Rubbish Abi Motors Perodua Service Centre

Thought I’ll send my MyVi to this Abi Motors Perodua Service Centre for a service having received a leaflet (below) from them in my letterbox.
Abi Motors Perodua Service Centre Promotion
Called them up, looking to confirm their location and the price for a service. The rep was okay on the phone, claiming that they are competitive on pricing, but unwilling to tell me further on their prices, saying that they can explain (their packages) better at the shop.

Okay, took the plunge anyway as I wanted to service my car before a trip to KL. It was fairly easy to find, with sign postings after I turned in from Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah Utara towards Bercham. Marketing wise, they seemed to have done alright, distributing leaflets, clear sign postings and okay rep on the phone. But that was about it. When I arrived at the shop, it was a different story. Those who were supposed to serve customer didn’t feel like they wanted to serve customers. I was brought in by a mechanic, to be fair. Initially there was one sitting in the shop, serving customer. Then came a in rep who didn’t bother to ask what I was there for. Another service rep sat down. So there were two idle reps not doing anything, at least not to me anyway. After waiting for a while, I asked what was I waiting for? Did they expect that I was their regular customer? As a new customer, I didn’t know what to expect! Considering that they put out leaflets to try to reach new customers, can their front desk reps at least be prepared that there might be new customers walking in through the door?!! The guy asked if I have made a booking. No, I haven’t. Actually I wanted to check on the price first. But that guy asked me to wait, presumably for my turn. So only one of the three could serve customers. For fxxk sake couldn’t they just hit me with a price list, or at least try to win me over with their service offerings, or anything?!! No, more waiting. They were like bloody bureaucrats.

When it was my turn, the “real” service rep called me over. Oh, he didn’t expect that I wasn’t driving a “new” car. And no, I haven’t got a service history booklet, as I bought the car second hand without one. Now get over it, okay?! Put my number plate into their system, came up with a name. No I’m not called X Y Z. What is the matter, do you expect everyone to come into their service centre first hand owners of Perodua cars? If they want to keep putting off new customers, keep that guy in the job. He’s brilliant at it! Asked for my IC number. No, I’m technically not your customer yet, why would I want to give you my IC number? I just wanted to check on the price first! Quoted RM250 for a basic service. Then my phone rang. Wife already found her way here after picking up my daughter. And I was still stuck checking on the price, which I should have already been given from the phone call.

Anyway with so much anger that I was unwilling to stomach any further, I sent my car to a known garage that is a little out of the way but at least they know how to deal with customers. Why customer services in Ipoh, or in Malaysia in general, so bad? Do they not give out training? And you know what, no one, and I really mean no one, smiled to me during my entire time in the service centre!

GUESS has closed in Kinta City Shopping Mall

Went to AEON supermarket in Kinta City Shopping Mall for some groceries shopping. On the way out, saw the GUESS clothing shop was clearing up.
As you can see, all the manikins were gone. And the shop was very empty, with a few staff still packing away things. I suspect they are closing the outlet here and move to AEON Klebang. I wonder if there are more to come. With the space where McDonald’s used to be still vacant, l think the shopping mall might find it difficult to fill up the space behind by GUESS too. It is quite a large space to begin with, on the ground floor, facing the main entrance and next to where events take place in the mall. Rental will be very expensive that’s for sure. We’ll see.

Increased battery discharge when stationary

It’s almost a year since I got my BMW (F30). Been getting the following error message on the display every now and then.
Bimmer error message
Normally the blower fan kicks in first, whether the car is locked or not, before the error message appears when I start the car. Asked the Ipoh dealer before but they didnt seem to know anything about it apart from asking me to send the car in for observation. Lately I found out from Internet forum that I am not the only car owner suffering from this problem. Straight away rang the dealer to enquire. But haven’t sent the car over yet due to various commitments. Here is where I found out that others are having the same problem:

It’s almost worth waiting for

Brought a friend from the UK to lunch today. Where to go in Ipoh? Ipoh is rather famous for some local food. Maybe my friend will enjoy some local food. So we decided to bring him to Ipoh old town Tian Chun (天津) for the famous soup based flat noodles with chicken strips and shrimps.

Parked the car, and we walked on the Concubine Lane towards the shop. The Concubine Lane was full of tourists. Has to be, as they were seen snapping photos. We then realised today is school holiday. And Tian Chun was packed. Found ourselves a table that just cleared. Considered ourselves lucky as we didn’t have to wait for a table at all. Ordered our drinks, and then three bowls of the famous noodles.
Initially we felt content. We had much to catch up. And we were not hungry. But half and hour went by, then 45 mins, and there was still no sign of our noodles. Chased the lady, who looks like foreign labour, and she said they have not forgotten about orders. Another 15 minutes went by, even the table that came later than us had their noodles. Think they bloody messed up our orders. It was hot, and it was very humid inside the shop, as there was a heavy down pour not long ago whilst we were waiting for our food. I felt like I was about to explode if I were required to wait any longer!

So the noodles finally arrived, after just over an hour. It costed us RM17.50 for three bowls of noodles (normal size RM5.50, big bowl RM6.50). When asked what my friend thought of the noodles, “it was ALMOST worth the wait”, not wanting to sound rude! What you think?

Nam Heong’s demise?

