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Best Retail Service in Singapore, and the world we live in

Character #1: Shop cashier
Character #2: Customer

Act 1
Scene 1: Present time in a bakery, somewhere in Singapore. A customer picks up some pastries and proceeds to the checkout counter.

Shop cashier: [No greetings whatsoever, but like a robot, one hand automatically grabs each piece of pastry and shoves it into a small plastic bag grabbed simultaneously by the other hand.]
Customer: [Shocked and anxiously] No! Please, can you put everything into just one bag?
Shop cashier: [Looks as if she suddenly realised that the customer is another human being, and doubtfully] How would that fit? (Note: her hands have not completely stopped grabbing and shoving yet)
Customer: [Annoyed too but tried to be calm] Yes, it will, if you were to place them all in a bigger bag.
Shop cashier: [Even more annoyed, and thinks that the customer is nuts. Picks up another bigger bag and place the rest of the pastries into it, extremely unwillingly]
Customer: [Puzzled by the cashier’s irritation] And I don’t need a carrier bag.
Shop cashier: [Obviously bewildered] Huh?
Customer: [Quickly took the packed pastries from the counter, and paid for the purchase] That will do, thank you very much. [Exit]

Everything is back to normal operating mode. One bag per pastry, plus a carrier bag. Everyone’s happy.
[End of Act 1]

That, is a typical scene I normally encounter - or rather, create - while shopping in Singapore, especially while buying pastries. Shopping here in Asia is indeed a battle. I often find myself at the brink of having a fight with the cashiers, just because they are always mysteriously not willing to let me NOT waste a bag. Hence, I usually have to raise my voice, because they are so quick in shoving things into bags, and are so hypnotised by the routine they almost can’t hear me.

These workers are so mechanically trained that they will automatically, speedily shove every single item you have on the tray, into separate plastic bags. So fast that it’s faster than you can even say “please have everything in one single bag”, or in the Asian way of communicating, “one bag enough!” or “no need bag!”

They are so mechanically programmed that when you interrupt them and give them a non-programmed instruction, they do not know how to react. And they simply cannot understand why on earth does someone not want many plastic bags, or any plastic bag. Plastic bags are darn good, are they not?

Now, I ensure that I tell them that or wave my own shopping bags in their face, before they can see what I am buying.

I still remember those good old days, when we had to bring along our own stainless steel containers to get takeaway food. There was minimal wastage, because nearly no bag was used. It was less costly, and probably more hygienic too.

But that’s all changed now. Thanks to the advancement of modern technology, the quality of modern human life is “improved” and “upgraded” tremendously. Earthlings now no longer need to do washing up after a takeaway meal. They can have all the disposable plastic bags or containers they want – to the extent of requesting separate containers or bags for each item they buy. But what’s wrong with placing all in one container? Well they surely have bloody good reasons not to:
1. They may have to consume one at a time, so that they can just dispose of the container or bag right away. Hassle free.
2. They may have bought, let’s say, different types of cakes. So it is utterly SENSIBLE to separate them, otherwise these different flavours are going to interfere with, and spoil each other’s taste. And that’s definitely not acceptable! How uncivilised! Bear in mind, these people often pride themselves as connoisseurs. As if.
3. It is ‘hygienic’.


Exactly how hygienic is it to use these disposable containers? I really doubt it. Have you ever seen them being manufactured? The chemicals used to create the polymer that forms plastic, are undoubtedly harmful. The making of it definitely does not involve very hygienic procedures - the molds, the machines, the air and the floor of the factory - think about it.

Have u seen how they store these plastic or polystyrene cups and containers at the back of the shop? Well of course, if you just close your eyes and not look at it, it will be ok. I’m sure. But the next time you buy a very trendy cup of branded coffee, think.

At least if you use your own containers, you are dealing with the germs from your own body. You probably already have the immunity towards it, so why worry? We should really worry more about being too sanitised and sterilised nowadays.


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