“Fuck Kopitiam!”

Kopitiam stored-value cards will be phased out after June.

Founded in 1988, Kopitiam, now owned by Fairprice, operates more than 100 food courts at many locations across Singapore. Kopitiam also owns several other subsidary food court companies. Food is big business, hoi polloi need to eat. Plus Kopitiam makes shitloads of money from the food sellers.

For those of you bean counters, a typical Kopitiam food court has around 20 stalls. Monthly rental for each stall ranges from S$10,000/- to S$20,000/- depending on the size of the stall. On top of that, Kopitiam takes a percentage of each stall’s daily takings. The amount ranges from 20% to 25%. In addition, on a monthly basis, there is a long list of additional charges each stall must pay to Kopitiam. These include: service charge, A & P charge, C & M – whatever that means – charge, POS machine rental, cash management service, pest control service, etc.

Wait! There is also a monthly “renovation fee” ranging from S$1500/- to S$2000/- Kopitiam collects from each stall. Who the fuck believes that Kopitiam renovates each stall on a monthly basis? This is daylight robbery, pure and simple.

So you can see, Kopitiam gouges its stall holders till they hemorrhage. No wonder we pay so much nowadays for food at Kopitiam food courts. Stall holders are squeezed, so who do they squeeze? Answer: Poor people like me!

But that’s not enough for these blood suckers. Now they are targeting consumers, and basically all customers by default, starting with those who use its stored-value card.

The Kopitiam card is popular with some because if you put money into it, you get a small discount when you purchase. After all, Kopitiam has already pocketed your moolah upfront. Most others simply use cash. From July onwards, Kopitiam doesn’t want customers to use the card or to pay cash. Kopitiam wants customers to pay using the Fairprice app. You link your credit or debit cards to the Fairprice app.

Just like that. No public consultation whatsoever.

Singapore is accelerating towards a digital/cashless world – what’s the hurry?! – and many elderly people with no smartphones or find it challenging to use smartphone apps are going to be exasperated. Some don’t even hold credit or debit cards to begin with.

But who really listens to these people?
True, the government has said repeatedly that help is available to seniors to go digital. “We support our seniors in their digitalization journey” is the oft-repeated mantra.

But help from who? Where to get help? How is help given? There have been complaints that when old folks went looking for “digital ambassadors” they were nowhere to be found. MIA.

My dad, despite being born in 1931, is very tech savvy and uses a smartphone but still, he became upset upon hearing the news.

“Fuck Kopitiam!” he announced, “I’m going to boycott those bastards.”

Already it is troublesome to eat out with many eateries wanting you to make reservations online and when you show up, you are asked to scan a QR code to view the menu and to place orders. Some force diners to place orders using iPads. (Some crook is making tons of money equipping every eatery with these gizmos!) And now eating at food courts will soon become a gigantic technological hassle.

Hanlon’s razor states “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” One might be inclined to think that Kopitiam has something against old people, that’s why it’s making them jump through hoops of fire just to eat at its food courts. But no, that’s not the case, lots of elderly eat at Kopitiam food courts – come on, not everyone can dine at restaurants – so I don’t believe Kopitiam harbors any malice towards their largest customer group. So what is it then? Simple: it’s stupidity, that’s all.

Some government-connected pimply smart-ass nerd who thinks he will never grow old, sitting in some ivory tower, must be dreaming up this shit, without thinking of how to provide the necessary accompanying support. Hey wanker, do your grandparents or great grandparents hold credit or debit cards? And do all of them own smartphones?

Going digital has always been touted as a means to attain convenience.

Whose convenience?

Certainly not the convenience of elderly consumers.

Obviously those retards running Kopitiam are oblivious to that.

This may drive the elderly to the real kopi tiams (neighborhood coffee tiams or shops), more than 2000 of which are scattered all over Singapore, the majority of them selling delicious food and a wide choice of beverages at prices very much cheaper than those being sold at Kopitiam food courts.

I hope that happens.

Insensitive heartless commercial behemoths like Kopitiam must be taught a lesson.

So yeah, fuck Kopitiam!

“Comeuppance” is a great word; indeed, one of my favorite words.

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