An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Rants & Raves: The end of my BellaBox subscription

This is definitely a rant. An uncharacteristically long ranty tanty rant.

I found out last night that my BellaBox membership was cancelled by the company because I have cancelled the next cycle of payments – without warning or reason. In January this year, I paid for 1 full year’s subscription (that’s 12 + 1 free box) upfront. I have previously written briefly about both my beauty subscription boxes – BellaBox and Glamabox, both of which I find have good and bad months. These boxes sometimes arrive later than the 15th of the month and you know, that takes the fun out of it. I subscribe to the Rough Trade Album of the Month Club and they send me CDs on time from half-way round the world!

Out of the supposed 13 boxes I paid for, I have so far received 6. When I realised that my friend whom I introduced to BellaBox had received hers a few days earlier, I wrote to ask why mine was delayed. I was told that my membership was canceled. This is odd and somewhat unfair because whilst I’m not planning to renew my subscription in 2013, they still have to cater to the 7 boxes I have already paid for. Maybe some administrative screw-up because of scalability issues, I don’t know. But that was the only reply I got.

This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I have received my refund via PayPal. And I also noticed that the comments that I (and another frustrated former subscriber, a Miss Foo, whom I don’t personally know) made have been deleted. I can now no longer post on their page. I have since unLIKED the page (not that it would be detrimental to their count or profits).

I’m sure I wasn’t posting explicit or nasty things and I haven’t had any of these issues addressed. In the 3 posts I made, I asked a) why my box was delayed again and what the issue was this time? b) Why my box membership was cancelled even though I paid 1 year upfront and only cancelled the NEXT cycle that was due only in February 2013? I also commented that c) it’s unfair to not take care of existing customers just because they have canceled future business d) I’d rather  seek a full refund now than go through the same grief for another 7x (after another user said she was billed again after she cancelled).

What prompted me to cancel the next cycle  in the first place, was that BellaBox had increased their prices (by a measly S$5) but I felt it didn’t improve in tandem with the quality of the products received nor their service. I am paying for the service, right?

Oh well, I got my refund – almost S$90. That, I really appreciate. And I think I’ll use it to offset the cost for a brand new subscription with VanityTrove. Because I’m a sucker for surprises and I love getting parcels in the mail – and even though it costs more than BellaBox, they appear to have nicer stuff and fewer complaints. Fingers crossed that I’ll have a better experience!


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Couponing: Nobel Award Winning Facial + 30 min Massage + 30 min Neck and Eyes Treatment at Beaute Hub

Date: 25 August 2011

Deal: $15 for 60 min Nobel Award Winning Facial + 30 min Massage + 30 min Neck and Eyes Treatment at Beaute Hub (Worth $448)

How it went:

Let’s just say, this is an experience I’d rather forget. Even if there was another deal offer at $15, I wouldn’t take it and neither should anyone else, unless you’re desperately in need of a quick facial/massage. It was trouble from the start. I bought the voucher on 31 May 2011. I called up 2 days later (in June obviously) to book an appointment, but I was told to call back in August because they had no more slots. The voucher is valid from 1 June to 30 November 2011. I’m assuming this meant that they didn’t have the capacity to accommodate. Imagine if I were to buy a package, I’d only be able to have a facial every 2-3 months? So anyway, I did call back in August and I managed to get an appointment on a weekday afternoon (alarm bells, hello)…

Firstly, bad location (for me) because you had to walk a distance from the MRT station before you actually get there. Also when leaving, I had a bad time trying to hail a cab. Secondly, the place was a little dinghy and perhaps in my crazy imagination, what a whorehouse would look like inside (please see pictures). Thirdly, they made me leave my shoes outside!!! Along the sidewalk!! Mind you, it’s not within a building. This was a shophouse. Okay, I had to remove my shoes (this I understand for cleanliness) but can’t you put the shoe racks within your shop? Fourthly, I didn’t like the 2 consultants at the reception. One (Malaysian) was ambivalent but tried to get me to upgrade before I even went in ($99 for an ampoule of Jasmine whatever) and the other (PRC) was staring at my trolley bag filled with toiletries then told me not to drag it on its wheels on their floor. Yes, I probably looked like a hobo so I deserve that kind of stare. But… your floor is made of cheap chip-wood. There’s a hollow-echoing sound when you walk on it. And Miss PRC, are you wearing your skanky heels inside the shop if we can’t bring our shoes in? The same shoes I see you wear in and OUT of the shop to buy food from next door?

