice given was more or less the same, the reporter noted that the $5.50 option had three more pieces of chicken meat.
Should the customers feel grateful that there is a portion difference at least, even though the pricier option was forced onto them…?
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Take It Up To The Management
Oddly enough, the upselling of chicken rice only occurs at the Bedok South branch.
When Shin Min reporters patronised the other Tong Fong Fatt branch at 691 Woodlands, that stall owner did not ask if they wanted the $5.50 or $6.50 option.
When the reporter specified that they wanted the $4.50 chicken rice, the stall owner did not ask them to buy another type of chicken rice (like the drumstick option), unlike the Bedok South stall owner.
The Woodlands stall owner, Huang Zhongshun (transliterated), said that the issue brought up by Peter Lau probably only occurs with that particular branch.
After all, the price is decided by the stall owner.
However, Mr Huang said that if there is really a problem, they could take it up to the management.
“This kind of behaviour is wrong. If the price has already been stated, he can’t change it arbitrarily.”
On the other hand, it seems like the Bedok South stall owner couldn’t care less.
He said, “We have always sold (our chicken rice) this way, and we haven’t encountered anyone who was unhappy.”
Uh, are you sure about that?
Because the Facebook comment section is filled with complaints.
Many concurred that they had the pricier option foisted upon them or complained that the portioning was pathetic, to say nothing of the chicken flattening tactics and the measly cucumber slices.
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