Friday, September 6, 2019

Opinion piece: Consumers must be prudent when purchasing groceries, but don’t write off ABC stores

The Straits Times ran an article on the ABC store at Potong Pasir which they felt had been misleading consumers “Sales that never end could soon come to an end”, September, 2, 2019).


Following that report, regular forum writer, Jeffrey Law Lee Beng also then took issue with the store in his letter, which in a nutshell said that action must be taken against the store, “Clamp down on shop owners who falsify original prices of sale items, September 4, 2019).


First of all, let us understand that the ABC stores is regarded by many consumers who include maids, the elderly and lower income groups as a poor man’s grocery store. The goods purchased help stretch the dollar.


There are hundreds of foreigners, including Filipino maids and Indian nationals who patronise the stores island-wide. In Lucky Plaza alone, at least 3 of its branches offer items which are value for money.  These foreigners leave their families behind to come to Singapore to earn better wages and depend on these stores to buy affordable groceries.   Let us not deprive them of providing decent meals for their families as many of them live in poor countries.


The Filipino maids often buy 2 to 3 bags of such groceries and send it by courier to their families back home as such items help them to keep costs down. Additionally, these groceries are a luxury back home.  


In striving to build a gracious and more caring society, let us make every effort to show kindness, empathy and compassion to the poor and the needy.


For example, a medium size bottle of shampoo cost only $1, while a bar of Dove soap cost just 50 cents. For $10, consumers can purchase lots of biscuits and even chocolates which the bigger supermarkets like NTUC FairPrice or Sheng Song cannot offer. 


Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world and everyone has to be prudent in their spending.


I also purchase such groceries from the ABC or Value add stores as I am no longer holding a fulltime job.


What is important is for consumers to check the expiry dates when buying products – and on the part of the stores, they can give bigger discounts for items which expiry dates fall within a month.  Then if the consumer decides to buy them, they should use them before the expiry dates.


Raymond Anthony Fernando

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