Beaute Hub - almost missed it because it was partially hidden

Beaute Hub – almost missed it because it was partially hidden

They had about 6 treatment rooms when it looked like they only had space for 4

They had about 6 treatment rooms when it looked like they only had space for 4

I waited for almost 15min in this corner space that was just wide enough for 1 armchair.

I waited for almost 15min in this corner space that was just wide enough for 1 armchair.

Can’t say I enjoyed the treatment either. I don’t know what kind of back massage requires me to lie on my back while you try to shimmy your arms down the grooves between my shoulder and the treatment bed instead of having me lie on my front. I don’t think it’s the therapist’s fault while I was wincing in pain several times – from the extraction to the scraping face massage (was it a rock she was using??) to the weird shoulder and upper body massage. I suppose that’s how they do it at Beaute Hub. If this was their award winning facial… I’d be afraid to try the other treatments. Oh! But I did like what she did on my eyes. She used a very hot/warm eye mask before brushing on the cold/icy face mask. The contrast was interesting and I think the eye mask did make me relax. I probably nodded off during a) the head massage bit b) the eye masking.

Super cramped room. You had to crab-walk sideways to move.

Super cramped room. You had to crab-walk sideways to move.

Saving grace - hair dryer, mirror & hair brushes!!!

Saving grace – hair dryer, mirror & hair brushes!!!

So was it worth $448? Not at all! I guess the $15 I paid would’ve gone to the cost of the hair-straightener (why do they even give out these things?) as well as the nice eye mask that was used on me. Other than that, if I’d known, I’d just say hello can I pay you $15 for the eye treatment and please don’t do the other stuff on me. One saving grace is the mirror and hairdryer! I must say that this cancels out having to put my shoes in the alleyway and risk losing them. My hair goes crazy after a facial because they put it up in a headband. The hairdryer and brush is important for public service (i.e. don’t want to scare people with my Mad Max head).


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Couponing: 1 Session of ProUltrasound + 2 Sessions of PowerLite Slimming Treatments @ Expressions

Date: 8 August 2011

Deal: 95% off Bundle Deal – 1 Session of ProUltrasound + 2 Sessions of PowerLite Slimming Treatments @ Expressions. Only $49 instead of $1000

How it went:

When I called the Compass Point outlet, I got cancelled twice before I managed to get to an appointment. The first time was when they called to tell me 3 days before the scheduled appointment that they didn’t have enough therapists and someone took leave on the day I was supposed to go. I tried rescheduling but it didn’t work till after 2 weeks later. This time, about a day before my appointment, I was told they were doing some renovations and repairs. That the machine that I was supposed to be using wasn’t available yet. They tried booking an appointment for me at the Orchard branch but they were full. So about a month went past before I actually went to Compass Point to do these 3 sessions of whatever slimming.

Super small 1st room where I was just told to lie on the bed in my underwear

Super small 1st room where I was just told to lie on the bed in my underwear

It’s a con. The deal sounds like they were doing a lot on me for $49. Here’s what – I spent about 20 minutes at their very small reception listening to the very tired and uninterested receptionist/consultant talk about the various packages they had (she wasn’t trying hard to sell them to me) before I went into the back areas where the treatment rooms were. I was just left in a room and told to wait. So I waited. When she came back she was surprised and I looked back at her surprised. She then told me to change out of my clothes and lie on the bed in my underwear. And I did. Then the 1 and only therapist I saw (there were no other people besides the 2 of them) came in and proceeded to put some gel on my belly. There was a machine involved and then a 20-minute massage. Well it was kinda like someone using the flat part of a bowl making circles on your belly, except this bowl was attached to the machine and it was warm. So that was soothing and I almost fell asleep.

The strange machine with the warm paddle (extreme top left) used to massage my belly

The strange machine with the warm paddle (extreme top left) used to massage my belly

Then I was abruptly told to put on a robe and carry my things to another room – shoes, bags and all. This was a larger room and it had some strange equipment. I was told to lie on the bed. It looked like someone had just been in it frankly. There were also some used clothes hanging on the wall. It was all quite messy too. There was like a tanning bed panel (red light tubes) directly radiating heat at my belly and thighs. She turned off the lights and left me there for about 20 minutes. After that, the session was over. Which was the ProUltrasound and which were the 2 PowerLite Slimming treatments? What the hell just happened?

