An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

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


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Rants & Raves: Good customer support from StreetDeal

I was supposed to go to Bangkok for a cheap holiday with my friend Natalie and last year I ended up buying a coupon from StreetDeal at S$199 per pax for 4Days 3 Nights, inclusive of flights and accomodation. Sounds too good to be true? It was.

I emailed Dynamikz Travels in November last year and followed all instructions down to a T, only to get an email notification that they were too busy to entertain me so I went down to their office with my friend to book the holiday instead. It was a dingy and messy office located in Orchard Towers. A Filipino guy called Ben sorted out the travel bookings for us and we were due to fly on 3 February 2012 and return on 6 February 2012.

Natalie was supposed to top up S$372 on both our behalf. Our top-up was only due on 15 January 2012 and Nat wrote them on 4 January to double check some rumours because Nat’s mum read stuff about scams and problems with these cheap travel deals and we were both worried in case we got caught in them. On January 12 this year, Ben wrote to Natalie and we were told that the booking had to be cancelled because of the Bangkok floods. Their answer was for us to wait till later this year to rebook and they’ll extend the promotion to us till October 2012.

Last month, I wrote in again to rebook and I received an automated email from them telling me to contact STREETDEAL directly for a refund.

On 17 July, I emailed StreetDeal’s customer support and within days, I had my problems sorted out. The customer service officer who served me was a Mrs Jessy Retnam and by 26 July, the amount I paid StreetDeal was refunded back into my credit card.

Dynamikz Travel is bad but StreetDeal is not. This will not deter me from shopping the daily deal sites, especially StreetDeal since I know that they have excellent customer support and I’ll be safe using their portal.

This is definitely a rave. Thumbs up for good customer service from StreetDeal!


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Couponing: Creative Coloring + Pre-Chemical Protection for Scalp at V HAY-TIQUE SALON

Date: 6 August 2011

Deal: 68% OFF, $48 for Perm / Straightening / Coloring + Scalp Treatment / Wash & Cut + Premium Treatment for ALL Hair Lengths @ NEX Mall (Serangoon MRT)

How it went:

It didn’t go well. I waited a week before blogging about this, thinking that I should give it some time to settle in. Booking an appointment was easy enough, but I still can’t pronounce the name of this salon. I love Nex mall as it’s only about 10 minutes from where I live (1 train stop away) and there are so many shops there. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to this salon again. There are more than 10 hair-dressing salons in this mall alone. This one is in my bad books.

This guy showed me some pictures from magazines but my hair doesn't look anything close

This guy showed me some pictures from magazines but my hair doesn’t look anything close

After paying $48 for this coupon, I still had to top up $50 for a “two-tone” treatment. Mind you, I have very short hair and didn’t they say it’s “Creative Coloring”? What’s so creative if it’s just colouring in 1 shade? I can do it out of a $15 bottle from the pharmacy! It’s been more than a week and it’s just flat red. There are no two-tones and even my colleagues say I’ve been conned. According to the description, this option usually costs $120. So my hair dye job is worth $170?! It doesn’t look that special to me. I had a great hair cut from CHARME and it wasn’t enhanced by this dye job. The hair stylist oversold it when he asked me to pay the extra $50 for two-tone colouring that’d bring out the layers.

There was tea and a choice of magazines.

There was tea and a choice of magazines.

The upside is that they did a better job than EXCLUSIVE HAIR SALON and didn’t injure me or stain my face. They also provided magazines and tea. So I was kinda entertained while I had to sit in the chair for almost an hour. Also, it was very near where I live.

Was it worth $120? Nope! And I paid $98 in total for a stupid dye job that wasn’t anything. It would’ve been worth buying the coupon for $48 – even at this price, they’d have made some profit already. Don’t go to this hair salon unless you really have to. If you’re at Nex, there are many others that are similar and maybe cheaper! Shop for one that is more affordable. Nothing special here.


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Couponing: Choice of Nail Treatment at Allure Nail Lounge

Date: 9 August 2011

Deal: $28 for Choice of Nail Treatment at Allure Nail Lounge (Worth up to $88)

How it went:

Other than the fact that I waited close to 45 minutes for the therapist to turn up, it was ok actually. My appointment was for 11am on a public holiday, so I took it slow and leisurely. I had my iPhone with me and it was a nice environment so I didn’t fuss. On another day though, having to wait for more than 20 minutes even after booking an appointment in advance, I’d flip!

Allure Nail Lounge shares a unit with a foot reflexology place

Allure Nail Lounge shares a unit with a foot reflexology place

Serangoon Gardens in a nice place and I’d like to live there if I could afford it. I think most people need a car as it is not very accessible. You’ll need to take a winding feeder bus service to get to the Bus Interchange or MRT station (I think). If I lived here, I wouldn’t mind buying a package at Allure Nail Lounge. The problem was I didn’t and while it’s not very far from where I live, it was a little inconvenient to get to if you didn’t drive. I took a bus to Serangoon Central (about 10 minutes) then took a feeder bus to Serangoon Gardens. When I got there, I was kinda confused. It said Allure Nail Lounge on the top but it had that foot reflexology diagram. When I got to the entrance, I saw a big burly middle-aged (50s?) man carrying a bucket like he was going to clean or wash something. I peeped in and saw bottles of nail polish and decided to brave it. Turns out they were one unit. No barriers or anything. Just one big open space.

