Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Attack of the Supermarket Shoppers 1 - Fruits

Every Sunday is a supermarket Sunday for us. We visit either the IMM Supermarket at Jurong East, where there is a 3-hour free parking, or the Fairprice Supermart at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre. While waiting for my wife to complete her purchases, I have the luxury of time to observe the behaviour of the shoppers around me. Some of their antics were amusing but some were downright disgusting but then who am I to judge? I just wonder how the supermarket owners would classify them or their behaviours when they reviewed their CCTV cameras video capture.
Here are some of the observations:

At the Fruit Section
Many fruits are now nicely pre-packed in Styrofoam or PET packs for the obvious reasons of hygiene and convenience. However some are not pre-packed because of their size or due to customers' preference in different quantity ie giving a choice to the customer.

-  Tasting : for those 'loose' fruits like cherry, lychees, longans, etc, there will be shoppers who unshamingly peel off the skin and taste them on the spot. Some would shyly grab a couple and nonchalantly put them into their mouth, away from the glare of others. Once, I offered a lady my spare plastic bag when I saw her choosing cherries, which were expensive, beside me. She was holding some in her hands (yes, both hands). She declined, saying that she would get her own nearby and walked away. I did not see her again.
Leftover skin and seeds at the lychee stand in a supermarket. Shoppers balantly peel and taste the fruit, most not buying afterwards

-  Pressing: there were some who would press the fruits through the packing and you would usually find 'nail marks' on the skin or flesh of such fruits eg durian, starfruit. These marks were so obvious. Will those culprits buy the package that has been dented? I believed not!

-  Grabbing : Once the supermarket worker starts to replenish the stock, you will find many eager buyers waiting like frenzied vultures around him. Before he can finish pouring the box content into the display area, eager hands in the rugby scrum will try grab the 'biggest' and freshest. This usually happened when mangoes, melons, apples are on sale. It did not end there as some shoppers would continue to wait for the next box to be poured...hoping for a better (?) fruit. I really do not know when they will be satisfied with their purchase which is already the freshest (straight from the box) at that moment.
Shoppers rushed to grab the new stock of cherries even before the employee finished unloading.

-  Tearing : Among the boxes of prepacked fruits, one could always find some with their packing literally torn even those in cardboard carton like persimmons, Philippines or Indian mangoes. It seemed that the shoppers were looking deep inside for its freshness, quality, size, whatever. I have seen some shoppers changing the content inside...of course to change for the larger fruit found in another box. Those which were weighed and tagged were not spared either. The shoppers didn't bother that there would be a change of price for the these weighed item after the exchange!!!! Who wiould buy those with torn packaging??

-  Abandoning : Among the shelves, one could find packages of weighed fruit which have been abandoned either due to the price (shocked by it) or their whims. Some fruits like Cherries seemed to be deceptively cheap...12 cents per 100gm. Thus you find shoppers eagerly choosing the best and reddest, most perfect in shape....until they go to the counter to weigh them!!! They were then shocked by the price. They thought that no one would see them abandoning the item on other shelves......Sometimes I would take those abandoned packages as I believed the previous shopper would have taken the time and effort to choose the best, thus sparing me the trouble.

Vegetable or fruit? A bitter gourd at the apple stand. Fruits, eggs, bread were found on top of fruit cartons

Goodies or drinks? Some were abandoned after weighing.

Supermarket vs Neighbourhood shops
The supermarket/hypermarket may be giving too much respect to the shoppers. It could be their fault or they are too sensitive to the demands of the shoppers that they allowed the uncivilized actions to happen. Imagine shoppers choosing or tasting the fruits before buying in the neighbourhood shops. Will those shoppers do the same? They would be charged (below picture taken from a shop in popular fruit shop in Jurong West) ..... would they be willing to pay 90 cents to test taste a lychee?? Moreover, some vendors could be hurling some choice words if you wished to choose or while you were choosing, especially on those who did it excessively. Yes, everyone of us wanted to select the best but to do it at the expense of others is not the way. Who would want goods damaged by you? There must be mutual respect.

Will you pay 90 cents to test taste a lychee??

80 cents for a mangosteen? You pay up as you taste!!!

I have no interest in any supermarket/hypermarket either as an owner, proprietor or employee. I am just your average consumer.

No comments: