It was déjà vu all over again when I read Ms Lau's letter to the press about being led on a wild goose chase by Courts Bukit Timah for a non-existent $399 laptop. The caveats in said item advertised were "from $399" and "limited sets - one set per customer", clear warning bells for any savvy street-wise shopper.
I was in Jurong East a fortnight before and happened to browse the outlet there when one harried sales assistant asked another colleague for help about a customer's query for a TV on offer. Latter said a clipping of the ad was conditional for the special price (check the ads, pure bunkum). Just then, another early bird shopper came along, newspaper ad in hand, wanting to buy a computer on offer. This time the storyline was, "Sold out! There was along queue before the shop was open!" Just for the heck of it, I piped in and asked about a USB harddrive advertised. "We don't carry that in this shop," was the response. You gotta give credit to those guys for creativity.
Since consumers in Singapore do not have a Ralph Nader to champion their cause (Consumers Association of Singapore is a lost case), don't expect the CEO to be dragged to court (the edifice Alan Shadrake is accused of blaspheming, not the mega-store taking bargain hunters for a ride). Not when poster child Terry O'Connor has recently been given a special foreign talent spread in the papers, praised to the heavens for his "sort of chutzpah that you do not learn in school" when he lambasted his own chairman for a hiccup in the store's roll-out plan. "I don't have a temper but I do have a strong sense of fair play," quipped O'Connor ironically.
"All I want on TV is products at great prices, packages and so on," the native of Liverpool, UK, who left for Singapore in 1993, is quoted as saying about his sales strategy. All the customers want is just some truth in advertising.