Demise is probably too strong a word, when the new Nam Heong wasn’t that great to begin with anyway. But such is the feeling. It is built opposite of the Menteri Besar of Perak’s residence with fancy light reflecting facade.
Nam Heong facade
Rumour has it that RM2 million is spent on furnishing and decoration of the premise. And apparently owner boasted that business would break-even in 8 months. Although I have my doubts, I don’t know enough of their business to really question whether that is feasible.

However what is interesting is, now that a new block of shop lots are built infront of Nam Heong (where there used to be a piece of empty land where people can park their cars), their shop is completely obstructed from view from the roundabout! The large fancy facacde-cum-signboard becomes rather pointless. The shop, which is already difficult to get to, with only one entrance from the main road, is almost completely hidden away from the main road as things turn out. Parking is going to be a nightmare too I would imagine now that there are more shop lots, albeit still vacant at the moment.

I haven’t been dining at Nam Heong for some time, must be over a year now. I shall pay a visit one day again. Not so much for the food, as it is nothing extraordinary considering that I actually live in Ipoh, but just curious to see if their business can defy “gravity” given the negative change in circumstances. Because quite a few pointers seem to suggest that it must be rather difficult to operate a business in that area!

Setting up a commercial kitchen in Ipoh

It is incredibly difficult to find information on almost anything in Malaysia. Information is too fragmented, into multiple languages. And people seldom document information on websites for sharing. Especially the Ipoh folks.

I learned the hard way when I started my business. Basically if you know nothing about starting a business in Ipoh you can’t build up your knowledge from Internet research. You need to find contacts, to begin with. But numbers you find on the Internet are notoriously out of date. And Ipoh folks don’t use email. I had to ask around, and I needed to ask the right people.

So if you want to get into F&B (food and beverages) business, you need a kitchen. Before you proceed to get a builder to have your kitchen done up, it is best if you consult suppliers who will supply your kitchen equipment. Turns out that these suppliers provide more valuable input to the kitchen setup than the builders. For example it might be better to construct a drain from the stove to the drain exit from the outset for easy cleaning of the kitchen everyday, particularly if your kitchen is going to be very oil at the end of everyday. Concealed pipes, however large the pipes are, are not ideal, as pipes can clog easily, and they will clog given time! So don’t make the mistake like I did, thinking that you can just design the kitchen like a house kitchen. Engage these suppliers as early as you can, and ideally together with your chef or cook(s) too.

There are two such suppliers, Jit Fung and Snow Mountain. Jit Fung specialises in stainless steel works, like shelves, walls, and custom made stoves etc. Snow Mountain specialises in refrigerators. But both farm out their business to now overlap with each other. So there may not be a lot to choose from between the two. Workmanship of Jit Fung is apparently better, if you plan to have stainless steel walls rather than tiled walls.

Aliyaa is closed too at De Garden

It is interesting now that I’m in business I am more sensitive to how businesses are doing around. Just noticed another restaurant is closed in De Garden. This time it is a Sri Lankan restaurant, fine dining one, called Aliyaa.
aliyaa de garden
We have been there once. Food is great, service is great. But I guess the pricing is on the high side that it can’t sustain in Ipoh. They have one in Damansara which presumably is doing quite well that they open a branch in Ipoh. But again Ipoh is a tough nut to crack. Many franchises have come and gone without much success. Those that stay apparently are not really doing so well. We used to have Burger King, PappaRich. Not sure what else. But they are no more in Ipoh. The Ipoh folks are misers. Spending power not on the same level as those in KL, population in Ipoh much smaller, and less foreign tourists. In general more difficult to do business. Think we are going to see yet more businesses packing up during this economy downturn.

Choy Kee egg tarts

Having tasted egg tarts from all around Ipoh like Nam Heong (old town), Hong Kee (along the road to UTC or Super Kinta) etc, think I much prefer the egg tarts from Choy Kee located in Kampung Simee.
Choy Kee bakery
You can also buy the egg tarts in Kampung Simee wet market in the morning, before the bakery shop opens at 11pm. Or at other shops as listed above I guess. The pastry is fluffy but crisp, and the egg is just about firm enough like eating soft boiled egg, easily “melt” in your mouth. Best enjoy when it is still warm, just freshly baked. Yummy.
Choy Kee egg tart

A cheap Hoegaarden

Having touched on beer drinking in one of my earlier posts, I’m now curious how much a bottle of Hoegaarden actually costs in a supermarket. Here you go, 5 bottles of Hoegaarden, with a free glass, retailing at RM69.95 at Tesco.

Works out that it’s just under RM14 a bottle. Whereas at Marianis, during happy hour, it’s just RM12.80++. So it’s about the same price drinking at home or at Marianis! All the more reason to drink there before they move to Greentown!;)

Nadia Sugar & Spice is closing end of August

Nadia Sugar Spice De Garden
Went to Cheeky Tots indoor playground due to the haze today. Passed by Nadia Sugar & Spice. It wasn’t opened. Tables and chairs outside weren’t there anymore. Asked the security guard at De Garden. Its last day is end of this month. So another shop closing down. We have dined there a couple of times. Hardly a fan, but the family who runs the business are very nice people. It’s a shame. But they do lack a good crowd the few times we were there, weekends or not, so it’s always going to be a problem, for any business. Especially when the economy is not doing so well.