23 October 2006

Key Food - Good; Sun Hing - Good For Nothing

Yesterday I bought snacks and drinks for my Kid and his cousins, from the Key Food Supermarket at 18th Avenue and Bath Avenue. The items were a bag of potato chips, a bag of Cheetoh, a Snapple glass bottle, an orange juice plastic bottle, and two small bottles of Gatorade lemon lime, 355-mL in size. The total came out to about $14 and I was a bit surprised, but with four kids howling to get their snacks and drinks, I paid for the stuff, took the receipt, and headed back to the car. At night, I looked over the receipt and lo and behold, I was charged over four dollars for each of the 355-mL Gatorade! If I bought them at Yankee Stadium, then it would be the norm, but I didn't, so there must be a mistake somewhere. Today, I went back to the store and told the manager about the situation. If he believed me and gave me back the extra amount, that's swell; if not, at least he knows of the problem and can fix it should he chooses to. It turned out he believed me and pointed out that even though they had laser scanner, the computer does not know whether one bottle or one 6-pack was sold. The cashier was supposed to know better to tell the computer it was one bottle, instead, she charged me for six. In the end, I got my $6+ back and an apology from the manager. I walked out of the store feeling good and thought better of the place.

My Mother's experience with the big Chinese market near us, Sun Hing, is a different story altogether. More than a month ago, she bought some grocery and was going to pay for it with food stamps. She knew she had $20.xx in the account but many times when the cashier swiped the card, it kept getting rejected for insufficient fund. She then paid with cash but still was convinced that she had enough money in her account. We contacted the food stamps office to get a copy of the statement and sure enough an amount of $20.xx was deducted from her account that same day. Chances are one of the first swipes did go through and ate up all the money so subsequent swipes failed. When Mother went back to Sun Hing, the manager said he didn't handle such matters, that his bank would handle it. It was also in the way he said it. He just cut her off and went about his business. Some manager, he probably just wants to take our money and don't care about anything else, especially about giving back. Coincidentally, his wife was the very cashier who did the swiping for Mother. She even denied being the one who did it and claimed that she didn't work that day. I wonder what their security camera would show on that day. So we now have taken matters to the food stamps office and hopefully they would resolve it in our favor. Let's also hope food stamp office will watch more closely unfriendly businesses like Sun Hing.

Sun Hing seems to be the typical Asian business that take advantages of bankruptcy laws. Not long ago, it was Big Wong, in Chinese, then changed its name to Viet-Sino. All along, the English name was still T&H. Then one day it suddenly closed and when it re-opened some weeks later, the inside changed somewhat, but the store was then known as Sun Hing, both in English and Chinese. The managers are still the same people throughout all the changes. I suspect they just changed some paperwork and maybe declared the previous store bankrupt, wrote off some bogus losses, and opened a new store. I've heard of such scams made by Korean grocers and my cousin-in-law out in Arizona said he knows Vietnamese people involved in such illegal activities. Maybe because I'm Asian I pay more attention to Asian matters, and sadly most of what I see are dishonorable. Those same unscrupulous people, if caught, would hide behind the weak excuse that they were victims of racial discrimination. It's people like them who bring disrespect and shame to the entire ethnic group.

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