After today's episode, I cannot help but recount an earlier incident of profiteering.
I was in a hurry to send a scanned copy of a JPJ certified Malaysian driving licence (original with date of first licence, being lost) to Dubai. In my hurry to have it done, when asked where the fax was to be sent, I mentioned overseas... Dubai. I was charged Rm3 per copy and I did not try to save the cost of the last page which could be irrelevant. For the 3 pages, I was charged Rm9! It was only after that did I realise there should be no difference whether the fax was to an overseas telephone number, correct me if I am wrong. (Correction: I just remembered I was asked recipient's email address. So it was scan and email, not fax, which was why I thought it should make no difference whether it was overseas.)
The fact that we are known to each other makes no difference and I was not expecting any concession, but still I would expect them to charge more to those customers who happen to pass by (Cantonese: 'Koh lou hak') instead of someone known to them.
Today, was even worse. I went to a computer shop first to enquire about copying a DVD video and was told it is impossible to edit. When asked how much they charge for a copy, I was told Rm5.
I asked my IT friend about it and was told it is possible to copy to hard disk and edit. But while in town and near the shop in question, I asked how much they would charge for making a copy of a DVD. The boss asked his Malay lady staff and I could hear her reply, 'Sepuluh Ringgit'. He turned to me and said Rm20 in Cantonese. Since I heard the miscom, he asked again, and yet with the same reply, he said Rm30! When I asked why the mistake, he admitted to old age! He is actually younger than me. He asked for my comment, I cannot help but answered in Cantonese, 'Too expensive.' (read: Daylight robbery, I thought to myself).
To be fair, when my daughter had her PhD certificate scanned (actually had to use a camera to take a photo of it because of its size of 18.5" x 15") and transferred via a computer to a pen-drive at the same shop, she was only charged Rm4 by the Malay lady! That the big boss was not around could be a factor!
While on the subject of service between friends (the above was between locals), a friend still could not get over how he was refused when he asked to buy just plain rice from a restaurant. The owner and him were so-called friends for at least 20 years! For more than 2 years, he had not patronised the place.
While on the subject of rice, last Sunday in KL, four of us (3 adults and a toddler) shared one small bowl of rice at Ipoh Road Yong Tow Foo! Sign of the times, unlike before, when rice was staple food. I had not been to that restaurant for more than 20 years, since when they were at the place opposite, across Jalan Segambut. I was disappointed because I was expecting the same taste like before: where the taste suggested a tiny bit of salted fish and/or squid, like the famous Ampang Yong Tow Foo, instead of plain fish which seems plasticky in texture. There was a notice on the wall about an impending move to Cairnhill Hotel nearby. Being a local, I know the restaurateur is a tenant and the present premises was that of the old boss's residence, and next to it are terrace houses meant for his children. But since then, his descendants have outgrown those humble homes, and they own a few high-rise buildings in the vicinity, including Cairnhill Hotel. I am sure the present derelict state of a former mansion is due for redevelopment by the owners.