Saturday, 31 January 2015



Meidi-ya Supermarket Liang Court Sells Expired Food (SG)

Mackie's of Scotland Caramelised Red Onion Potato Chips expired on 10 Jan 2015. Today is 31 Jan. Anyone could've grabbed that bag of chips without checking the best before date.

Some time ago, I picked up another item that had also expired.

My previous review on this supermarket was about their spoilt (sour) chicken meat & fish.  When I complained, the Japanese male manager offered a refund in the e-mail, but when I collected the refund, the Japanese woman was very rude with intentional delay.

In his e-mail, the Japanese manager was puzzled how the meat could've spoilt.  I doubt they managed to discover the problem.

I haven't been there in a long while & today I dropped by. They have increased their stock a lot, but it appears the management has also become messier.  There's a look of lack of control, lack of orderliness, slack.

There has been quite a high turnover of cashiers. The good ones that I used to talk to have left. The new ones are disrespectful of the customer's items. They take no pleasure in handling the customer's purchases & it shows on their faces & the way they dump the purchases into bags.

The last time I was there, a cashier dumped my items into a bag after I paid, then went back to looking at her fingernails.

I advise customers to exercise caution when shopping there. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Taobao Secret: Buyers Beware

(Update: Check out my guide on how to pick good Taobao sellers!

If you've been suspecting that the feedback reviews on Taobao cannot be trusted, you're quite right. And if you've been wondering why you've been getting crap despite selecting the best sellers, here's why:

Without those important reviews, (my bro says) buyers are blind. There is no way of knowing whether you'll get crap.

I've been relying on those reviews (I can read Chinese), seller's feedback scores, seller's website & items' presentation to decide whether I should trust a seller.  But my bro and I started getting suspicious recently when he started getting crap despite buying from sellers with high positive scores.

Personally, I've also received crap despite carefully picking the "best" sellers.

Every time my bro ordered glass light bulbs from Taobao sellers, the sellers will send different items from what they show in their photos. For instance, the photos show a Philips brand light bulb. But after ordering, the seller sends a China brand item.

In other instances, the sellers sent light bulbs that were completely different from what was shown in the photos, completely not what was ordered & completely wrong.

This is despite these sellers having high scores of 4.9 and 5.

Bro also noticed that while an item page shows a number of sales for an item (成交记录), there is strangely not a single review (deleted? Not posted?).  Sometimes, a seller's score shows 4.9, but there are no reviews for any of the seller's items. So how did the seller get a 4.9 score?

In a recent case, I purchased an aquarium pump filter. Seller had a top score of 5.0 for all 3 parameters: item description (描述), service (服务) & speed of delivery (物流).  

But the item I received was badly scratched down one side. At first, I thought grains of gravel at the base of the container had escaped and scratched it, but the box was empty. No gravel had escaped.  How did it get so scratched down 1 side? The box looked new.

The item didn't look brand new & looked like a display piece that had been somewhere for a while.  Bro said it looked like it had been wedged between 2 things & got scratched. I was really puzzled. (And why didn't 65daigou tell me about it & exchange it with the seller?).

Just a few days ago, I received the hairband that I ordered. The seller as you can see in the link, has good scores of 4.9 throughout the 3 parameters.  The item itself has a score of 4.9 with many positive reviews on its great quality & softness etc...  (

But the hairband I received....  At first, after I took it out of its cute plastic wrapping, I knew the smell was a very bad sign. Hairband could be washed & perhaps the petroleum smell might go away. But the moment I stretched it, it snapped.

The elastic band is strangely thick & black,  not matching with such a soft-looking item & clearly, it's just been thrown into the thing without any care.  Very poorly made & in the seller's photos, that black & ugly elastic band is not shown.

Threw it away. That was more than $3 including shipping.

How could the seller have sent such crap when the reviews & the seller's ratings are so good?  Is the seller nuts? Sending good items on some days & bad items on others?

On 22 Jan, I asked 65daigou to leave a negative review on my behalf.

I wrote in Chinese that the hairband had a strong petroleum smell & the elastic band broke. Very poor quality.

On 25 Jan, 65daigou staff replied with a screenshot of the review that would be posted. The staff took the initiative to add for me another line "waste of time & money!", which surprised me. You can see that the staff gave a black flower -1 point.

