Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the CDC vouchers that the government recently gave out earlier this year.
And most of us have probably already begun using them to purchase all sorts of items, whether it’s at supermarkets or hawker centres.
But one customer at a chicken rice stall didn’t manage to do so after one of the stall’s employees told him that they weren’t accepting CDC vouchers as a form of payment.
The employee even told the customer that he shouldn’t order a meal if he doesn’t have money with him.
Here’s what happened and what you need to know.
When speaking to Shin Min Daily News, the customer, Mr Lai (Hanyu pinyin), explained he visited the Dong Dong Hainanese Chicken Rice Stall located at the People’s Park Food Centre last Wednesday (11 January). He was there at around 7 pm that day.
Just like most of us who’ve received our vouchers, he wanted to use his CDC vouchers to pay for his meal, which cost $5.50.
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However, the employee refused to accept the vouchers when Mr Lai, 50, came forth to pay for his meal with them.
Mr Lai added that there was a sticker stating that CDC vouchers were accepted at the stall, which prompted him to ask the employee why he could not pay with the vouchers.
After hearing Mr Lai’s question, the employee told him that the machine used to scan the vouchers was spoilt.
When Mr Lai tried to reason with the employee, the employee even allegedly said that Mr Lai should not have ordered food from the stall if he didn’t have money with him.
Of course, this angered Mr Lai, and I’m sure most of us would also be angry if we were faced with the same situation.
Regarding the incident, Mr Lai pointed out that the government issued CDC vouchers for members of the public to use them, meaning that they should have the right to use them at the participating establishments.
Apart from that, he also touched on how there are many senior citizens who frequent the Chinatown area and that stallholders should remove their CDC stickers or put up a notice if they do not accept CDC vouchers.
This is so that customers would not need to queue up for a long time only to find out that the vouchers are not accepted, especially if they do not have sufficient cash on hand when ordering their meals.
He also said that he was unsure if the stall did not accept the CDC vouchers due to how busy the employees were at the time.
As for Mr Lai, he eventually decided to pay for his order in cash before leaving as he did not want to hold up the queue behind him.
(Another) Employee’s Response
When Shin Min reporters visited the stall on Sunday (15 January), a cashier surnamed Guo (Hanyu pinyin) revealed that the tablet used by the stall to scan the QR code of the CDC vouchers has been spoilt for the past week. Currently, the tablet is undergoing repairs.
For now, the stall can only use Guo’s own mobile phone to scan customers’ CDC vouchers.
However, Guo also explained that there are times when he is not at the stall. In addition, he cannot leave his mobile phone with his colleagues (for obvious reasons).
Hence, the stall will not be able to accept customers’ CDC vouchers if Guo is not at the stall. He also clarified that Mr Lai visited the stall when he was not there.
On the other hand, Guo said that he would inform his employer about his employee’s poor service towards Mr Lai.
He added that his colleague might have reacted in that manner due to the large crowd of customers and highlighted that the stall has always welcomed the use of CDC vouchers.
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Other Hawkers’ Opinions: CDC Vouchers Encourage Patrons to Spend More
As for what other hawkers think about the CDC vouchers, it seems like they’re generally supportive of the scheme.
Mr Wang (Hanyu pinyin), the stallholder of the fishball noodle store at People’s Park Food Centre, shared that the number of customers using CDC vouchers to pay for their merchandise has recently increased.
He added that most customers who use the vouchers are senior citizens.
Regarding the use of CDC vouchers, Mr Wang mentioned that they still earn money when customers pay with their CDC vouchers. Hence, his stall welcomes customers to pay for their food with their CDC vouchers.
Mr Huang (Hanyu pinyin), the stallholder of the mixed vegetable rice stall at the same hawker centre, revealed that many customers tend to order more dishes from his stall when they use the CDC vouchers to purchase their food.
He echoed similar sentiments as Mr Wang, saying that customers paying with their vouchers “doesn’t make much of a difference” since the stallholders are still making money.
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