SINGAPORE: A woman who ordered cai png (economy rice) “felt scammed” when she was “strangely charged” $10.10. She shared on Reddit: “I was charge $10.1 for above cai png at commonwealth mrt stn Kou Fu. I immediately felt scammed. But what happened next was just mind-boggling.”
Sharing what happened when she asked the aunty about the price, she added: “Upon questioning, the aunty told me that fried rice costs $2, the two veggie costs $1.7 each, the kung pao chicken costs $2 and the pork with tau pok costs $4, which adds up to $11.4. So at this point i feel the aunty is just anyhow inflating the price of each dish so she can justify charging me the insane amount.”
Stunned by what happened, she asked Redditors: “Do you guys also encounter this? Who can I talk to about this strange behaviour? I didn’t see any contact number on the stall itself.”
User Aromatic_Map6167 shared his honest thoughts about food pricing, saying, “Honestly, the term economical rice is no longer economical unless you take simple veg or meat dishes like cai xing and sweet & sour pork. Gone are the days where it is reasonable, esp in food courts. You want cheap economical rice? Go hdb estates instead of food courts. I do not eat at food courts if I have a choice as it is more pricey and less value for money.”
Another user explained why food stalls today are ‘more profit oriented’: “Most stalls, especially in foodcourts, are no longer owned by ‘hawkers’ who operate and earn from their own stall. They are owned by food operators who manage a large number of stalls – like Chang Chen for economical rice. The old hawkers can serve food at low and depressed prices because they don’t price their labour well, but these food operators are lot more profit oriented + you are now paying for both the towkay salary and the caifan cooks salary. And of course rent is another issue.”
User rustyleak jokingly added, “No longer economical rice. More like astronomical rice.”
In an era when “economical rice” seems to be losing its affordability, this situation sheds light on the growing economic concerns of consumers in Singapore.