Big open concept. Very quiet on a public holiday morning.

Big open concept. Very quiet on a public holiday morning.

My manicurist didn’t turn up till almost 11.45pm and I was worried she’d take a long time to complete both my hands and feet. I sure didn’t want to spend the entire day there! Luckily she was quick and neat! Before 60 minutes were up, I had my Classic Mani/Pedi done! And because they used a quick-dry topcoat, I didn’t have to sit there very long to wait for my nails to dry.

OPI Hot & Spicy

OPI Hot & Spicy

OPI Orge the Top Blue

OPI Orge the Top Blue

Was it worth $88? Maybe. I usually pay about $65 for a Classic Mani/Pedi. But definitely a good deal at $28, barring the long wait. I think she did a good job and it was a nice, comfortable, spacious environment (because no foot reflexology customers were there yet maybe). She tried recommending me some treatments and when I said no, she didn’t push. So that was good too.


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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: RF Eye Treatment at Euro Sense

Date: 5 August 2011

Deal: $23 for a 60-min Lymphatic Detox or RF Eye Treatment at Euro Sense worth $150

How it went:

I chose the RF Eye Treatment at their Parkway Parade outlet and went there after work on a Friday. I was hopeful that this would be a great way to wind down my work week. But I was wrong. Firstly, I had a slight difficulty trying to find the outlet. Parkway Parade’s upper floors does that to you. It is actually located in the wing that was used to be known as the Medical Centre. Then when I arrived, the reception was really small and cramped. The customers were kinda seated outside the shop as their seat straddled the doorway – how… erm, HDB.

Euro Sense at Parkway Parade

Euro Sense at Parkway Parade

I was quickly ushered into the treatment areas at the back after they took my printed voucher. Again, it’s entirely Mandarin-speaking even though I answered them in English. There were at least 4 rooms behind but all small and rather cramped, connected by a narrow hallway. At least there were lockers for your belongings, so that was good. The room that I was in was narrow but functional. There was a treatment bed, a machine near the foot of the bed, a stool for the therapist, a mirror haphazardly hung on a wall hook (not even lying flat on the wall) and a mobile tray of generic creams and gels.

Before I could even change out of my clothes into the gown they gave me, my therapist barged in and opened the door. I was just adjusting myself anyway. This RF Eye Treatment was really just the eye treatment. There were no shoulder massages or face prep or anything. She did attempt to remove my eye make-up (but poorly done because I had black streaks after the treatment) and also cleansed my face before covering my eyes and slapping on layers of gels or creams or I don’t know. There was a machine involved and that was soothing but the bed that I was sleeping on… oh gosh! I don’t know why they lay hard plastic sheets with sharp edges on the bed. The towels they throw over these sheets hardly protected me from them. It was uncomfortable and difficult to relax.

Was it worth $150? Nope! Not at all. Firstly, the environment was subpar. Secondly, the service was at best lukewarm. Also, I was in and out of the place within the hour. This means the entire treatment was less than 60-min. Or did they mean 60-min for the facial instead? Needless to say, I didn’t even express any interest in anything they wanted to sell me. Not that she made any more attempts than asking me if I was interesting to sign on a package and why not. This wasn’t a place I’d consider coming back to. But for $23, I think I got my money’s worth. So thanks for the deal!


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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: Eyelash Perming Session at Shine Nail Beauty

Date: 1 August 2011

Deal: $20 for 45 min Eyelash Perming Session at Shine Nail Beauty (Worth $68)

How it went:

POMO was fairly accessible. It’s one of those malls on the edge of town – not too far from everywhere else. I also located the shop easily. It was quite near the escalator so when you reached level 3, you’re almost there. The shop was manned by several middle-aged Chinese ladies who spoke a rather strange dialect – Hakka? Hainanese? Throughout my treatment, I kept hearing them talk. One would come in and say something and the other who was attending to me just chit-chatted. No privacy there!

Anyway, the layout of the shop was strange. It was long (not small, but I didn’t get to see the entire place) and messy. I was told to remove my shoes and just leave it there. No where in particular, just a finger pointing in the general vicinity of a table and some chairs where other people’s shoes were strewn around too. Like a house?

The room that I was in was basically a partitioned area just big enough for a treatment bed, a lamp and a chair. I reckon it was less than 1.5m wide. But because I went after work, it was rather quiet and I managed to nap (after my eye stopped tearing and the 2 women stopped talking around my head). It wasn’t the most comfortable treatment and my eyes were obviously irritated by whatever perming lotion she used. It smelt bad too! She also used some plastic clips to hold my lashes in place but she clipped so close that it clamped onto my eyelids. My eyes couldn’t stop tearing and I was literally crying. Even when I got home, my eyes were bloodshot red. Not a good sign. Either I’m too ultra sensitive and shouldn’t perm my lashes again OR she didn’t do a good job.

