Customer Tells Geylang Hawker She Undercharged For Chwee Kueh & Extra Toppings
Over the past few years, numerous stories of hawkers in Singapore charging exorbitant prices have made the headlines, garnering negative responses in most cases.
Understandably, this has taken a toll on our local hawkers, especially when it concerns charging extra for their food.
A hawker in Geylang recently turned emotional when a customer told the former that she had undercharged for chwee kueh.
Saddened by her interaction, the customer took to Facebook to urge patrons to be kinder to local hawkers.
Geylang hawker undercharges customer for chwee kueh
Posting to the Can Eat! SG Facebook Group, Yi Lin Sng shared that she visited a stall at Geylang East Hawker Centre on Monday (29 Jan) morning.After Ms Sng ordered four pieces of chwee kueh and an extra serving of chye poh, the stallholder asked her for S$2.
Ms Sng then corrected her, stating that it should be S$2.20 — the four pieces of chwee kueh cost S$1.80 while the extra serving of chye poh cost S$0.40.
The hawker appeared stunned by Ms Sng’s response, pointing out that she was the first person to tell her that she was undercharging.
The chwee kueh seller then told Ms Sng that some customers would get upset by the additional charge. Some would even scold her for not offering a “mountain” of chye poh.
Hawker considering shutting business due to low profits
Ms Sng responded by acknowledging the time and effort it takes to “transform” the raw ingredient into the delicious chye poh that customers enjoy.
She also recognised the hawker’s thoughtful gesture of keeping the chye poh warm, pointing out that the electricity needed to do so doesn’t come free.
The hawker responded that if everyone had the same mindset, she wouldn’t have to entertain the thought of shuttering her stall — something she had repeatedly discussed with her business partner.
She shared that there are days when they would only make a few dollars after deducting costs.
Saddened by the poignant interaction, Ms Sng highlighted the plight that hawkers face, hoping that the stallowner would continue selling delicious food a month down the road.
Customers would give hawker an earful for chwee kueh charge
Speaking to MS News, Ms Sng said the stallholder only charged her an additional S$0.20 for the extra chye poh as she was afraid of getting an earful.
In the hawker’s experience, customers were often unhappy at having to pay extra for the toppings.
Ms Sng has since realised that there are things that require changing for the hawker culture in Singapore to survive.
“We all know that it is not easy to be a hawker,” she pointed out. “Most of them wake up as early as 2.30am to prepare for their customers during the day.”
As a result, Ms Sng noted that more hawkers are giving up due to old age, with no children willing to take over their businesses.
Rising costs, including for rent, utilities, and ingredients also make it more difficult for these hawkers to survive.
This is only exacerbated by customers who refuse to pay for what they assumed was cheap.
“I hope that patrons can be more understanding of the situation and plight of our local hawkers who are making a decent living,” she urged.
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Featured image adapted from Yi Lin Sng on Facebook.
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