Monday, February 16, 2009

Stupid is as stupid gets

Ok, ranty post ahead that might sound somewhat elitist. But to say I'm annoyed is an understatement.

I shop at all supermarkets. I generally berate Packrat for only wanting to shop at Cold Storage because things are more expensive there. He understands that it's cheaper elsewhere and he's all for cheap but he doesn't suffer fools gladly and he is of the opinion that there are fewer of them fools at Cold Storage. Of course, fools and stupidity reign. And with a high population density in Singapore, it's quite difficult to avoid stupidity completely.

But today, he made his point. I went to the supermarket. Not Cold Storage. I went to a large supermarket in the heartlands, because I had bought something for Baby J there and the size was wrong. So I went back, with my item, my receipt and went to Customer Service. They told me to go ahead and do my shopping and come back when I was done. Even with my trolley full of stuff? I asked. Yes, even with, was the reply.

Happily I went round and when I was done and making my way back to Customer Service, a dour employee comes up to me and points out I have more than 10 items in my trolley and will be unable to use the express counter she thought I was headed up to. I told her where I was going and in a loud scolding voice she gesticulated wildly and told me I had to go to the cashier to pay first. When I explained what I'd been told, she got another person at the Customer Service to corroborate her stand and sent me packing. Fine. I huffed my way to the shortest queue, all the while looking at my watch because I was due to pick up the kids from school.

Apparently, time was only of the essence for me. Watching paint dry would be quicker than watching the cashier who only spoke Chinese scan the items of the customer ahead of me. When it got to me, she saw that I hadn't placed an item onto the counter and had left it in my trolley. When I told her it was because I wasn't buying the item but exchanging it, she snarkily told me I had to exchange it before queuing at check out. Nope, that was not I was told, I replied equally snarkily and in Chinese. She proceeded to tell me that if I didn't pay for the item and wheeled it out of the store, I would be shoplifting.

This was where it got ridiculous. I was trapped in this bizarro world where to exchange my item, I had to go through check out first. But to go through check out, I had to pay for everything, including the item I wasn't going to pay for because I was going to exchange it. What was a girl to do? My solution, pay for whatever I needed to, back up the trolley, back into the store, traipse down to Customer Service within the store and exchange my item. One would think that would appease all parties involved. But no. I wasn't allowed to. Because backing up would disturb the queue that, by this time, had formed behind me.

At that point, I found the straw that broke that camel's back. Shot a look of sheer fury at the cashier and asked her, what in HER opinion was the best thing to do? Her response, leave my trolley where it was and come back for it once I'd exchange what I needed to. Now, that wasn't going to cause a queue.

I did it my way. I told her, I was going to push the trolley out of the check out lane and I would walk toward the Customer Service. She could watch me. And if I ran away, she could call the police on me. That was when she finally "tiam tiam"- kept quiet and turned away beetroot to the next customer who asked her why she had to make things so difficult. And that was when I decided, shopping in the heartlands can only be done with I have a lot of time, am not in a hurry to pick up my kids and have the patience of a saint.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:48

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