Doesn't it look like someone just slept in the bed & used the room?

Doesn’t it look like someone just slept in the bed & used the room?

Was it worth $1000? Yah right! What a con! NO WAY! It wasn’t even worth $49! No wonder Expressions International is a company about to collapse. I read that the founders have been plagued by financial troubles and it looks like even their employees are not interested in their job. Tsk! Slimming centres are all con jobs! For those people desperate and naive enough to fork out thousands of dollars (or even $1000) to do this… I’m so sorry, why don’t you just join me on the treadmill at the gym?


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Couponing: French Formulated Tummy, Hip & Thigh Slimming Treatment + Home Care Kit + Professional Meal Plan Analysis at Dorra Slimming

Date: 9 August 2011

Deal: $10 for a French Fomulated Tummy, Hip & Thigh Slimming Treatment + Home Care Kit + Professional Meal Plan Analysis at Dorra Slimming (worth $300). Plus free $100 treatment voucher.

How it went:

It didn’t. I got conned. I went there and their supervisor Sharon Au spent about 45minutes telling how fat I am (luckily she wasn’t really rude but it was quite tiresome). After I said I couldn’t afford their treatments, she basically said I was lying and she didn’t believe I didn’t have $300. Also she could help me apply for credit cards since I didn’t have one. I told her it was a matter of principle. I don’t want to spend money I don’t have. Then I was sent off on my way. I was puzzled and re-read my voucher (thank you iPhone). I went back and asked about the treatment I was supposed to get and the home-care kit. Long story short, read this complaint email (filled with grammatical/spelling errors, anger does that to me) I sent to support@voucherwow.com (again thanks iPhone)

I paid $10 for a 90-min treatment plus consultation at Dorra. I went to Ngee Ann City outlet. The voucher says I’m entitled to a treatment and a take-home kit. Your copy oversold everything and I think you should be honest.$10 was too good to be true. I spent 45min talking to a consultant. No treatment but I was made to sign some things that were ambiguous. She spoke a mixture of mandarin and English so I don’t know what she was saying. My exact words where “so there is no treatment?” and she said when I’m ready to pay $300 she will do the treatment and give me the $100 voucher for discount. I refused to buy a package when I didn’t even get a trial. What the hell was I buying?I left after a long talk about how I had no money for their packages and went back again after re-reading the voucher. I asked about the take-home kit. It was a bottle about the size of a lighter in a patent purple pouch.

You can keep the $10. But please be honest. $10 was too good to be true and they probably made a buck off me today. But I spent money traveling to town for nothing.

Irate customer
Chloe

Sent from my iPhone

Screen capture of the VoucherWow copy. Liars!

Screen capture of the VoucherWow copy. Liars!

Big glossy room, built with the money they con from people.

Big glossy room, built with the money they con from people.

How this is valued even near S$300, I have no idea. It's the size of a lighter.

How this is valued even near S$300, I have no idea. It’s the size of a lighter.


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Couponing: Signature Radiant Facial with Eye Treatment + Neck Care + IPL at Angel Face

Date: 2 August 2011

Deal: $38 for 90 min Signature Radiant Facial with Eye Treatment + Neck Care + IPL at Angel Face (Worth $432)

How it went:

The Adelphi is actually walking distance from my office, so I sauntered there after work. However, the beauty salon was hidden in a quiet corner in the basement and I had to make a few turns before I realised where it was. It would’ve been a great way to end the work day if it weren’t for the fact that the beautician (Li Yong, I think) was really rough. (Well to be honest, I don’t think she is unskilled but too rushed and rough for my liking because I did really want to relax.)

Tucked in a corner, right next to the National Council of Churches Singapore

Tucked in a far corner, right next to the National Council of Churches Singapore

Why do all these spa places only speak Mandarin to you? I usually respond in English, just in case I use the wrong words or say the wrong things. I hardly speak Mandarin, save for learning it in school. I’m not comfortable with it. I’d rather if you need to speak a Chinese language to me, you speak Cantonese. At least I converse with my Grandmother on a daily basis in Cantonese. Also, I thought it was kinda rude when she looked at my name and asked me “You not Chinese ah? You what? You Malay? You Philipine?”. I smiled and didn’t bother answering her.

