This is about a mini adventure of mine at a furniture mall and it happened recently.

I was scammed at Ikea Tampines.

Ok, scammed might be too strong a word, I was misled to make a decision by design.

Ok i admit, actually it’s just me being stupid.

It’s been a while since I went to Ikea Tampines and when I was there over the weekend, I realized there is now a food stand of sort on the ground floor.

Now, for me and the kids, Ikea = hotdog buns.

$1 hotdog buns. It’s a good deal that’s impossible to find anywhere else in Singpaore.

However, when I went to the stand, I realized they are selling at $3 now.

James : Oh my fucking god! It’s $3 ! I thought it was $1!

I could not believe my eyes and I told my kids that inflation has fucked us all.

Ok, I did not use the word ‘fuck’ but I told them the prices of hotdog buns are crazy now. It used to be $1 when I last visited Ikea some time back, how can a bun and a piece of processed meat go up by 200% within the span of a year.

They just looked at me with their big round, innocent eyes. Their only concern is whether are they going to get their hotdog buns. They don’t care about the cost, nor do they understand what inflation meant.

Looking at the picture of the hotdog bun, I realized they now have the word gourmet in front of it. So the word gourmet is for the additional $2.

Ok fine, I went to the ordering kiosk and my wife, who is grabbing something in the car sent me a text.

If I’m getting hot dog buns, she wants one too.

So I placed an order for 3 of those buns and paid $9 for it.

When my wife finally rejoined us, she was horrified when I told her I paid $9 for 3 hotdog buns.

Wife : WHAT!

James : Exactly right! The price went up by so much! It’s madness!

My kids were happily munching away and I told my wife I’ll share the 3rd one with her. It’s not worth it to get another, I don’t mind paying $8 for cuttlefish kang kong or $6 for satay bee hoon, but paying $3 for hotdog bun, which essentially is a piece of processed meat produced in a factory, that cuts deep.

Wife : You something wrong ah, why did you buy the expensive one?

James : is there a difference?

I pointed to the menu and it’s the only option available

My wife dragged me to the menu and pointed out that the hotdog is bigger and of a different colour.

Wife : The $1 hotdog bun is up on level 2.


I almost went down on my knees in despair.


Why do they have to put up another food stall on level 1 to sell stuff ? Why don’t they have a sign to say they still sell $1 hotdog buns on level 2?

I was scammed by Ikea just like that.

With the recent hoohah around Joanne Peh and her coconuts, one might think I’m making a big fuss over something so trivial.

Yes I can afford to pay $9 for 3 hotdog buns, but being able to afford, and willing to pay is another thing altogether.

I’ll pay for good food if the money is for the hawker or Chef’s effort, ingredients, his rent and overheads, no problem, I’ll pay, but for factory mass produced junk food, I can’t. I just can’t.

The $9 buns burns like someone holding a flaming torch against my skin, especially when I went up to the next level to see a large crowd of people munching on the $1 version.

I thought of buying another 5 x $1 to average down my cost per bun but I realized this investment is only going to end up around my waist. I was convinced that my kids will not be able to finish theirs but they proved me wrong.

My wife did not offer to share hers either. She simply thanked me for treating her to ‘gourmet’ sausages.

I tried to be sarcastic and replied;

James : I’m glad you enjoyed that expensive, thick & long sausage…

She shot me a look with the meat in between her lips which I took to mean I better watch my language around the kids or risk seeing no action for my own sausage.

Wife : I love it…it’s better than the thin and short one I usually get..

James : GASP!

I clutched my heart and sank into the sofa seat inside that replica of a small public housing flat.

Anyway, we were there to look for bookshelves. I was sulking like a overgrown child during the search but we manage to agree on something. One of those 4 tier book shelves in white, I’ll assemble it on my own.

Along with grabbing some other trinkets, I told my wife I want to get that electric screwdriver Ikea is selling.

She said no immediately, and she has every good reason to.

Wife : That thing sucks! Your previous one died in like what, a week? And you practically didn’t do much with it.

James:  That was so long ago, I’m sure they improved on the quality now.

Wife:  No you will regret it, don’t, if you want to get one, seriously get a good one, not this crappy shit.

James : it’s $17 ish, if it saves time and effort for the shelves, it’s a good investment. I’m sure it will be fine.

