Friday, November 11, 2005

Must read Straits Times Forum Letter!!!

With 300,000 workers earning less than $1200 per month, and thousands without jobs, people digging dustbins for aluminium cans to get by....... a very observant Justin Zhuang notices his fast food pricing is not quite right. The discount on his combo meals is not consistent.....he is so troubled....this issue appears to be a big problem for him. Big enough for him to write to the Straits Times, big enough for the Straits Times to set aside precious space to print his letter. Our education system really help our youths focus on the really important stuff in life....

Yes we are all so lucky to be living in Singapore where things like fast food pricing is an important issue......

Same fries and drink but different combo prices

MY GIRLFRIEND and I were having dinner at Carl's Junior when she noticed that the price differences for the combos did not make sense. A combo consists of a burger plus fries and a drink.The differences between the price of a combo and the burger should be equal as the extras - fries and a drink - were similar in all combos. This was not the case.
For instance: It did not make sense that a customer would have to pay more for fries and a drink as part of a combo because of the choice of burger. After all, the only difference in the combos is the burger and they are priced differently.
If price were my primary concern, I would choose the cheaper combo. However, we decided to order a combo and a burger alone, and this was where the problem arose.
I ordered a Western Bacon Cheeseburger Combo and a Famous Star Burger and it cost me $13.10. However, if I had ordered a combo for the Famous Star and just a Western Bacon Cheeseburger, my meal would have cost just $12.40.
Essentially, both choices gave me the same items - two burgers, a pack of fries and a drink - but because of this irregularity in pricing, I ended up paying more. This price difference was also present in its other combos.
On further thought, I realised that something like this could also happen in other fast-food chains. A quick check on the prices at McDonald's supported this observation. However, the price discrepancies were not as significant.
Could the respective fast-food chains explain why is there such a price difference in the meals and combos when the extras we are paying for are the same things?
Are consumers aware of this? In my case, a more informed choice would have saved me quite a bit.
Justin Zhuang Yukang


Blue November said...

Im impressed at the way he demands an answer

"Could the respective fast-food chains explain why is there such a price difference in the meals and combos when the extras we are paying for are the same things?
Are consumers aware of this? In my case, a more informed choice would have saved me quite a bit."

With a few changes, he could ask

"Could the respective mininsters explain why is there such a difference in mininster salaries in this country and others when we are paying for the same things?
Are citizens aware of this? In my case, a more informed choice would have saved me quite a bit."

but thank goodness he didnt, the more aware citizens are, the less happy they can be. This is certainly something our country dosent need.

Tempest Blue said...

So many trivial complaints in the ST forums these days.

There's the one about a toilet cleaner washing a toilet brush in the washbasin of a public toilet, and another one about how Gotcha's scare tactics can cause heart attacks and miscarriages to pregnant women...

Anonymous said...


Elia Diodati said...

"In my case, a more informed choice would have saved me quite a bit."

Justin really ought to go back and read the capitalist contract between producer and consumer. Caveat emptor.

j u s t i n . z said...

Hi, I am rather surprised my letter ended up on the blog. I'm not sure how to take it. Haha...

Anyhow, I like to say that I was surprised that the ST decided to post this letter of mine instead of the one I wrote regarding press freedom.

In any case, I think the preoccupation with government as a control of a citizen's life in all its forms is too narrow-minded. Today's world I feel, can be suggested to run in collusion with government leaders and profit-minded capitalists.

Beach-yi said...

It's a tad much to think that there's active collusion between government and businesses.

I would suggest that a more plausible way of looking at this is that the goals of businesses is aligned, in an indirect manner, with that of government's. An example would be businesses's goals are to make a profit and stay profitable, in doing so they need skilled people and some unskilled ones to maintain their operations, which in this case coincides with government's aim of getting the people with jobs and paying taxes with their income. Thus more often than not, government would not be hostile towards businesses.

Whew, I hope I got that right.

LuckySingaporean said...


You wrote a letter about Press Freedom and they end up publishing your fast food pricing letter?...WOW!!! Really fantastic isn't it? ....

In the book 1984, the thought police wanted to control people's thinking by inventing a "non-seditious" language called Newspeak - you cannot express seditious ideas using this new language.

