FairPrice ah… why you so defensive ah?

It was reported that there were rats in a NTUC FairPrice supermarket in Hougang. The rat problem was first made public by a Mr Sun Yu Ming. He posted photos and videos of the rat in the supermarket.

Photo taken by Mr Sun of a loaf of bread gnawed by rats in NTUC FairPrice supermarket

Photo taken by Mr Sun of a loaf of bread gnawed by rats in NTUC FairPrice supermarket

Mr Sun’s Facebook post has since been taken down. Why would it be taken down? Perhaps the response by FairPrice has something to do with it:

According to FairPrice, Mr Sun made some inflammatory remarks which are misleading and thus could amount to libel. I think there is indeed a need to defend one’s integrity against libellous statements. But many people have commented  the response by FairPrice was terrible.

The response by FairPrice comes across as vindictive and unnecessarily defensive by including the irrelevant information about Mr Sun being a deliveryman who shortchanged FairPrice. Two problems with including that bit of information.

Firstly, what does Mr Sun being the deliveryman who shortchanged the store have anything to do with this case? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Even if Mr Sun wasn’t the deliveryman for FairPrice and didn’t shortchange them, I’m sure FairPrice would still have expressed their intentions to take necessary actions to protect their reputation. So the fact that Mr Sun was a deliveryman for FairPrice and had shortchanged them has no bearing on this case whatsoever.

Secondly, so what if Mr Sun is a deliveryman for FairPrice and had shortchanged them? You mean to say that that makes the rat infestation problem less of a problem? No right? It still is a problem. Or did it make it wrong for Mr Sun to have taken the photos and videos and posted them on Facebook? Cannot be right?

So what relevance does the connection between Mr Sun and FairPrice have with this incident? Nothing.

Inflammatory remarks aside, shouldn’t FairPrice be grateful for Mr Sun for pointing out the rat infestation problems? We are encouraging people to be more proactive in highlighting problems, security threats, potential criminals so that we can act to prevent, if possible, or to mitigate the negative impact of any problems. So why isn’t FairPrice first thank Mr Sun for pointing out the problem so that they can take more aggressive measures?

The response by FairPrice gives the impression that they are more concerned about protecting their own reputation and punishing Mr Sun for being a whistleblower than in solving the rat infestation problem. If I were them, I would have chosen a less defensive tone. Perhaps something like this:

“We thank Mr Sun for highlighting the pest incident in our store in Kang Kar Mall. Our investigations reveal that the pest did not originate within our store. Nonetheless, we assure our customers that we are proactively taking aggressive measures to address the issue.

That is why we are puzzled by Mr Sun’s remarks on his Facebook page suggesting that we have been negligent in managing the pest incident. He has continued to make inflammatory remarks that question our integrity. His last post is also intended to mislead. Should he persist in making such remarks, we will take the necessary actions to defend our reputation and integrity.”

As you can see, dropping that bit about Mr Sun being the deliveryman changes the tone completely while still achieving the objectives of the message. So it’s baffling why FairPrice decided to be so defensive.

[Featured image: screenshot from Mr Sun’s Facebook page]

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