More than a week ago on 17 March, supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice limited the amount of selected essential products that customers can buy, namely toilet paper, poultry, instant noodles, and rice. This rule was set right after Malaysia announced the implementation of Movement Control Order.
Certain Singaporeans swarmed the supermarkets to purchase essentials, in fear that the food supplies from Malaysia would be affected since Singapore imports more than 90 per cent of the food, as reported by The Straits Times. To ensure more customers have access to the essential items, the supermarket decided to set a limit to certain goods.
With the restrictions, each customer was allowed to purchase up to four units of paper products including toilet paper, facial tissues, kitchen towels, two units of instant noodles or pasta, two bags of rice, $30 worth of vegetables, $30 worth of poultry, and 30 eggs.
This particular restriction had the intention to prevent stockpiling of essential goods.
Earlier today (27 March), NTUC FairPrice posted an update on their Facebook page, notifying their customers regarding the purchase limit. The supermarket had expanded the list of restrictions by including cooking oil, canned products, and frozen poultry.
Other than the items listed on 17 March, shoppers are allowed to purchase six canned foods including fish, meat or vegetables, as well as five litres of cooking oil. The supermarket had included frozen poultry under the “poultry” category, maintaining the $30 purchase limit.
Other than the newly added items that are to be restricted, NTUC FairPrice lowered the limit for paper products from four to two units.
NTUC FairPrice also assured their customers that stocks of daily essentials remain sufficient and they will continue replenishing their stocks while taking necessary measures.
“Please be assured that stocks of daily essentials remain sufficient. We will continue working to replenish our stocks while taking the necessary measures to safeguard the community we serve. We appreciate your understanding and patience.”
While many people were satisfied with the restrictions, certain netizens were concerned about the limited items they could purchase when they have many mouths to feed at home.
Lanley Leow expressed that the limit for fresh produce is too low and she explained that a family of five would need to purchase at least two to three packs of meat and poultry respectively. She said that people do not do daily grocery shopping and the usual habit is to buy supplies that can last for a couple of days.
Goh Hwee Chin commented that the cap is too low to feed five children at home. She was also trying to minimise grocery trips to once a week. Two packs of noodles per purchase would not suffice her large family, therefore, she pleaded NTUC to adjust the purchase limit based on the number of household members.
Other customers commented that despite implementing restrictions, people didn’t seem to be following the new rules. They mentioned that the shoppers could visit the supermarket multiple times just to hoard the items although the restrictions were applied.
Some of them also addressed that self-checkout counters were typically not stationed with cashiers, hence shoppers would have the chance to overbuy since no one will be checking on their purchases.