Curly lashes at the expense of bloodshot eyes

Curly lashes at the expense of bloodshot eyes

Was it worth $68? Maybe. I’m not sure. Let’s see how long this perm lasts and if my eyelashes start dropping off. Heh. Definitely though, $20 was pretty reasonable I think (possibly going blind non-withstanding).


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Couponing: Scalp Analysis + Wash & Blow + L’Oreal Hair Spa + Cut at Charme Hair Studio

Date: 23 July 2011

Deal: $38 for Scalp Analysis + Wash & Blow + L’Oreal Hair Spa Treatment + Cut at Charme Hair Studio (Worth $156)

How it went:

It was really crowded from the moment I stepped in. The salon was small and a little cramped. Part of the decor was chic and it seemed like it could’ve worked but it was so small and cramped and messy at some parts. My face was literally 3 inches away from a row of hanging aprons when I was getting my hair washed. Cleanliness of certain areas leave much to be desired. Even if it was a busy day, I’m sure dust wouldn’t accumulate so crazily in corners (see picture below) so quickly. Also, they put their hair dryers on the floor and pick them off the ground when they want to blow dry your hair. It’s a bit dangerous that way, no? With that said, I’m undecided about whether I like this place or not.

The thing to hold hair dryers

The thing to hold hair dryers

My scalp analysis was a disappointment. Groupon said “Detailed scalp consultation and hair spa treatment”. I barely got a few words out. Mainly, “how often do you do hair treatments” (almost never), “you have very fine hair” (yes I know). And I went to get my hair washed. Then there was a machine that looked like a giant steaming nappy on my head. Then another wash. Then a haircut (I didn’t really care as long as it was short). And that’s it. Byebye! No come back again, no would you like to buy this, no… nothing. I must say I really liked that actually. I didn’t want too much hardselling or small talk either.

Egg-shaped machine with a steaming nappy for my hair spa

Egg-shaped machine with a steaming nappy for my hair spa

There were a lot of men who obviously were either regular customers or just really good friends hanging out. Amongst them, fashionable, chic gay men. Actually no, all types of gay men. Your gym bunnies, your small effeminate ones, your metrosexuals, sporty gay men… I don’t know. All sorts of men. All friendly and laughing. This is the perfect place for happy men of all types. Especially if you speak Cantonese or Mandarin! (I felt old, spinsterly and dowdy in comparison. Made me feel like I also want to be part of the gang, you know?)

CHARME at Far East Plaza

CHARME at Far East Plaza

Was it worth $156? No… I don’t think so. Even with the location and the perception that the hair spa treatment was expensive, I’d say… maybe $100 for the entire experience. I like my haircut though. It was worth $38 in itself. And all in, very fast! Just over an hour! I like that.


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Couponing: Cell Enzyme Face Treatment + De-stress Body Massage at Maple World Beauty

Date: 21 July 2011

Deal: $39 Instead of $446, 91% off Cell Enzyme Face Treatment (75 min) + De-Stress Body Massage (45 min) by Maple World Beauty. Available at 2 Locations

How it went:

While the branch I went to was located in central Singapore at Orchard Road, it was not exactly the nice part of Orchard Road. You had to walk past dodgy Orchard Towers, for one. And also the walk from Orchard MRT station made me break out into a little sweat. I guess for a beauty salon that started in Ang Mo Kio, to be able to open a branch downtown is sign that they were actually doing pretty well.

Orchard Hotel

Orchard Hotel

I had no problems with the therapists and the treatments. They were 2 small-sized women who didn’t speak very good English but they had brute strength. I didn’t need them to talk to me anyway. My face actually looked a lot brighter and my pores much smaller after my facial. This wasn’t one of those “See! It looks so much nicer!” and me squinting to see the difference. The entire process took about 2 hours so it was well worth my trek and well worth the money!

Maple World Beauty - treatment room

Maple World Beauty – treatment room

Unfortunately I didn’t like the room they put me in. Mainly it was tiny and freezing. It looked like they had about 6 other different rooms inside another area but I was put outside right next to the reception. So it was a little noisy and there was a group of women who laughed and talked at the top of their voices in Malay whilst I was inside. Relaxing, it was not. Perhaps it’d have been better if you had the treatments inside in privacy instead. Every time the therapist opened the door, anyone seated at the reception can see me lying on the treatment bed.

Was it worth $446? No! But I’d pay up to $70 for this combination of treatments. They also recommended some packages which I’d have taken up if a) I didn’t already sign up with Fresver b) I had tried the treatments inside instead c) I didn’t mind trekking down Orchard Road to get to the MRT station in messy crazy hair (which always happens after facial). They had a promotional offer which cost about $48 per treatment (you had to buy 10 at $480) and I thought that was really decent. If you had the chance, you should get it!