Our system offers more subtle and advanced approach through control of information and discussion issues. You can talk all you want long as not too many are listening, that's fine.

libertas said...

Erm justin. Maybe the discount in buying a value meal lies in the burger and not in the irregularities in fries and drink. Like the price of the fries and drink is the same whereas the burgers are different?

Yes. The ST forum page is my daily dose of laughter. The forum page is THE symbol of press freedom, with so much "important" issues being discussed.

Anonymous said...

"It's a tad much to think that there's active collusion between government and businesses."

Well, beach-yi, I don't think it's too much at all to say so. It is the truth that businesses, especially successful ones, have an enormous amount of clout over govts all over the world And govts actively woo or give concessions, ease regulations to businesses that they favour, i.e. that earn them the most money in taxes/revenue.

It's not incidental at all that the great capitalist evils of the world today are tobacco companices, pharmaceuticals and formula milk companies. Why do you think it's taken so long for any action to be taken against tobacco companies, despite the well-established health risks of smoking. Why do you think formula milk companies are given so much freedom to advertise and promote their products, even though all research shows that breastmilk is way superior to any formula milk that money can buy. (Think - breastmilk is free, but to feed a growing baby/child can set an a family back by $25-$50 a week.) Any why do you think pharmaceuticals are given so much funding and backing by govts? It's not because they cure diseases or have effective vaccines (which by they way, if you do your research, are far more dangerous to receive than the diseases themselves.) It's because they earn so much money from ordinary folks and hypochondriacs and pay so much taxes that they justify govts spending billions of dollars on them, and the cycle repeats.

If govts were really concerned about the healthcare and well-being of their people, they would have to make groundsweeping, radical changes to really empower people to lead truly healthy, stress-free/reduced lifestyles. And it all begins with building healthy immune systems form birth, with breastmilk, as few vaccinations as possible and as few environmental and chemical contaminants as possible, rather than the conventional allopathic model of western medicine.

If every citizen of the world were entitled to such healthy, natural living conditions, contagious diseases and chronic illnesses as we know them now, would be wiped out.

All the health and environmental problems we see today are all accumulated because we have tampered with nature's gifts to our immune systems (introducing formula milk, vaccinations, pesticides, unhealthy mass farming production methods).

And for whose gain - money for the capitalists and the politicians.

jim said...

1) just consider the fare cheat bill. why help public-listed companies police their profits? perhaps this could be a possible bargaining chip when the next fare hike comes along.

2) with due respect to justin - besides the all-too-easy excuse of OB markers - has anyone considered that his press freedom piece is not worth a read?

when people are concerned with their livelihood, is there anything wrong when no one is interested in politics?

but seriously, how many national or big-picture issues that concern us have there been year to date?

Anonymous said...

wah lau... ST damn bo liaoz. no wonder it's ranked 140 in the world.

Anonymous said...

almost every letter to the forum has its usefulness. see justin's this way: knowing that they could be cast in an unfavourable light anytime keeps these profit-motivated companies on their toes.

hey people, it's so easy to trivialise his letter. we merely have diff priorities/interests/beliefs etc, so what is trivial to u is not to others.

u may one day write in yourself and people will laugh at it. now how'd u like that?

Fai said...

Lol. Now that I'm abroad, I'm actually quite amused that no-one actually made any noise about the terrible pay... :o

But fast-food pricings? Goodness.

kallaboo said...

sigh...justin...i'm afraid you just didnt convey the same degree of emotion and detail as Ms Goh Ee San who provided us with her perspective of erroneous pricing at NTUC, reproduced kindly here by chlim01.

Anonymous said...

# Glade fragrance beads were being sold at a promotional price of 90 cents but at the checkout the price became $1.30.

# Dodo seastick was priced at $2.10 but I was charged $2.20.

# Mortein liquid vaporiser had its price stated as $7.70 but I was charged $6.70.

The price differences may be very small, but it is the feeling of being misled and being put in a spot at the cashier's that annoys me.



nefret said...

And to think I was considering not subscribing to the online edition! I need to now..just because I am not in Singapore currently doesnt mean I can shirk from my citizen duties of reading letters about discrepancies in fast food pricing and NTUC's inconsistencies.

What do we have to give to have a serious national newspaper that believes in freedom of speech?

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