Marine Parade Dessert Stall Charges S$2.60 For Extra Bowl, Says It’s For Accounting Purposes

Marine Parade Stall Staff Says She Must Pay From Own Pocket If Extra Bowl Isn’t Returned

When people go out to eat with friends, they may like to share food so everyone can enjoy a taste.

However, if you’re asking hawker stalls for extra bowls, you might want to note that some may charge a fee for them.

A customer of a dessert stall in Marine Parade said he was told there was a S$2.60 surcharge when he asked for an extra bowl.

Source: Shin Min Daily News on Facebook

The stall said it was for accounting purposes.

Group asks for extra bowl from Marine Parade hawker stall

Last Saturday (27 May), Lianhe Zaobao published a reader’s contribution that questioned the practice of a certain local dessert stall.

The man said he recently visited Marine Parade Central Market and Food Centre with a group of friends.

Source: Google Maps

They decided to order a bowl of cheng tng as the four of them wanted to give a treat to their old friend.

As the elderly person couldn’t eat much, they asked the stall for an extra bowl.

Marina Parade stall quotes S$2.60 ‘extra bowl fee’

However, he was left with a bad taste in his mouth when the stall quoted him an “extra bowl fee” of S$2.60.

He said that was the first time he’d encountered such a surcharge.

He felt that charging a fee for takeaway orders is reasonable, but paying for an empty bowl is unreasonable.

Surcharge is for accounting purposes, says stall employee

There’s only one stall in Marine Parade Food Centre that sells cheng tng, reported Shin Min Daily News.

That stall is Four Seasons Cendol, they noted.

Source: Google Maps

An employee there named only as Ms Lin (name transliterated from Mandarin) confirmed that the stall stopped providing customers with extra bowls unless they were willing to pay S$2.60 a bowl.

She said it was for accounting purposes, explaining that the stall tallies the number of bowls of desserts sold daily by counting how many bowls were used up.

Patrons failed to return extra bowl despite being told

Ms Lin said they would give out extra bowls to patrons for free before they levied the charge.

However, they would ask them for a favour — to return the extra bowl directly to the stall.

Many of them didn’t do so, though, instead returning the bowl to the cleaning stations.

This meant that when they tallied the accounts, the number of bowls they used was more than the number of desserts sold.

She claimed that it also resulted in a shortfall of cash collected, forcing her to make up for it out of her own pocket.

As one bowl of dessert costs S$2.60, that’s how much she must pay for every bowl that’s not accounted for.

Image for illustration purposes only

Thus, the stall had “no choice” but to charge that same amount for an extra bowl.

Other stalls also charge ‘extra bowl fee’

However, Four Seasons Cendol isn’t the only stall in the food centre that charges an “extra bowl fee”.

Other stalls like Yew Kee Duck Rice also levy the surcharge — albeit a smaller one of just S$0.10.

A stall employee told Shin Min Daily News that an extra bowl was free, but they would charge S$0.10 for two more.

They cited increased washing costs as the reason.

Source: Google Maps

A chicken rice stall owner also said he would charge S$0.10 per extra bowl, but would give them out for free depending on the circumstances.

For example, if the customer orders a lot of food and has children, he would give out extra bowls for free as a gesture of goodwill.

He revealed that every stall has 20 bowls they could give out “for free” to those who need them without incurring higher washing costs.

Stalls pay more than S$1,000/month for cleaning

The chicken rice stall owner also estimated that stalls pay more than S$1,000 a month for cleaning and washing of tableware.

Their food is cheap, he pointed out, but “some customers think they’re dining at a restaurant”.

Mr Cheng Wenxing (name transliterated from Mandarin), chairman of the Marine Parade Merchants’ Association, broke down the costs of washing tableware.

He said that washing a big bowl costs S$0.12, while a small bowl costs S$0.07 to clean.

The more bowls hawkers give out to customers, the more they have to get from the contractor, he explained — and that means the more washing fees they have to pay.

He added that this is on top of general cleaning fees for the wiping of tables, which amounts to S$480 per stall.

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Featured image adapted from Shin Min Daily News on Facebook and Google Maps.

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