Saturday, September 24, 2005

Elusive sandwich

Yesterday, someone wrote a letter to the press lamenting the trouble and hassle he had to endure just to get a FREE sandwich. Apparently, Visa (the credit card company) arranged with the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit company (SMRT) to give away free sandwiches to every person who signs up to pay for their train tickets using their Visa credit cards. So this bloke signed up and went to the train station to claim his sandwich. The station control said they didn't have the sandwich, nor are they aware that there was such a promotion on. They re-directed the commuter to the service provider which was working with Visa on this. As an aside, who would stock sandwiches at subway stations anyway? Free or not, I wouldn't touch one because they'd go bad in no time.

According to this commuter, he was then given the run-around - in search of that elusive free sandwich! Sheesh. He was very angry about the whole affair and so wrote to the press laying out the whole story, making the point that whoever organised this giveaway promotion should get their act together.

I am not sure that it was wise of him to have done so - signed up for Visa payment, running after a sandwich AND writing to the press. He has my sympathies for his less than stellar experience with organisations that cannot plan their promotions well.

But paying by Visa is not free. I understand that there is a 20 cents surcharge on topping up the train ticket stored-value card throuugh Visa. The General Ticketing Machines (GTM) are conveniently available at every station, and its doesn't take two minutes to top up the card. So why pay 20 cents?

Second, I am sure the time, the emotional distress and money he must have spent chasing down the elusive sandwich would more than pay for a good one at Delifrance, which is what is being offered, but where is the FREE sandwich?

Third, I wasn't entirely sympathetic with his cause. I thought, 'Why is this guy chasing after a sandwich for? Is he that hungry? Is it of such tremendous value to justify the trouble?'

But I must give credit for his doggedness in pursuit of that elusive sandwich

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