Manhattan Fish Market (MFM) found themselves in a bit of a pickle recently when one of their staff made an offensive and exclusionary comment to a customer, saying that their family isn’t complete because the father isn’t around.
Mellissa Seah shared on Facebook (5 June) that she had decided to grab a meal at The Manhattan Fish Market at Changi T1 with her mother before a flight. Ms Seah then notices a promotion posted with the caption “A Date with Mom, All she needs is a meal with family”. Naturally, they enquired about the promotion.
Shockingly, the staff there replied “You’re not entitled to this because your family is not complete. The father is missing”.
Ms Seah said, “I mean, really?! In MFM eyes, just because father isn’t there so our family isn’t complete. How is Mom any less deserving just because Dad wasn’t there? Can’t Mom be Dad as well? How about families who have lost their Mom or Dad to illness, or any other circumstances, make their family any less complete, unworthy, undeserving? How about families with 2 mommies or 2 daddies? Or children who are brought up by grandparents because they lost their parents?”
She lamented that it was a disappointing experience and is one of the ‘top marketing fails’ she’s seen, adding “While the rest of the society is taking steps to make Singapore a more inclusive place, it is disappointing that a brand like MFM still has the mindset that a Complete Family Unit is one that is made up of Father, Mother and Child.”
While MFM has taken a stop forward in banning or cutting down the use of straws in their outlets, they’ve taken a step backwards in inclusivity, says Ms Seah.
The next day (6 June), Ms Seah shared that MFM management had reached out to her to apologise for their staff’s comments.
Ms Seah clarified that she was mainly curious about how such a promotion was approved and signed off by management in the first place.
“I have nothing against the crew on ground for their response in such a manner because instructions probably came from the management.”
MFM said to Ms Seah, “I sincerely apologise from the bottom of my heart on behalf of MFM Changi T1 for the offensive comments that brought you and your family an utterly disappointing experience. We are definitely responsible for the actions done by our crew that is unacceptable and shall not condone such speech to be delivered to our customers or allow them in any way to harm our customers.”
In the screenshot of their apology, MFM thanked Ms Seah for highlighting the issue, accepted responsibility of what their staff had said and vowed to retrain their entire crew on the matter. To their credit, MFM reacted swiftly and didn’t attempt shirk responsibility over what happened.
In a final update, Ms Seah said she would not be speaking to any media on the issue. She merely hopes that this incident would teach “everyone to be more culturally sensitive and aware” and that people can work together to build an inclusive society.
Speaking to Today Online, an MFM spokesperson apologised again for the snafu, saying that there was a ‘gap’ in relaying information to their staff on the ground.
“We will lay out clear steps in our training processes to ensure that all crew receive adequate and clear instructions before we begin any new promotions,” the spokesperson added.