Horrible Experience at Café&Meal MUJI Plaza Singapura

I had one of the most humiliating experiences at MUJI Plaza Singapura, no fault of mine. It was so absurd that it took me a meal’s time – not at MUJI – to internalize.

I enjoy the food menu at MUJI. It strikes a good balance between tasty food and healthy food. The price is more premium. But once in a while, it is OK.

It was during a weekend. Faced with a table shortage during lunch hour, I joined a queue. In front of me was a big group of young people. Further down, there were tourists from Indonesia. The queue was long. And I was queuing alone. Since I had no one to talk to, I looked at my phone most of the time. I recalled the waitress passed by and asked, “Table for how many?” I said two. She quickly moved on. She looked stern, in her late fifties. Highly efficient.

To control the crowd entering the cafe, there was a barrier. It was closed when the cafe was full. And it was open when tables were available.

I was looking at my phone when I sensed the big group before I had entered. I saw the barrier was opened. I presumed that it was my turn. So I entered, looking for a table. But there was none. The cafe was full.

Naturally, I returned to the front of the queue. The barrier was opened. As I rejoined, a woman in her thirties stopped me and accused me of queue jumping. Then out of nowhere, the waitress appeared and testified that she did not see me in the queue! I was speechless. I told my side of the story. The barrier was opened. I thought there was a table available. Hence, I walked in.

The woman behind me insisted that she did not see me. Neither did the waitress. Further down the queue, the Indonesian tourists watched on and said nothing. No one spoke up as though I did not exist until now!

I was red-faced. Speechless. The waitress asked me to rejoin the queue, from the back. Doing so would have admitted that I had jumped the queue, which I didn’t.

I was upset. But I did not wish to cause a scene. Besides, I was hungry. So I have decided to leave MUJI and dine elsewhere.

During my meal, I thought to myself, if I let this go today, I would regret this very moment. I was wronged. There was no one in this world but me to look after myself.

So I returned to the cafe after my meal. At the entrance of the cafe, the barrier was closed. The same waitress recognized me. I requested to speak to the manager. With the same stern look, she asked, “The queue just now?” I said yes. I pointed at the CCTV nearby and told her the footage should prove I was in the queue.

The waitress rolled her eyes, disregarded what I said, and pointed at the cashier. “Speak to Ivan”. She opened the barrier and let me in.

It was passed two but the cafe was still busy. I patiently queued for my turn.

At the cashier, I explained to Ivan that I had a feedback/complaint about the cafe. I was prepared to return at a later time. But Ivan promptly stepped aside and attended to me. He was empathetic. I asked if we could check the CCTV together with the waitress. He said it wouldn’t be necessary and promised that he would speak with her.

Frankly, at that moment, I just wanted to have my side of the story heard. He passed me his name card. Assistant manager, Ivan Tan. He offered that I could further escalate if I wanted to.

I have decided to rest the case. My intention is not to seek justice. I don’t want to look back to that day and regret that I did not have the courage to speak up for myself.

What is the moral of the story? And what have I learned? Always give people the benefit of the doubt.

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