Thursday, February 05, 2009

'Welcome to Kinokuniya'

THIS may be bleak times. Times where there is a need to calculate every single cent. 

But what I experienced today is “ge kaoness” (picking on someone to the smallest details) to the max. I never knew that Kinokuniya was so kiam (stingy).

I mean the facade looks bright and classy. The inside looks spacious and elegant.

So why resort to such means to hit customers below the belt? 

I picked up a book “A Concise History of the Russian Revolution” by Richard Pipes today and was charged an extra two dollars because of “exchange rate charges”. (The reason why I picked up this book is a story for another day.)  

How this works is that Kinokuniya will bring in the same title at different times. Hence, since it is imported from another country, the price at the back of the book is subjected to the current exchange rate at that time. 

So for example, the price of that book was $28.49 when i first picked it up. As the book’s cover had a bit of dog-ears, I picked up another copy and that copy had a price of $30.31 at the back.

So if a customer unknowingly picked up the more expensive book, he/she would have paid an extra $1.82! And this is the exact SAME BOOK! 


So WHY must customers be punished in this manner? 

Surely Kinokuniya is a big enough enterprise to absorb such cost? I mean come on, Mr. Kinokuniya CEO, this is ridiculous. Don’t you find it silly that a customer pays a difference of nearly 2 bucks for the same book?

Luckily, my girlfriend was eagle-eyed enough and spotted this difference when the cashier punched in the price at the counter. 

When I asked why was this so, the cashier gave a shrug and said “welcome to Kinokuniya.”

He went on to explain that this place is a profit-making enterprise and they take every single cent very seriously. Even a subtle price difference caused by exchange rate differences must be passed on to the consumer. 

This is butterfly-effect to its finest. Some crazy currency trader shouts himself silly a few million miles away at some stock exchange, the currency goes up against the Sing dollar and poor old me(a lowly paid intern) gets charged $1.82 extra for a book.

This is really ridiculous.

I wonder if Kinokuniya can please stand up and clarify why they are so “kiam”?

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