Shopping perils – avoid Mobile Hut

I’ve been lucky. Being male and part Scottish, I’m incredibly tight with my money and will shop around like you won’t believe to make sure I don’t get ripped off. Sim Lim Square near the hostel, then, is fine for me as I have the patience to wander round all six floors of electronics shops to pricematch and haggle deals until I find a retailer I’m happy with.

As such, I settled on Song Brothers on the ground floor to buy my new camera. I took Gurpreet back there to get her iPod and if I get a PSP I’ll likely buy from them as well.

However, not all retailers in Sim Lim are so helpful and genuine. Some are a bunch of rip-off… merchants – for want of a better term I can use on this family-friendly blog. One such “merchant” is Mobile Hut. Located on floor 2 (that’s the 1st floor to us Brits), at the opposite corner to where the escalator drops you when you go up. Avoid these pirates. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

A young girl in the hostel came in earlier, puzzling over her new Panasonic camera. She was puzzling as the box didn’t say “Panasonic” on it. Well, OK – in fairness it did. In small letters next to the details of the CCD (the part that takes the picture). Essentially, this camera is as much a Panasonic as a Ford is a Volkswagen.

She’d gone back to ask for a refund. The staff member (Max) ripped his copy of her receipt up. Erm… that’s not a credit card refund. So he took her card off her and swiped it, charged $600 to it and then refunded the $600 back on again. “There! Refund! Now leave!”

Back in the hostel, one of the staff said he’d join me in walking back down. We met a fat Chinese guy in a black t-shirt who was entering lots of large numbers into a ledge as they approached closing time. He couldn’t have looked less concerned if he’d tried.

“Not my deal. Go away. You need to speak to Max. His deal. I cannot do anything. Now get out of my shop.”

“Your shop?”

“Yes, my shop.”

“So you own the shop. So Max is your employee? So you can do something, you’re just choosing not to.”

“This Singapore. Things not done the same way they are in your country.”

“You don’t know what country I’m from. He’s from Singapore [the guy from the hostel] and he says that’s not how things are done. You’re really putting your country in a bad light.”

Then he had a go at the guy who’d come with us (a local). “I ask you to leave because of that silly b*st*rd. You nice guy – he’s trying to be funny. Please leave. Come back tomorrow.”

So we will, though the girl flies out at 15:30 so we’ll have to sort stuff fairly quickly in the morning. If he refuses to refund the money then I’ll spend the rest of the week stood in front of their shop – a public area that they don’t own – and tell people not to go in there. I’m stubborn like that. I’d love for him to call the police on me, though I can’t see that happening. Glass houses, stones and all that.

Anyway, pizza is due shortly. In an effort to be seasonal I’m ordering a turkey-turkey flavour. I don’t think I’ll be able to get much of the stuff in Sri Lanka, Nepal or wherever I am in 20 days’ time!

[update – the aforementioned girl just found out she was supposed to fly to Bangkok at 1530 today…]

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