• Category Archives Kuala Lumpur
  • KK Again

    About five month ago I wrote about the staff at the so-called KK Convenience Stores in Kuala Lumpur.  Back then it was a clear-cut case of the staff (one guy in particular) directly cheating the customers.  I wrote about this on my blog (original article is here: http://larsrants.blogspot.com/2012/07/most-inconvenient-convenience-store-or.html) and I posted an inquiry on their web-site (which in turn generated an email to enquiry@kkgroup.my with a copy to me).  In said inquiry I did provide the KK group with my mobile number and my email address, but needless to say I never heard anything in return.

    Since the previous incidence I have generally avoided all the KK shops in the area and instead used the alternatives (which are plenty).  Today unfortunately I got caught in some rain and decided to pop in for some ciggies.  And would you guess it – the exact same guy who have previously cheated the customers was still working there.

    This time he didn’t really try to cheat (and I gave him exact change, so he didn’t really have a chance), but he did complain loudly that the banknote I gave him was slightly torn in one corner and insisted that I gave him another one.  I explained to him that as a customer I really wasn’t in the mood to argue with the staff, but when he kept arguing I pulled out my phone and snapped a pic of this sign prominently displayed right next to the cash registry:

    This sign in itself is quite interesting.  First of all – and this might be news to KK – customers always share all experiences with friends – good OR bad, but the ones that are remembered are the bad ones and the ones people bother to blog about are also the bad ones.

    Second is the number of their so-called careline.  For readers not familiar with Malaysian phone numbers, that is a mobile number.

    Thirdly is their Facebook page.  If I check that I get this:

    I guess they printed those signs before they actually bothered to check if the Facebook page was available.

    Last is their web-site URL.  The resulting page looks like this in my browser:

    Anyway – the mobile number somewhat surprisingly did work and I got to talk to someone who called herself “Trudy”.  Trudy said that she could easily remember I made that complaint 5 month back and that they already replied on Facebook.  This is actually quite impressive.  Trudy remembered a complaint that was made 5 month earlier and she posted the reply on an non-existent Facebook page.  No wonder she expected the same level of clairvoyance from me and naturally I should have expected that a blog post and an email would be replied on Facebook.

    No, all jokes aside, this is a serious matter.  It is serious because KK obviously do not take complaints very serious.  It is serious because KK obviously don’t have any problem whatsoever keeping staff around that cheat the customers.

  • Most Inconvenient Convenience Store (or: Fraud in Broad Daylight)

    A few years back there was a few 7-Elevens around in KL and some typical Chinese “convenience stores” but not much else.  For some bizarre and completely incomprehensible reason, 4 or 5 years ago, new ones started popping up everywhere.  I would guess I currently have at least 15 of them within 5 minutes walking distance.

    They all have one thing in common: they are all inconvenient.  A common trait seems to be that they are staffed with complete morons and the managers are appointed from the least moronic of these.  The staff is without exception rude, slow, lazy and the shop managers wouldn’t dream of ordering new stock before they have run out of the old one – with the result they are constantly out of the most popular items (but got plenty of whatever crap nobody want to buy).

    However annoying these shops are in general, a few month ago a new one opened about 50 meters from where I stay and this one appears to have taken the “inconvenient” part to a whole new level.

    I don’t even know exactly where to begin.  On the surface they are exactly like the rest of the shops, and yet – they appear to have somehow managed to find staff that are even more clueless than the usual stock.  A few weeks ago I entered the shop and they were playing music so loud the staff couldn’t hear what I was asking them.  Instead of taking that as a clue to turn down the volume, instead the staff tried to make me shout my order.  The only thing I shouted was asking them to turn down the volume, but the staff shouted back that the manager had told them to play at this level.  Needless to say I gave up and walked to the nearby 7-Eleven (which at least don’t play music at nightclub levels – that one only stinks like a sewer).

    Another thing I noticed in this shop was that they always gave wrong returns, but up until yesterday I never really thought about it.  Out of general habit I always make an estimate in my head and if the amount requested is more than a few Ringgit of my estimate I know something is wrong.

    Yesterday is the first time I figured out the staff’s approach.  Notice the following receipt:

    The first 3 items on this receipt was from the previous customer.  In other words – the staff punch in the items and have the cash registry show the sub-total, then they let that sub-total carry over to the next customer.  If it works – presumably they pocket the money from both transactions – if not they just apologize and alter it (if the owners ever read this check the security tapes – the exact time is on the receipt above).

    Immediately following the above example I was talking to a French couple who just left the shop – and they had been cheated in exactly the same way several times.  I have also seen people be short changed – and as mentioned – I have experienced it myself a number of times (only – yesterday is the first time I kept the false receipt).

    If this had happened once or twice over a long period, it could possibly be considered an honest mistake, but not so – let me stress that this happens often and consistently.  It is absolutely amazing that a scam such as this can run for as long as it has run already.  The before mentioned French couple had contacted KK several times through their web-site with no obvious results.

    I will send a link to this blog entry to KK and see if they get back to me.  If they do I will add their comments here – if they don’t (which is more likely) I will mention that too.

    Update July 10, 2012:

    I did send them an inquiry through the web-site.  Apparently it just generates an email of which I received a copy and the other copy went to: enquiry@kkgroup.my. Needless to say that now, after 1 week, I have not heard anything back and by now it’s probably too late to check the security cameras anyway.

  • Better Options

    Dome in KLCC has got the dubious honor of being the only place repeatedly mentioned here (see: here and here).  You could accuse me of being an utter moron for going back to a place that is that certifiably bad, however, they do have quite a nice location outside KLCC overlooking the park and well in my defense, I have never before been there at breakfast time.

