Stopped from making notes while shopping

Yesterday for the first time in my life I was asked to leave a store by irate shop staff! The short version: Supernature at Park House has a company policy that forbids customers from taking photos as well as even *writing* any notes in the store.

The long version: Followers of my ConsumerWatch series on this blog will know I like to compare products and prices to make the most informed choices. In one of my rare visits to Supernature, I was excited to find some products I had recently enjoyed in the UK and amongst their wide range, certain brands I haven’t seen in other Singapore shops. I was doubly excited to note that despite the shop’s high prices for most goods compared to other stores in Singapore, some things were significantly cheaper! I was in the middle of noting down all the products I planned to buy on my next visit when the shop staff caught me on CCTV and swooped in to stop my suspicious activity. Of course, I could have promised to stop and continued shopping, but I was so shocked and humiliated that I voluntarily left the store. I also decided not to argue about ‘company policy’ with the staff ,who was most likely just a regular worker doing her job and not a manager (she was wearing an apron and spoke to me in Mandarin).

Stores have every right to lay down rules for their customers, and the right to stop people from shopping in their store. From their point of view, I could certainly have been an agent of industrial espionage from a rival company. As an expanding and highly-commercialised enterprise (wow! Supernature really looks like a good-sized supermarket now!) located near the ultra-posh St Regis Hotel, they’re probably not interested in the kind of customer who wants to do price-comparison.

However, I would argue that for health foods, it’s not just about prices, but the even more important aspect of doing research about particular brands, ingredients, origin of products, possible allergic reactions etc. Looks like Supernature is not a store that will help me make the best consumer choices, for my health as well as my wallet.

As a point of comparison, at Nature’s Glory, customers can pick up a 24-page (A4 size) full product list providing details of brand names, package size and price so that you can place delivery orders from home.

For what it’s worth, here are the few price comparisons I observed yesterday (prices could be a few cents off, sorry I wasn’t able to take notes!):

Bonsoy
Supernature – S$5.95
Eat Organic – S$4.70
NTUC Finest – S$4.70

Nairn’s oat cookies (great wheat-free snack!)
Supernature – S$8.95
Marketplace at Paragon – S$8.60
Eat Organic – S$8.00

Lundberg Organic Long-Grain Brown Rice
Supernature – S$5.45 [cheap!!]
NTUC, Cold Storage & most stores – S$7.30 ++

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7 Responses

  1. hallo Niceties!!
    Long time no “see”. I rarely hear from you and when this post came up, I just had to write!

    I’m shocked at their rudeness as they are one of the organic shops I patronise because they carry a lot of niche products not carried by the other mainstream shops.

    So far, I have found prices at Finest very competitive, for some items like Knudsen’s apple juice and lemon juice. (My neighbourhood organic shop in Bt Batok sells the 250ml bottle of lemon juice for $2 more than the $7 that Finest charges!!!).

    My favorites for really reasonable prices and the stocks they carry remain:

    1. Organic Paradise (wish they hadn’t moved to such an awkward location though, I hate combating the crowds near centrepoint) – but anything new in the organic circle you want to buy, they have – they have “fake” kombucha, ghee, shortening, anything eccentric.

    2. Supernature – its really VERY EXPENSIVE compared to the other shops – but many things you cannot find in the other shops – you can find here. Like kombucha tea and ghee and shortening.

    3. Nature’s Glory – they don’t have anything really niche, but the prices for staples like flour, oats are REALLY competitive.

    4. I recently found another niche organic shop called Dragon D’or and while they don’t stock a lot of food stuff, they stock an amazing variety of organic toiletry brands – think they are some sort of distributor or something. Tucked away in a corner of People’s Park Complex / Centre – the place where the Ocean / Swanston cheap commercial toiletries shops are.

    Btw, have you managed to find stevia? I have had no success in finding it here…

    • Hi Canton Pixie! You have a new blog! Excellent tips you have there — thank you for sharing!

      And great shopping tips from you as ever :). I go to the same shops, plus Eat Organic on Bt Timah Rd which is very competitively-priced (Kettle’s Blue Corn Tortilla chips and Origins Healthcare flours cheaper than NTUC). Dragon D’or is new to me, I’ll def check it out next time I’m in that area. My recent find is the store in Takashimaya B1 next to GNC, looks kind of makeshift but sells products I like such as Taiwan grain drinks and TOPS brand (which has the prices printed on labels so prices are standard).

      If I remember correctly, I found stevia products in Brown Rice Paradise in Tanglin Mall. But it wasn’t in the liquid form in dropper bottle, but packaged like sugar-replacement and *very* expensive, so I never made the effort to go back to buy.

  2. hallo Niceties!
    Yes I decided to put all my knowledge onto a properly organised format!

    I will check out Eat Organic – :) they are next to Meat the Butcher – where I managed to find some organic pork lard recently!

  3. I have a suggestion for how you can get a record of the prices without photographing or making notes: just make a mobile ‘phone call to yourself and when it inevitably tells you your line is engaged, let it switch to voicemail, where you can leave a message for yourself about the prices of products. For all anybody knows, you are calling your mother/husband/lover about what they want to have for dinner tonight and whether it fits in with the budget. Store policies can’t cover everything can they?

  4. Hello, discovered your blog when I googled ‘yam cake’. Tried your recipe and it was my first time making it and it was fanstatic. Also like how you share recipes for those who have food intolerance. What a wealth of knowledge. I love your website.

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