Last Updated on 2022-02-07 , 7:14 pm
On 5 February, 23-year-old Ukrainian model by the name of Nina Monzolevska, who currently resides in Singapore, went onto Tiktok to express her unhappiness about the mislabelling of a piece of chicken breast she bought.
In the short 11-second video, Monzolevska took her bought chicken breast that was supposed to weigh 0.224kg and placed it on the weighing scale twice, but her weighing scale showed that the chicken breast was only 0.166kg both times.
In the captions, the Ukrainian model wrote: “Why is FairPrice doing this to its customers? 🥺” and “FairPrice doesn’t seem that fair anymore :(“.
@ninamonzolevska FairPrice doesn’t seem that fair anymore:( #sg #singapore #fyp ♬ original sound – Nina Monzolevska
In just a single day, her Tiktok video has garnered more than 340,5000 views and over 6,000 comments.
Some commenters made light of the situation, going along with her latter joke to make fun of FairPrice’s name:
While others tried to come up with viable explanations for the difference in weight.
Some proposed that perhaps the weight was taken before the bone was removed, to which someone immediately refuted by saying that’s probably not the practice that FairPrice employs, while others think it could be a human mistake of someone pasting the wrong tag on the product.
The small difference could also be attributed to water loss or slight shrinkage of the meat, so on and so forth.
In any case, the weight difference is plain for all to witness, and there’s no denying that there was a mistake somewhere in the chain of distribution and packaging.
The Mislabelling Is Not a One-Off
Besides the previous comments, Nina and some of the other more sensitive users realised that this was not the first time they had encountered such an issue.
One of the commenters by the name of Bhaskunju, even pointed out that this is “not the first time they’ve done this” and Nina responds with her agreement, saying that “it [has] happened to me before [a] couple of times as well”.
Afterwards, Bhaskunju touched on the fact that this issue has cropped up before in 2015.
His comment was proven true as there was a letter written to The Straits Times, dating back to 10 November 2015, where Mr Ng Chong Kee noted that his vegetables were lighter than its labelled weight, which meant that he was paying more for the produce.
Mr Ng wrote that he bought a broccoli that was supposedly 0.336kg for $2.32 but it was only 0.2kg when he checked it on his own weighing scale.
He went back to the store to make inquiries. The supervisor acknowledged his doubts and placed it on another weighing machine.
The weighing machine proceeded to show that that the broccoli was indeed 0.2kg, with the new price tag being $1.38, which was a price difference of $0.94.
After coming to this revelation, Mr Ng told his neighbour about it, since she shopped at the same supermarket, and she also went back to have her items re-weighed.
- Her carrots were labelled at 0.836kg and priced at $1.59, but its actual weight was 0.649kg so it was repriced at $1.32.
- Her broccoli supposedly weighed 0.874kg and was priced at $6.03, but it was actually 0.739kg and should have only costed $5.05.
- Her red chilis were originally weighed 0.280kg and priced at $1.45, but it was reweighed as 0.142kg and repriced for $0.74.
The differences in prices might seem small, but when added together, his neighbour paid an extra $1.98.
For lower-income families where every dollar and cent counts, this sum can add up quickly, especially since vegetables and poultry are daily necessities.
In response to the letter, NTUC carried out an investigation the next day, alleging that this string of errors was solely because of one faulty weighing machine at the FairPrice outlet near Bukit Batok MRT.
The affected weighing machine has been re-calibrated, but to guarantee its accuracy, NTUC decided to send it back for an additional inspection and verify it with the authorities before ever utilising it again.
My guess is that they probably threw that machine away, better safe than sorry.
The Corporate Communications at NTUC FairPrice, Mr Jonas Kor, then assured the public that the other scales were in functioning order. To offer additional insurance, all of the FairPrice supermarkets island-wide were instructed to recheck their scales and re-weigh all the produce to guarantee the exact weights and corresponding prices.
Lastly, he said that they would be taking additional measures to ensure that it would not happen again.
But The Mistake Repeated Itself
However, with Monozolevska’s Tiktok video, it’s evident that it has happened once more.
And this time, it has reached the wider mainstream media compared to just a newspaper article.
Shortly after the Tiktok video blew up online, NTUC FairPrice issued a Facebook Post, stating that they are aware of the discrepancy at one of their stores.
“Ensuring product integrity, which includes accurate labelling is of paramount importance to us… To safeguard the interests of our customers, we have in place a policy where we will honour a full refund or exchange for products that have been inaccurately labelled.”
While the post smells of heavy Public Relations writing, it is assuring to know that FairPrice is at least willing to upkeep the value of “Fairness” in their name.
We certainly don’t want the jokes about the supermarket’s name to come true, or else NTUC Fairprice will be facing some Giant or Super Fierce (Sheng Siong) competition as its credibility takes a hit.
Given how swift their response was, it doesn’t seem like FairPrice will be chickening out of this matter, and they will definitely get to the bottom of the issue.
Putting aside FairPrice’s promises of being fairly price though, this might be a good wake up call to fellow Singaporeans about being more conscientious towards the products we place in our baskets after a casual glance.
It is always good to double-check the weight and prices for produce, plus the condition of the items, to ensure that we’re getting their money’s worth.
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Featured Images: Tiktok (@ninamonzolevska) & Facebook (NTUC FairPrice)
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