Letters to the Editor, May 29, 2016
Stores need price anomaly code of practice
On May 14 I was shopping at a Fusion store in Sheung Wan. My basket of items included chocolate bars with a small discount.
Like many of these Fusion stores, this one is always busy, with long queues at the checkouts. When I finally got to a checkout, I was disappointed but not surprised to see the chocolate bars scanned at HK$5 higher than they were ticketed on the shelf. This has happened to me often enough to know I was faced with the difficult challenge of “putting up and shutting up” and avoiding the hostility of the checkout person or pointing out the discrepancy. I chose the latter course of action.
The employee left her checkout station, walked past the long queue to the shelf where she checked and realised I was right.
Then she returned to her till, she had to fetch a supervisor and have the purchases reversed and rescanned at the right price. There was no apology, just a handover of the HK$10 difference between the shelf price and what I had been charged. Even though this was not intentional, the whole experience appeared to be crafted to make me feel like a complaining customer the store could well do without.
I would suggest that customers rarely point out this sort of anomaly at this store and many other busy ones. This is great for the supermarket chains which can advertise a special on the shelf with little diligence to remove it at the end of the sales period as it is unlikely customers will complain. Such complacency is not common abroad.
In some other parts of the world I am familiar with, supermarkets follow a voluntary code of practice assuring customers that they are on the ball when it comes to ensuring that the shelf price is the one that will be charged at the checkout. If the scanned price is higher than the one on the shelf, the customer gets the item free of charge.
I urge ParknShop and Wellcome to consider adopting this code.
I know that the Hong Kong supermarket scene suffers from a distinct lack of competition but I am hoping that the ParknShop management is still in touch with the value of happy customers.
Paul McMahon, Pok Fu Lam
Slap a heavy fine on rogue dog breeders
I support government proposals to introduce tougher dog breeding rules in Hong Kong. It will be a good way to regulate people who breed dogs for sale. It is clear that more rigorous controls are needed.
Although there are some rules in place, they have loopholes.
Some people breed dogs in their homes, in an environment that does not enable them to give proper care to these animals. This obviously makes them more likely to fall ill.
I also agree that the fine of HK$2,000 for unlicensed or unpermitted dog breeding and selling is too low and should be raised.
Such a paltry fine does not reflect the serious nature of some offences. Bad breeding practices in substandard conditions can cause animals to suffer.
We have not paid sufficient attention to the welfare of pets. A much higher fine can act as a deterrent and hopefully make dog breeders act more responsibly.
I hope these proposals to tighten the rules will be approved and that this will ensure dogs in breeding programmes can lead better lives.
Au Hoi-yiu, Sham Shui Po
Disneyland in Shanghai is not a threat
Tourism numbers have been dropping in Hong Kong and many people think things will get worse when Shanghai Disneyland opens next month. However, I think we should look at this in a more positive light.
Firstly, there is the brand-name effect. Mainlanders who visit the Shanghai theme park and like it might then look up the locations of other Disneylands so they can visit them and decide to make a trip to Hong Kong.
Secondly, when tourist numbers had hit a peak Hong Kong Disneyland was overflowing and there were long queues for all the rides. With Shanghai opening, it will not be as busy and will be a more relaxing experience. This may lead to more repeat customers.
Thirdly, Disneyland has relied too much on mainland visitors.
It should now modify its promotion strategy and target other countries, such those in the Middle East and countries in Southeast Asia like Thailand.
I do not think we need to worry too much about the competition between the Shanghai and Hong Kong theme parks. After all, America has two Disneylands and they are both profitable.
The Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneylands have their own distinctive styles. Shanghai integrates traditional Chinese culture, while Hong Kong is more up to date.
Minnie Dong Xiaolin, Kowloon Tong
HSBC could easily cut back on use of paper
For all their carping that customers switch to e-statements to save paper, banks are still notorious wasters.
Can anyone at HSBC explain why it sends three single-sided printed pages for a Mandatory Provident Fund remittance, when it could print one double-sided and save a sheet of paper?
In fact, if it redesigned the main remittance sheet to better utilise white space and did away with the “personal information collection statement”, it could save two full sheets of paper.
Sending the same statement every month is like the MTR reminding people endlessly that the floor may be slippery when it is raining.
Perhaps if banks did not waste money like this the monthly fees would not be so high.
Randall van der Woning, Tai Po
Help students reduce food waste in school
There is a lot of waste in restaurants and also in schools.
Students will sometimes not be able to finish what is on their plate and this just adds to the huge volume of food waste in Hong Kong.
Schools should be trying to urge students from all forms to only choose as much as they can eat in the canteen and not pile up their plates.
Some of these youngsters may not like what is being served and just throw it away. Instead of doing that, they should be asked to bring their own food from home.
Schools can also turn food waste into compost and use it as fertiliser so they can grow plants.
Hong Kong youngsters need to be more aware so that they realise that there are many people in the world who do not have enough food to eat, while they waste so much of it.
Henry Kim, Tseung Kwan O
Candidates still have questions to answer
Although the prohibitive favourite, Hillary Clinton remains vulnerable to Bernie Sanders, as she has a questionable record on a number of critical issues.
Meanwhile, Mr Sanders is writing an exciting new chapter in America’s political history by energising voters, with a bold and progressive platform. He removed the velvet gloves and began to hammer away at her manifold deficiencies. I, for one, would welcome more hard-knuckle exchanges.
I want both candidates to explain how they will deal with the coming revolution in our economy occasioned by artificial intelligence, self-learning algorithms and robotics, a change some say will diminish our workforce by up to 75 million workers in the next 20 years.
I want to know if both candidates will continue the Obama foreign policy, wherein we mollify instead of confronting opponents, abandon allies and sheath our strength rather than employ it. And I want to know if they will continue to diminish our military manpower and upgrade our nuclear deterrent at a snail’s pace.
Paul Bloustein, Cincinnati, Ohio, US