25/01/2015 09:28
Dear customer, so sorry for the late reply!
Suppose you mean DE011409129, have added a negative feedback as your requested(attached).

Any further help, please let us know. Thank you.:)

However, the review didn't immediately appear on the seller's page (累计评论).

In, reviews are immediately displayed.  But not so for Taobao.

After waiting 1 day, I asked 65daigou when the review will be shown on the seller's page.  Here is 65daigou's reply on 26 Jan: 

Dear customer, normally, the negative feedbacks need to be checked by the sellers first, after they checked the feedback, then it will be reflected on the website, we have no idea when the check will be done..

Thank you.:)

When I told bro, he said this function of letting the sellers "check" the reviews first shouldn't even exist. I agree.

It means the sellers can choose not to allow negative comments to be shown, thus ensuring the high positive scores.  It means the scores cannot be trusted.

It also means that sellers with low ratings for the 3 parameters, are actually the honest ones. Because in allowing negative comments, their scores fall.  And I think China buyers know/understand this.  I am often surprised that despite some sellers' low ratings (4.6, 4.7 etc..), China buyers will still buy their items & some of these items actually have positive feedback.

So those sellers with high scores are actually the bad ones, & those with low scores are actually honest?

"What an upside down world." I said.

Bro agreed.

On 27 Jan, the negative review appeared on the hairband seller's review page. However, it's odd. Why did 65daigou staff leave a review dated 25 Jan that says the quality is average? I never said the quality is average & that's the date the staff was to post the negative review (even the time of the review posted matches the staff's reply to me in 65daigou on 25 Jan).  Then oddly below it, is the negative review in a follow-up "1 day after confirming goods received".  What's up?

Why did the staff provide the review that the quality is average when the staff isn't the one who received the item? And why is it dated 25 Jan when this is the date of the negative review?

Why did my negative review that should have been dated 25 Jan end up as a follow-up?


China reviewers are less discerning than Amazon reviewers. China people don't know quality or authenticity the way we understand it. Often, you'll see China reviewers give top score for an item, but on Amazon, that item gets blasted by reviewers to a 1 star position. 

In fact, China buyers can't tell the difference between an authentic item & one that isn't. Reviewers very often "guess" that an item is authentic because they haven't seen or tried the real thing. 

So, hoodwinking them is easy. Which is what China sellers do. 

And when we buy from these sellers, we are actually buying into this world of con that is meant to con the China buyer. That's why it's a big risk for every purchase we make & that's why we get crap.

But, that is not to say that all of the sellers on Taobao are bad.  There are quite some sellers that sell WYSIWYG stuff.  So far, depending on sellers' reviews & items' presentation... I've bought some stuff that are as described.  To a certain extent, sellers' reviews are still important & still reliable.

I try to keep purchase amount low, in case it's crap.  The most expensive thing I bought was a pair of Nike running shoes for $150 with 65daigou's "Sensitive" air shipping. According to the seller's photos, it's authentic. The reviews were good (that was when I believed the reviews could be believed). 

Luckily, the shoes I received was as described & from the quality so far,  I don't doubt it's authentic Nike.  [I bought it because the color is not available in SG & I didn't like Amazon's policy of trying & returning.].

The 2nd expensive thing I got, was a Dyson lookalike fan that I purchased through Peeka (before I switched back to 65daigou).  It's not Dyson, but it works exactly like it.  Unfortunately, due to electrical incompatibility, it cannot just be plugged into our Singapore socket. So bro had to make some kind of adapter for it. And it works beautifully. And just like a Dyson, it loses to the good old fan when it comes to actual fanning. So, it's really a Dyson, just without the name. It cost just $58 (without sea shipping cost) and has been thrown aside & buried in a pile of junk in my room for some time.  

If it had been a Dyson,  it would have been a severely expensive junk, as one poor man lamented to me one day while I was considering to buy one at Best Denki some time ago last year.  He bought the $699 authentic, vertical, Dyson piece of junk which he told me never to ever get.

Another reason why overseas buyers receive crap when buying through a proxy like 65daigou, is that the Taobao sellers know that the address is a warehouse address & therefore a proxy. 