    Their menu advertised a “Big Breakfast” for RM 25.  One thing I noticed is that while it seems fairly cheap in fact this does not include coffee or juice.  Most outlets in KL is serving a big breakfast including coffee and juice for around RM 30++.  In reality Dome’s offer would come up to RM 40 or so – if coffee and juice was to be included.  The “Big Breakfast” included “Eggs as you like” and other stuff, so I went ahead and ordered one.  When we got around to the eggs, I asked – as I always do – to have them made as an omelet.  This caused some confusion and the waiter explained: “we only serve eggs as sunny side up or scrambled”.  I explained that I don’t like that, but really wanted my eggs made as an omelet, and the waiter went to fetch the manager.  A few minutes later the manager arrived and explained to me that their customers only “liked” either scrambled eggs or sunny side up.  He also explained that in the past they had customers who liked omelets but that was years back and definitely not possible any longer.

    This may not seems like a bit deal, but think about it.  Why would they not want to serve an omelet?  There can really only be 2 or 3 possibilities:

    1. They train monkeys to do the “cooking” – not qualified kitchen staff

    2. They prepare everything in advance and nothing is actually cooked when ordered

    3. They couldn’t care less about what the customers want

    Needless to say that I decided to walk to the next outlet (that is probably less than 30 meters) and have my breakfast at Chinoz (I think the full name is “Chinoz on the Park“).

    Chinoz is actually quite a nice place.  They had a breakfast buffet (various bread, cereals + some local Malaysian favorites) with coffee and juice included for RM 23, and for RM 33 an item from the a la carte menu could be included – for example – an omelet.  In other words, Chinoz was not only cheaper than Dome, but also had a significant better choice, and more to the point – they was able to serve the eggs as I like them not as they dictate their customers ought to like them.

    But that is not all really.  The staff at Chinoz are, and have always been, quite switched on.  They are attentive, courteous and generally seem to enjoy working there – which is in sharp contrast to Dome where nobody – from manager down seem to give a hoot about the place or their customers and all the staff seem more busy chit chatting than actually paying attention to their customers (in fact, they have taken “ignoring customers” to a completely different level).  Also Chinoz actually leave so much space around their tables that you can walk to them without bumping into 10 people on the way, whereas Dome have squeezed so many tables in that it is quite impossible to reach them without annoying the other guests.

    It is beyond me why anybody would spend a single Ringgit at Dome when Chinoz is right next to it.  Both offer the same view of the park, Chinoz pretty much serve everything Dome can come up with and then some.  But most important – as a customer at Chinoz I have always felt quite welcome, whereas the few times I have visited Dome I mostly had a feeling they would prefer if I left as soon as possible.  Well, no worries – I have in fact walked out the last couple of times I have been there, I did walk out this time and I will do so in the future.

  • Healy Mac’s Cattle Hoarding

    As readers of this blog have probably realized already, I am generally not impressed by the service in Malaysian bars and restaurants. Generally poor and inattentive service is caused by uneducated staff and clueless owners and it is not particularly malicious.  For the past year or so I have been a fairly regular visitor to Healy Mac’s in Changkat Bukit Bintang, but yesterday I had what I can only describe as a quite shocking experience there.

    When I arrived I bumped into a friend of mine who was seated at a tiny table squeezed into a corner.  One of the staff approached us and suggested we moved to a larger table.  While moving I pointed out to the staff that this larger table had a sign saying “reserved” on it.  The staff said that was not a problem and removed the reserved sign from the table.  I now proceeded to order drinks and dinner for two.  About five minutes after the drinks arrived, but before dinner arrived, another staff approached us and informed us rudely that “we had to move to another table since this table is reserved”.  I pointed out that we had been seated at this particular table by one of the staff (and pointing out to said staff that the table had a reserved sign) and that I found it extremely inconvenient to hoarded around like cattle – in fact inconvenient to a point where I would rather enjoy dinner in an alternative establishment if they insisted.  A few minutes later the manager of the place arrived and ordered us to leave the table.  He used the word sorry a lot but this must be the particular Malaysian type of sorry (which is just a word with no meaning whatsoever) and the fact that we had been seated at the table by a member of the staff didn’t seem to have any influence whatsoever.  At the end of the day I gave up and went to another restaurant for dinner.

    While having dinner at Finnegan’s, I couldn’t help myself thinking about good old Fawlty Towers:

    It is extremely funny watching John Cleese make an arse of himself, but trust me – my experience in Healy Mac’s was not funny.

    I can’t help myself thinking if this is in some way related to the infamous quiz night.  Last year Healy Mac started having a weekly quiz night on Mondays and in the beginning it was great fun.  Unfortunately at some point the whole thing started being way too serious and to me that reached the pinnacle when I was invited to join some kind of “championship” and without being told or asked turned out to be representing Healy Mac and the name of our team was forcefully changed to reflect that (“Healy Mac’s …). I pointed out that I don’t represent any commercial entity without getting compensated so I immediately resigned from the team and have not participated in the quiz night ever since.  I guess in some way this might have been the manager’s little revenge but it is mind boggling how something that should be fun can turn into something this serious.

    Speculation aside nothing can change the fact that the staff and the manager of Healy Mac’s stepped out of line in this case and what is worse – they did this knowingly.  How on earth they can justify treating their customers with this little respect is beyond me and I can only urge everybody to avoid this place completely.

    One last thing.  I did notice a few complaints on Healy Mac’s facebook page, and I did in fact comment on one myself.  However, within 24 hours my comment (and the other negative comments) were deleted.  I have seen this before and I can only repeat that places who do not stand up to public scrutiny but have to hide criticism has got serious problems and that alone is reason enough not to visit them. A serious pub or restaurant listen to their customers complaints – that is the only way they can improve.  A place who ignore and try to hide negative comments is a place who have no intention or wish to improve.