Friday, July 2, 2010

Ah Fook thinks all these usage-based pricing are just rip offs!

(Picture in courtesy of Pet Society)

When Ah Fook arrived at his favourite cafe, he was surprised to find it not as crowded as it usually is. He was even more surprised by most of the patrons actually leaving abruptly and emptying their tables in hurry. As Ah Fook ordered his favourite coffee from the counter, he tried to find out what was going on...

AH FOOK: Hey, today like not so crowded hor?

CAFE STAFF: Yah, ever since we implemented the ETP, we don't find people hogging the tables too long anymore. See? You don't find students studying or insurance agents selling around here anymore!

AH FOOK: Yah! Now that you mentioned! But... what is this ETP?

CAFE STAFF: It stands for Electronic Table Pricing. You see those little timers on each table?

AH FOOK: Yap! They look like those timers used in chess tournaments! What are they for?

CAFE STAFF: Since July first, we're implementing time-based dining in our cafe, you know, like the distance-based bus and train fares, and the future distance-based ERP for cars? So this is how it works... the moment you sit down at your table, the timer will start counting, and you'll be charged based on how long you use the table.

AH FOOK: What?! Why must I pay for using the table? I'm already paying for the coffee leh! So it's more expensive to drink coffee at your cafe now lor!

CAFE STAFF: Hahaha... no, no, Sir, don't worry! This is not a price hike, in fact, it is a price reduction! Because of the time-based pricing, we've reduced the prices of all our beverages! See! The price of your favourite latte is already more than $1 cheaper!

AH FOOK: Oh... hmm... ok, it sounds fair then... ok, gimme one regular latte.

CAFE STAFF: Ok, that will be just $2!

AH FOOK: So... what is the rate for using the table?

CAFE STAFF: Oh, it's just 50 cents per minute!

AH FOOK: Har?! Wait! Which means if I spend just 10 minutes drinking my hot latte, I need to pay $5 on top of the $2 I've already paid?! So a cup of latte is now $7?! Oui! This is a price hike what!

What's happening: Distance-based bus, train fares from tomorrow
LTA studying alternative to ERP system

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