NTUC FairPrice has been around for a very long time, a good 43 years in fact, and through the trials and tribulations of time, they have had their fair share of myths and mysteries surrounding this gigantic supermarket chain in Singapore.
With over 130 outlets operating here on the island and serving over 430,000 customers per day, we like to think that we’re fairly acquainted with this social enterprise in one way or another.
Whenever you see the word “NTUC FairPrice” on the news, the internet or Facebook, you’ll definitely check it out and more often than not, you’ll pay attention to the controversies about them on the net because, well, we’re kaypo like that.
Recently, we were invited to NTUC FairPrice for an inside look at their operations in Food Safety Management which we will be covering in another article. Given how most of us get our groceries and produce from NTUC FairPrice, we should all be concerned about the quality of food from the supermarket, right?
Anyway, that trip brought us down another avenue of thought. Given how NTUC FairPrice is trying to be transparent about their processes, has there been any time where they were actually embroiled in controversial events?
Here is the truth about NTUC FairPrice scams and myths, our friendly neighbourhood supermarket that will either shock you, or make you go apeshit.
Myth #1: NTUC FairPrice giving out $100 coupon
If you remember, back in October last year, there was this message circulating around Facebook about how NTUC FairPrice is giving out $100 coupons to Facebook users who click on the link? Well, NTUC FairPrice came forward to clarify that the event is, in fact, a scam and they did not create, nor did they endorse the “deal”.
Fact: If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.
Myth #2: NTUC FairPrice sells “Halal” Pork
Yes, you heard that right, “Halal” pork. Half of the nation was skeptical, the other half was furious beyond belief.
What might be a tasteless joke was taken seriously by the supermarket chain who lodged a police report and assured the public that all halal produce and non-halal produce are kept separated.
In addition, they urge customers not to place non-halal items with halal items when they decide they didn’t want a certain item.
Yes, we’ve all placed items we don’t want at nearby shelves regardless of where we took them from; admit it.
Fact: A tasteless joke that might turn serious and haunt you if you get caught
Myth #3: NTUC FairPrice charges high to profit from end-consumers
Remember how prices of essentials like eggs and rice increased when there’s an import ban or shortage?
It could have been worse, without NTUC FairPrice being the last to raise prices, consumers may have had to spend more to purchase from other sources.
We’ve heard from a friend who has worked in a company supplying to NTUC FairPrice: about how it’s difficult to raise the price of their goods and how NTUC FairPrice would negotiate to minimize price increase, don’t we?
In fact, NTUC FairPrice even goes out of its way to ensure it diversifies its sources to ensure that Singaporeans won’t be held hostage by sudden events that cause prices to rise.
Cost of N95 masks during 2013 haze crisis
You’ll probably be happy to know that NTUC FairPrice aims to be one of the first to drop prices and one of the last to raise them.
Think of it this way, if NTUC FairPrice isn’t here to moderate prices, we’ll probably be paying through our nose for basic essentials.
Fact: They charge high only if they have to, and even so, they’ll drop it like it’s hot when they can
Myth #4: NTUC FairPrice scam for sea cucumber
Yes, we were surprised to hear about this scam. Until we heard the price as well. The contributor wrote in about how he bought a packet of sea cucumber for $7.90, and it looked like tau kee. We agree with one of the comments on the article itself: Good grade ones sold at raw seafood outlets are sold for $30 to $50. It’s your choice.
Fact: You get what you pay for.
Myth #5: NTUC FairPrice is exempted from the foreign worker quota
Now, this was something we came across some time back, when all the companies in Singapore were scrutinized heavily for utilizing foreign workers instead of Singaporeans in an effort to cut cost. NTUC FairPrice has come out to state that 90% of their current workforce consists of either Singaporeans or PRs. We’re likely to believe them because we’ve all been to NTUC FairPrice, and most of the staff we see belongs to the Singaporean aunties/uncles or students out working on their holidays.
Fact: Like we said, Singaporean aunties/uncles and students.
Myth #6: NTUC FairPrice used inaccurate weighing scales to overcharge consumers
When the incident first took place, one common sentiment everyone had was: how long has this been going on? Yes, we’re talking about how Mr Ng, the affected shopper paid 94 cents more than he should have because his broccoli was inaccurately weighed (~136g lighter than stated on label). NTUC FairPrice provided a full refund, checked through all weighing scales at all outlets and implement new processes to ensure that this does not take place again.
Fact: Because of this isolated incident, new processes were put in place to minimize such accidents from happening again. Now that we weigh our own vegetables, you can weigh other products to ensure accuracy yourself.
Myth #7: NTUC FairPrice cigarette machines are more troublesome for consumers and staff
FairPrice piloted a cigarette vending machine back in March this year. The machine, NTUC FairPrice said, will increase productivity as this cut back on time required for manual stock taking of cigarettes, which can be better utilized elsewhere. If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking: good for the staff but what about me?
Compared to over-the-counter sales, you have to make payment at the counter, get a receipt and the staff will help to assist you in obtaining the pack of cigarettes from that machine. Sounds troublesome? You bet. But this will be last of your worries, because every retailer will be banned from having point-of-sale displays of tobacco products in 2017, so it’s going to get more troublesome everywhere anyway.
Fact: It’s still a testing phase for the machine right now. Make your way to NTUC FairPrice @ Peace Centre to check it out for yourself.
Myth #8: #Damnautocorrectfails
And finally, for our last, and funniest point—typos. Who doesn’t have them, especially with such powderful autocorrect functions in our smartphones and computers? Here are the two funniest R-rated typos accidentally made by NTUC FairPrice.
Who needs Popcorn when you can have PORNcorn? Not suitable for kids under the age of 18 please.
Coconut was shortened to C’nut and auto corrected to, well, you can read for yourself. Now you know why the internet had a heyday when this took place, no?
Fact: Even big supermarket chains are not immune to embarrassing typo errors.