Drapey curtains over the ceiling...

Drapey curtains over the ceiling…

The room was rather large and had 2 beds. The decor was a little surreal. It had fake brick walls, these flowing chiffon drapes on the ceiling but also a very quaint antique-looking Chinoiserie basin. I did notice it was really really quiet though. And I could’ve really just fallen asleep if it weren’t for the fact that the therapist kept bumping into the treatment bed or knocking over things. Also, I had no idea what she was saying to me and what the hell she put on my face. The first lotion she put was biting and it stung my entire face. She mentioned something about it softening my blackheads. Then she used something to scrape at my entire face and it hurt like a bitch. I tolerated it because I just wanted to see what their “Signature Radiant Facial” meant. She said RF RF RF several times and I didn’t know what she was talking about – I really thought it was something about radio frequency. Then when I left, I realised RF meant Radiant Facial because she kept insisting that I look in the mirror after the treatment because I looked “radiance”. I saw nothing to be honest, and I was kinda glad because I thought the scraping would’ve left some unsightly red bruises. I didn’t enjoy this facial at all. The therapist wasn’t thorough and she was very rough. After the treatment, I got up and I saw that my neck still had a huge patch of mask. She tried to quickly wipe it off and was really rough again.

The quaint basin... but the curtains hides a huge mess of machines

The quaint basin… but the curtains hides a huge mess of machines

So was it worth $432? NOPE! I don’t know what this facial was all about and I didn’t even relax! (However, if you need to do a multi-pronged programme. Go to Li Yong, she’ll have you in and out within an hour.) After the treatment, as usual, I was told there was a promotion that I had to get that very day. That I should stop buying vouchers and really buy a package at 1 fixed place so that my therapist can work on the condition of my very bad, very dull, very dry complexion. When she asked what skincare products I used and I said “L’oreal”, she ppffft at me and said that I can’t just buy cheap off the counter skincare when I really need intensive treatments. Little does she know, I don’t even use L’Oreal. I buy whatever is cheap that month. BAH! Will I go back again? Nope! Not even if there’s another $38 coupon waiting. Sorry!


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Couponing: Salon packages at Exclusive Hair Studio

Date: 22 June 2011

Deal: $48 for Your Choice of 5 Salon Packages including Highlights, Cut + Blow Dry at Exclusive Hair Salon Worth $126

How did it go:

How about it didn’t go well at all? I chose “Option 2 – Dress your hair in a new shade with a colour treatment and pamper your stressed tresses with a protein treatment to both strengthen and add shine.” and I can safely say it’s not worth $126. In fact, I dare them to charge $100 for what they did to me.

This is a HDB neighbourhood shop located in Tanjong Pagar and it looked like one that had fancier dressing but glossy black panels do not an “Exclusive” salon makes. It was difficult to locate and it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. I wouldn’t go back again for a long time. Unfortunately, I had bought 2 coupons. Damn!

Where are my ear caps? Why is the dye all over the place?

Where are my ear caps? Why is the dye all over the place?

Firstly, the guy attending to me (sorry, not a personal attack but it’s true) was really rough. He was unskilled and I now have stained ears and a reddish forehead. (Hopefully it washes off in the shower .) When the dye was applied to my hair, he did it so haphazardly that my hair was flung into my eyes several times. There was no ear cap and he used a rag (a rough towel with dark stains) to clean the dye off my ears and face. When washing my hair, water ran down the back of my dress, not just my neck. Secondly, the machine he used to heat my head up was so close and hot that I was sweating red dye down my neck and face. Thirdly, no magazines!!! Luckily I had my iPhone. Fourthly, he told me that the treatment that was included in the package was just a run-of-the-mill lotion from a giant bottle and I should consider getting the “Korean” hair treatment. Lastly, he asked if I wanted to buy more $48 vouchers to stockpile. So VoucherWOW, it seems we don’t need you at all you know.

Tissues soaking up the red dye dripping down my face and neck

Tissues soaking up the red dye dripping down my face and neck

$126? I think not. I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be impending suits coming through the small claims tribunal for false advertising. It’s definitely not a discount. I took a photo of their price list and I can’t figure out how this adds up to $126.

Exclusive Hair Salon price list

Exclusive Hair Salon price list