Well, you probably know by now that the iconic Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar is back, after taking a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of us would probably have anticipated snaking queues and large crowds, just like the bazaars of previous years.
But it seems like the bazaar, which opened on 2 April this year, has yet to live up to its past reputation yet this year.
And it’s not hard to spot it.
On 21 April, the founder of Let’s Pretzel posted the following video on TikTok:
@letspretzelsg Honestly just trying to at least break even for this Geylang Bazaar. D-10 days 😢 #geylangbazaar #ramadan2022 #fyp #sgtiktok ♬ Big And Chunky – Juan Torres 🤠
Let’s Pretzel is one of the stalls at this year’s Geylang Serai’s pasar malam, which is officially known as the Geylang Serai Hari Raya Shopping Experience.
If Let’s Pretzel doesn’t sound familiar to you, here’s another brand that might: Nasty Cookie. As mentioned by AsiaOne, Let’s Pretzel is a “solo concept” that was set up by one of the co-founders of Nasty Cookie, a popular cookie brand in Singapore.
And in case you’re wondering what Let’s Pretzel sells, they sell… Pretzels.
But not just any kind of pretzels. The stall has various savoury and sweet pretzels such as their Sour Cream N Chips, Ondeh Ondeh, and Pepperoni and Cheese flavours.
Each pretzel costs $6.
$50,000 Was Spent on the Stall; Lacklustre Crowd at Bazaar
The video, which has since garnered over 167,200 views on TikTok, was filmed by its founder Regine Sum.
It had the text “How did you spend SGD 50,000+ in two weeks?!” plastered over the video.
Yup, bet you didn’t know that it’s so expensive to set up a stall at a pasar malam these days.
The clip also briefly showed the crowd at one of the aisles in the bazaar.
And well, the crowd was… lacklustre, to say the least.
Of course, many netizens jumped to comment once they saw the exorbidant fees that Sum, 25, had paid in order to set up a stall at the pasar malam.
Some were in clear shock at how costly it was for Sum to set up her stall, while others were confused and commented things such as “you spend on what???”
Of course, there were also a few commenters who pointed out how the price was clearly not worth it, saying that this amount could be used for other purposes such as renovating a HDB flat and opening a permanent coconut shake stand.
Sum then left a comment in the comments section that explained how the costs added up to a whopping $50,000. According to her, the $50,000 included the “rental, sink fee, electricity fee, food equipments, booth set up, packaging and logistics” as well as “15 days worth of manpower cost”.
After reading her explanation, some netizens expressed their encouragement and sympathy, while others still left comments of disapproval regarding Sum’s business choices.
And of course, some also heaved a sigh of relief after realising that she was not a customer who had spent $50,000 on food at the bazaar, unlike what the caption in the video initially suggested.
Reason Behind Costs
Sum also mentioned to AsiaOne that her stall was only able to start operating a week after the bazaar started due to how the management only told her that a stall was available for her “at the last minute”.
She ended up only having three days to set up her stall, and the last-minute arrangements also resulted in greater costs.
Thus, her stall ended up missing the crowd that came down on the first few days to try food from the different stalls, as well as the coverage from the media.
Despite the high costs at first, Sum also shared that she still continued to push forth and set up her stall due to the confidence that she had in her product. She also said that friends who ran stalls in previous pre-COVID Ramadan bazaars told her that they could make “above $100,000” through a month of working at the bazaar.
Apart from that, given the reduced number of stalls in this year’s bazaar, Sum also concluded that there would be “less competition”, thus resulting in greater profits.
Just Wants to “Break Even”
In the caption of her TikTok video, Sum claimed that she was “Honestly just trying to at least break even for this Geylang Bazaar”.
Additionally, there were also commenters who said that earning a decent amount should not be challenging at the bazaar.
However, Sum, who has been working every day at the bazaar, replied by saying that the “situation now is totally different and shocking”.
She also told AsiaOne that she makes around $2,000 to $2,400 per day at the bazaar, and just hopes that she will break even by the time the bazaar ends.
With the bazaar ending on 2 May, Sum also brought up how she does not think that sales will improve further, as seen from the decreasing number of patrons at the bazaar this week.
Sum also mentioned that the wet weather as of late, coupled with the crowd control measures that the management has implemented, may have resulted in the less-than-ideal crowd at the bazaar.
She claimed that management stops potential customers from entering the bazaar from 10.30pm onwards, even though the bazaar officially closes at 11pm.
Despite the lack of business she has seen for her own stall, she admits that there are still a few “popular” stalls at the bazaar that still have queues, although even those queues may see a dip in customers from time to time as well.
According to Sum, other stallholders have also reported the same situation with their stalls, with one stallholder even going the distance to try and hire an emcee in order to boost their business.
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Featured Image: TikTok (@letspretzelsg)
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