SINGAPORE: In stark contrast to the past, when a modest 20 cents was charged for iced water or ice kosong and canned drinks, or coffee would be sold for under a dollar, some Singaporeans are now finding that they would have to fork out a hefty 80 cents for a cup of tap water at certain establishments.
Surprisingly, this even exceeds the cost of a cup of kopi o found elsewhere. For instance, a beverage stall in Kallang’s Block 56 Jalan Benaan Kapal offers customers a large cup of kopi o for a mere S$0.60.
In contrast, at the coffeeshop in Block 631 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, a cup of plain water is priced at S$0.60. To add ice to the water, customers are required to pay an additional 20 cents, bringing the total cost of a cup of ice water to S$0.80.
According to Shin Min Daily News, coffee prices at this stall generally ranged from $1.30 to $1.60, with iced coffee costing $2. This steep price increase has led some residents to question whether they would be better off buying their drinks from food courts in shopping malls, as prices at coffee shops have almost caught up with those in malls.
An Ang Mo Kio resident named Zhang told the Chinese Daily, “The price of drinks in a neighborhood coffee shop should be more affordable. If it is too high, it will be a burden to some residents and the elderly.”
The significant price hikes have raised concerns among customers who question the affordability of basic amenities in local coffeeshops. However, the coffeeshop manager defended the increases, attributing them to rising operational costs.
Arguing that expenses such as rent, utilities, and employee salaries have necessitated the adjustment in prices, the manager, Mr Li, also expressed frustration that customers often overlook the cost of running the business and focus solely on the starting price of the drinks.
This is not the first time complaints about high prices for tap water have emerged. In May, a woman expressed shock when a drink seller at Amoy Street Food Centre charged her $1.40 for iced water. She had expected the water to cost no more than 50 cents, as it did before the pandemic.
As customers voice their concerns about rising prices at local coffee shops, it remains to be seen how businesses will respond to these complaints and whether measures will be taken to ensure more reasonable pricing for essential items like water.