The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, December 07, 2009

A land of shortchangers.

How often are you shortchanged in your country? Once a year? Once a month? Once a week? How about everytime you buy something? That, rather oddly, is the case in Malaysia.

You see, I had become accustomed to the Singaporean way in which if a bill comes to an amount requiring change smaller than the existing coins, that the shop would round DOWN, the bill - and therefore, absorb the loss for itself. Singaporean stores don't therefore, shortchange, the customer. However, Malaysian stores...all of them that I have been to so far...have a rather different approach: they have "rounding adjustments" on the bill - which are always upward alterations in the bill total - to make the change easier. Malaysian stores always try to shortchange the customer: this happened to me in MacDonalds, and in a Supermarket, in fact, everywhere I went, the stores would automatically shortchange me.

Taxi drivers almost always shortchange the customer, too...but that deserves a post of its own.

It strikes me as funny that Singapore and Malaysia were once one united country, yet on one side the shops never shortchange the customer - and on the other side, they always do. Why did one country choose one path - and the other choose the alternative? It is most strange.

I know that the sums involved are small, at each transaction - but since they apply to EVERY transaction, it adds up and would, in the course of a shopping year amount to a sum that anyone would object being picked from their pockets by a passing thief. Yet, picked from their pockets it is, every time they shop in Malaysia.

I should add, at this point, that prices are generally much cheaper in Malaysia than Singapore - except for imported and brand name goods - yet, the point remains, that shortchanging is the norm, in Malaysia, whereas it would be considered abnormal in many other places.

However, it was a surprise to me to see "rounding adjustments" on bills - because I have never seen that, before, in the 20 or so countries I have visited. So, that makes Malaysia unique, in my experience. It is not the only way in which they are unique, but more of those on other posting occasions.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:13 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

they shortchange you because you are westerner. To them, they think that westerner is wealthier and therefore doesn't mind been shortchanged. For native race, they wouldn't dare to shortchange unless they are sure that you are from SinCity. Therefore there is a wisdom to bring along the local whenever you shop or buy thing because the local will buy the thing on your behalf. And if you are going to eat in restaurant, order the food and pay for it by local.

4:58 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I agree that there is a tendency to short-change, cheat and generally rip-off the Westerner. However, I think what I have identified here is a general tendency to shortchange, which would apply to all (at least that is what it seems).

I have encountered more scammers in KL in a couple of weeks, than I would think I have encountered in the rest of my life put together. I think they think a westerner is a great prize indeed...

9:46 AM  

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