The sellers know there's no way the buyer can leave negative feedback unlike the China buyer. No way the buyer can return & get a refund.  The sellers get rid of their crap this way & get paid for it.

This is supported by Peeka's comment in their Facebook where they mention receiving items at their warehouse & are required to pay for the delivery when in fact nobody ordered these items that are actually "worthless". It means their address is known as a warehouse address. And whoever sent those items are aware that it's a proxy.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

65daigou Review (Taobao Shopping Service. Another Update)

(Update: Check out my guide on how to pick good Taobao sellers!

The problem is now at their ordering staff side.   [Although they are very fast & hardworking at China warehouse even on Saturday late night. Even on Sunday, they are packing at China warehouse with updates. Pretty amazing to see the previous updates changed to "pending inspection & repack" and "ready for shipment" on Sunday afternoon.  Note this is fast only for China. US processing is much slower.].

Try to avoid ordering from 65daigou unless really necessary. If the merchant will ship direct to SG, go for it (Amazon/Japan/Korea). Personally, I try to avoid buying anything more than $50 from Taobao/ 65daigou.

This 65daigou ordering person is causing the company to lose money & customers: 

In my previous review update, I mentioned the rudeness of this China staff regarding my order of an item that comes with an electric pump. His/her message was "electronics it's cannot be shipped via express/economy air shipment.You can choose sea or Sensitive air shipment instead. Pls let us know your choice. TKS.".

He/she always ends with "TKS".

1) Item is electrical, not electronics. The person can't even differentiate between the two.
2) Since it couldn't be shipped via air, I told the person to change to hand pump.
3) The person didn't even reply and cancelled my order without telling me.

Today,  I sent order for 8 items. A few were soap bars.  I received this same person's message regarding 1 soap bar:

15/01/2015 【65daigou】: Dear customer, This item cannot be shipped via air shipment. You can choose sea shipiment instead or cancel this order. Pls let us know your choice. TKS.

Who wants to wait 2 weeks or more for sea shipping? So I said "Cancel" (the amount was promptly refunded into my Prepay).  Notice he/she didn't even provide Sensitive Air shipping option. 

However, after my reply,  the same product from a different seller was ordered. My other soap products were also ordered at the same time.

It means that different staff are doing the ordering. And this stupid one is causing the company to lose business by rejecting and cancelling customer's orders.

So I sent that soap bar for ordering again. As the reply to their message can only be used once for an item, I ordered again so I can question him/her (previously, I had already used it up by telling the person to cancel).

And this is the same person's message:

15/01/2015 14:57

“Comestics cannot be shipped via air shipment. You can choose sea shipment instead or cancel this order. Pls let us know your choice. TKS. ”

So I said:

15/01/2015 15:52
“This is soap. Not cosmetics. The same product has already been ordered by economy air. My other soap orders were also already ordered with economy air. Different 65daigou staff ordering different way? ”

His/her reply:

15/01/2015 21:44

“Hi,have checked with our shipping partner it is ok to ship,so process for you.sorry for all the inconvenience caused.”

The order for that bar of soap was finally placed & there was apology.  But it shows that this staff didn't know what can and cannot be shipped by air.  This staff shouldn't be ordering for customers.

If I hadn't ordered 2 of the same product from different Taobao sellers and encountered this staff's refusal to order one of them because he/she thinks it cannot be shipped via air,  I wouldn't have known that different 65daigou staff are placing orders for 1 customer's order.

And this particular ordering staff is rejecting and cancelling orders based on his/her own judgement (instead of checking) whether it can be shipped by air or not.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Avoid Sports Lifestyle (Swimming Center Review)

Their boss and manager (Nathaniel) are both unfit to open and run an establishment. The boss is a tall, lazy and fat sloppy-looking man who doesn't do anything to improve the place. The bald-headed manager about 26~32 years old or so, is very rude, egotistical and a bully.   

If you're looking for swimming instructors, go elsewhere. I have seen the way they "teach".  Nathaniel stands along the side of the pool and starts shouting as if he's in the army. Crazy man.  He has no PR skills at all.

In the beginning, when I first encountered him regarding my swimming membership, it was a Saturday or Sunday. He told me that he is only here outside because other staff are absent. Said he stays in the office and don't come out. (That's why the place is a mess, I was thinking.). 

