If you go “simi sai!?” when you read the headline, whether it’s due to the price of the masks or the sudden cancellation, I don’t blame you.
After all, we’re talking about Buzz Convenience Store that’s under SPH (though there might be franchise): a reputable brand that definitely won’t jump on the surgical mask bandwagon.
Well, they did, and they’re sorry about it.
Buzz Convenience Store, The Store That’s Everywhere
Lest you’ve not been out of your house since SARS, you might not know that there are many orange kiosks known as Buzz Convenience Store that’ve been popping up in primarily MRT stations or bus interchanges.
Fondly known as Buzz to us Singaporeans, they’re like small versions of 7-Eleven, selling snacks, drinks and some thingy known as newspapers. And it’s owned by SPH, though the media brand has been noticeably absence in their shops.
The URL of Buzz is still sphbuzz.com, though.
In a shocking move, the brand suddenly posted this this morning:
The WTF cat then appeared.
WTF is Buzz selling surgical masks? And at $35 a box? Who’s next to sell masks: a seafood restaurant?
Reader Bao: There was a seafood restaurant in Singapore that really sold masks.
Oh. But anyways.
Fishy prices side, why must it be at 3pm? Is that a lucky timing or would that be when the masks would magically appear in the 14 outlets?
What’s even more WTF is that the brand didn’t even emphasize that only unwell people should wear a mask. Where’s the social responsibility ah?
So many questions and yet no answers.
And so, people queued or went to the shop…only to see this:
Because 1.5 hour before the doors to masks open, Buzz posted this:
But if you’re a kiasu or kiasi Singaporean, you’ve probably queued at Buzz—a sight that you’d most probably see once every 13 years.
Here are the exact words by Buzz:
We have decided to stop the sale of surgical masks at the selected Buzz Convenience Stores, which had been announced in The New Paper and Lianhe Zaobao this morning.
The sale was a misguided attempt to meet public demand for masks. We have decided instead to donate the masks to charities in need of the supplies.
It was an error in judgement and we are sorry for any inconvenience caused as well.
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Now, that’s bad, but we live in a capitalist society, so Buzz is just making an unpopular decision for their company’s bottom line mah, no?
Surgical Masks Are Short in Demand Worldwide
The WHO chief has come out to say that the supply of surgical masks is now “insufficient”, and it’s due to “widespread inappropriate use of PPE outside patient care.”
In other words, the very simple act of someone wearing a mask when he doesn’t need one could contribute to the lack of masks in important places, like a hospital.
The act of selling one to someone who doesn’t need it?
So it’s goody that Buzz has decided to donate the masks to “charities in need of the supplies”. But baddy that they only did it after drawing flak.