Hot water costs 50 cents at Ya Kun

From ‘Baby-unfriendly cafe’, 29 Dec 2010, ST Forum online. Thanks to quirkyhill for the link.

(Lim Sheng Chuen):MY WIFE and I, on two separate occasions, had unpleasant experiences at Ya Kun Kaya Toast cafe, which proved to be so unfriendly to parents with babies on its premises.

In the first instance, we were having coffee and toast at the Holland Village outlet with friends on a Sunday morning when our baby needed milk. We assumed it would not be a problem getting 50ml of hot water to make the milk, but the cashier said they could not provide hot water for free but would be glad to offer a cup at 50 cents. We were shocked but we paid as we were told it was company policy.

More recently, at the Nex outlet, our request to fill the milk bottle with 50ml of hot water was rejected outright. Staff at this outlet did not even offer to sell us the water.

I’m in no position to comment on the urgency of having hot water ready to prepare milk for babies, but Mr and Mrs Lim here seem to have a certain expectation of establishments like Ya Kun Toast to have a limitless flow of free, steaming hot water at their disposal just because they make hundreds of cups of kopi daily. Allowing customers to even wash their hands using their sinks would already be considered going the extra mile, especially if one considers the costs of operation involved, a significant p0rtion of which goes not only into the actual usage of water for washing and beverages, but more so the very heating of it. I mean, if you’re willing to part with 70 cents for a hot cup of kopi  which is made up of at least 95% water anyway, 50 cents for 100% hot water would be a reasonable price to pay wouldn’t it? The same accusation of ‘baby-unfriendly’ practices could be applied to baby chairs as well, as seen below in this 17 Oct 2005 letter, Today. I suppose Ya Kun and the like being businesses with operational constraints, are under no obligation to please anyone other than the majority of their clientele, i.e people who don’t go around asking for freebies . So, unless the relevant authorities pass legislation against ‘infant’-ism and mandate compulsory installation of  nurseries in the premises, equipped with playpens, pram-parking and hot water dispensers so that people can eat their kaya toast in peace, parents will have to live with the necessary burden of minding their babies in public places, which means bringing along a thermos, portable electric kettle, personal baby chair or a more than willing grandparent if they have to. Didn’t those parenting preparation courses teach you people anything at all?

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