He said he's been manager of "this place" for "many years" since 2000. I clarified with him what he meant by "this place" because I've been here and never seen him. He said "Sports Lifestyle".  It was with some difficulty that I got him to tell me his name.  When he said it, it was so cowardly soft, I had to ask him to repeat.

Since then, it was bad with this manager. On three occasions, he told/ordered me to move to another lane because his students wanted to use my side of the pool.

On another occasion, another of his swimming instructors also told me to move.

They think it's a given that people should move when they order it. In fact, this kind of thinking is unfair to swimmers in any swimming pool. 

First of all, I paid to swim here. Second, I am in the middle of my swim, my adrenaline is going, I am on a roll. Third, I was here first. Fourth, the pool is big enough for the students to swim on another side.

All reasons for any swimmer not to move.

At Clementi Swimming Complex, I once shouted at a lifeguard for telling me to move into a crowd of men on the right side of the pool just because school students were going to come in. Those stupid male swimmers "guai guai" obeyed him and all dared not speak up despite being forced into a corner. No goddamn guts. Call themselves men.

Why should I put up with the swimming complex way of making money from letting hoards of school kids crash into the pool? In the past, swimming complexes in Singapore didn't do this.  I have to sacrifice my time and money just because the swimming pool wants to make money?

However, on 3 of those occasions at the Sports Lifestyle Centre, I moved to another lane.

On the 4th occasion, that was it.  When Nathaniel told me to move and expected me to, I said "Sorry, not this time". He and his students were so surprised. He didn't know what to say.

He wouldn't look at me and was slightly red-faced as he cowardly tried to say that his students needed this section etc... etc...

I said I'm on my last lap. Very reluctantly, he agreed to let me complete it.  What a shitty man.  I shouldn't even have asked him to let me to complete it. Should have just scolded him in front of his students.

After that, I never returned. 

And not just him.

At the start of their "new" branch, when I first encountered the boss in order to feedback to him about a matter, he didn't even bother to greet or give his name.

The staff coordinator or supervisor named Lydia was also very rude. She was there at the start of the branch. Completely lacking in customer relationship skills.  

There was quite an effective male staff there who took my pool feedback seriously and had the ends of the pool scrubbed till sparkling clean the next time I was there. I never saw him again.  Thereafter, they never bothered scrubbing the pool ends and when I mentioned, they will pretend not to see and say "where, where?".

The swimming "coaches" are not "teaching" anything. The training techniques are all wrong. Coaches stand dry along the side of the pool while shouting orders and not even looking at their students. 

Look at their Facebook recruitment ad. It says "Open to fun and sporty individuals with NO coaching experience.".  (They even capitalize and emphasize the "no".).

When they first opened their branch,  it appeared they had no money:

1) The showers by the side of the pool were spoilt and never repaired.
2) The swimming pool filters were not working yet they were oblivious of it.
3) The competition pool was frequently green with algae and I had to tell them.
4) Black sooty scum coated both ends of the competition pool and despite bringing it to their attention, they only scrubbed once. After that, they ignored it and never scrubbed again.
5) The deck/lounging sofas by the poolside used to have cushions but cushions were removed and the chairs left like that.

The whole place is a sad ghost of its former self. This place used to be a very beautiful public swimming pool, well maintained by the lifeguards and Singapore Sports Council (SSC). I wish the SSC would take it back and do it the way it was again.

It is a disgrace that this once beautiful pool landed into the hands of this shitty Sports Lifestyle.

On the surface, the admin office looks as if there are very few staff. But go there during evening and suddenly many staff will spill out from behind the office. Over-staffed and lazy.

Yes, I was the one who called the NEA on them. For casually flinging cups of chlorine powder into the water while 2 women were swimming.  Done by an unprofessional, shirtless man with two kids running after him.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Personal Cosy Foldable Comfy Couch Chair

Get UR Own Comfy LAzy Padded Chair Here!  $149. Self-collect!
Quantity available: Plenty.
Leave a comment on which color you want!
Click pics for larger.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

10 Weird Words You Didn't Know Existed

Spe...what? The unpronounceable scientific name for Brain Freeze.

Stuff I've or you've always wondered for just that split instant & dismissed:

For instance: What are those reinforced ends at the shoelaces called?