Man shares tough lessons learnt after $17 cai png with 'unfair burden' of 15% CNY surcharge

Submitted by Stomper Disgruntled Customer

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Is economic rice really economical?

That was the question posed by Stomper Disgruntled Customer after he was hit by a $17.02 bill for his meal at VivoCity's food court on Feb 12. He had ordered rice with four dishes from Jia Jia Le Cuisine at Food Republic.

According to his receipt, the Stomper was charged $14.80 for fried rice, one vegetable and three meats. There was an additional 15% surcharge of $2.22 due to the festive season.

However, the customer told Stomp that the four dishes he ordered were tofu, egg, sweet & sour pork, and beef.

This matches photos that he shared, though the egg might have contained meat and therefore been considered a meat dish.

The Stomper also felt 'forced' to get fried rice as there was no white rice option.

Disgruntled Customer said: "Disappointment filled my stomach alongside the food. While I was expecting a typical $10 economic rice experience, I was hit with a $17.02 bill – a surprise fuelled by a 15% Chinese New Year surcharge and hidden dish costs.

"Let's break it down:

"The 15% CNY surcharge: I understand rising costs, including the 9% GST, but shouldn't these be accounted for in the regular pricing? Will there be surcharges for every major holiday? It feels unfair to burden customers solely during festive seasons.

"Mystery Menu, Mystery Price: My four-dish order lacked transparency. Knowing individual dish prices would have helped to manage expectations and avoid such shock.

"White Rice MIA: When 'economic' becomes 'exclusive', something is wrong. The lack of a white rice option, forcing a choice between fried rice and bee hoon, adds unnecessary cost, defeating the purpose of 'economic'."

The Stomper also shared "lessons learnt" from the unpleasant experience.

He added: "Ask First, Pay Later: Don't assume affordability in 'economic rice' stalls. Ask for individual dish prices to avoid surprises.

"Transparency Matters: Hawkers, displaying individual dish prices can build trust and avoid unpleasant surprises for customers."

Disgruntled Customer also gave his "final verdict", explaining: "This was my first and last visit to Jia Jia Le Cuisine. While I support hawkers, exorbitant pricing and hidden costs undermine the concept of 'economic'.

"Transparency and reasonable pricing are key to winning customers, not just during festive seasons.

"Perhaps VivoCity's Food Republic needs to re-evaluate the true meaning of 'economic rice' for the benefit of both customers and hawkers."