My wife knew it was pointless to say anything else when I put it into the shopping bag.

So after the shopping, we went back home and I got about to start fixing the shelves. We settled the kids down in front of the TV with Netflix, made some space in the dining area and laid out all the pieces for assembly.

I cut open the blister pack and plugged in the electric screw driver.

When I squeeze the trigger, nothing happened. It didn’t move.

I could feel this lump in my throat and I forced myself to calm down. I unplugged it, set it up again and I hit the trigger again.


I almost raised my hand and called out ‘IA IA IA’ expecting someone to come to my assistant. Instead, I looked discreetly at my wife who is standing a few feet away with her arms folded without a word.

James : I think they made some improvement for safety, we cannot squeeze the trigger without you know, putting some pressure on it.

I explained confidently as I took the first screw, put it into place and made contact with the screw bit. I squeeze the trigger again and again.

Again, and again.

I changed power plugs, I turned it off and on. I tried everything.


I was on the verge of tears.

The only thing that stopped me from bawling like a baby was my wife removing her top, revealing that overpriced lululemon sports bra she is wearing despite not doing anything related to sports that day.

Wife : Next time…listen to your wife…

My face scrunched up but before I could pretend to cry, she gave me a playful slap across my cheek to stop my nonsense.

We spent the next 30 minutes getting the shelf together with Allen key the package came with and with spares I kept in the tool box.

By the time we are done, we were both perspiring and aching from all the bending and twisting of screws.

You might think the story is over, but no.

Not yet.

There is still that faulty screw set we need to deal with. We’re too tired to head back out to get a refund so I decided to keep it for the next day.

I have it all planned out. It will be a good day.


Because that Sunday, is the day we drop the kids off with the in laws for a bit of private couple sexy time.

We’ll drop the kids off, head over to Ikea, get the refund and eat a couple of $1 hotdogs. Then we will come back home, shower together and fuck each other’s brains out, thereby fulfilling the bare minimum once a month quota of intercourse no matter how busy and tired we all are. (We average twice a month, I wanted more, but with work, 2 kids, and a whole load of other commitments, you can do the math)

En route to Ikea, my wife asked if I brought the receipt.

James : Yes I did.

Wife : You sure? Do you need to check?

James : Dear, relax… I got this…

Wife : I just want you to be sure…

I reached into my pocket and pulled out the folded receipt, you could clearly see the corporate colours of the company printed on it.

James : I’m going to go and give them a piece of my mind. It’s a waste of time seriously. Their quality control needs to be better.

As we pulled into the carpark, I subtly reminded my wife that for that particular weekend, it’s one of our scheduled themed romps.

James : It’s school uniform weekend by the way…I hope you remember.

Wife : We’ll see my mood later… they don’t look good on me.

James : It’s in the schedule…

Wife : They don’t look good on me…

James : I think you look amazing in them…

Wife : they’re very tight…I can’t breathe properly in them…

James : Nonsense…

I gave her a grin and she just asked me to quickly get the refund done while she go get the hotdog buns.

The $1 ones.

We parted ways and I went to the refund counter while she queued up for the snack. I was already thinking of the happy ending I will be having with my wife later when my number was called.

I handed the faulty set to the staff and he tried it. It didn’t work. He asked me for the receipt and I handed it to him the same time my wife came over with the buns in hand.

Staff : Sir, I need the receipt for the electric screwdriver…

James : I just gave you.

He handed it back to me and said that’s not it.

I opened the receipt and my wife walked over beside me the same time my eyes landed on the $9.00 printed at the bottom.

It’s the receipt for the $9 hotdog buns, not the one for the damm screwdriver.

I could feel this cold chill run down my back and there isn’t a lot of times throughout the course of my marriage where I did not dare look at my wife.

That was one of those times.

The two second pause as we both starred at the receipt felt like time stood still.

I’ll spare you the rest of the details, I did get my refund, but not the full amount because I did not have the original receipt.

During the quiet drive back, I stole a look at my wife to see her glaring at me.

Folded arms, legs crossed completed with the impatient look of a female inspector about to beat a confession out of a suspect.

And me, being me, just have to ask…

James : So … I guess … no school uniforms later?

James S