The Curious Case of the “Half Price” Bakery

half price bakery

I was getting a loaf of bread from my usual bakery when I overheard a couple of students whispering and gesturing excitedly beside me. The bakery is open 24 hours and thus attracts a huge clientèle of mostly college kids who hang out there to “study”. It was about 2 am in the morning and I was just about to go to the cashier when one of the students leaned in consiprationally and murmured:

The butter milk buns are “half price” today, if you want to get them.

half price buns

Puzzled, I looked up and saw it was RM 5.20 for a small bundle of five buns – there was no mention of there being a 50% discount. This bakery doesn’t do discounts since it’s open 24 hours and they just cycle out their products instead.

What do you mean?”, I enquired, slightly baffled.
There’s a new guy behind the counter and he’s ringing up the buns as RM 2.50 for a pack”, the student breathlessly told me.

I’m not as excited as the college kids about potential savings by shafting it to a faceless corporate entity, but it did seem funny to me. I know that there’s a single bun version for RM 2.50 – the lowest price point of anything in the bakery. I’ve also had the 5-pack bundle before and thought they were quite good – especially if they’re just 50 cents per small bun instead of the RM 1+ it usually costs. smirk

I grabbed the pack and went to the cashier, and sure enough, the new guy rang it up as RM 2.50 when it came to the students turn. He also rang it up as RM 2.50 for me. I saw the supervisor beside him and was about to tell him about the mistake when I thought, why ruin the students fun?

half price bill

Let’s see how long they can keep this up.

I went there again the next night, and lo and behold, there was only a single pack left! There’s usually about 6 packs stocked on the shelves, it’s not a very popular item, but word seems to have gotten around and it’s *open season* on the “half price” butter milk buns.

I glanced outside and saw that the new guy was still on duty, and added it to my purchases to see if he’ll still do the same. Surely, he must have learnt of his mistake! How can a bag of 5 buns be as cheap as RM 2.50? Doesn’t he know better? Has he never looked at the bakery’s offerings? Most items are around the RM 6-10 price point!

buttermilk buns

Nope, it turns out that he was totally unaware of his mistake, and rang it up as RM 2.50 again.

I went again earlier today and saw that the new guy has left. I had a bag of the butter milk buns with me and it was finally tabulated at the correct RM 5.20 price. It was the supervisor behind the counter and I finally got the chance to ask him – “Did you know the new guy was scanning the bag of 5 buttermilk buns as RM 2.50 for a couple of days?”.

full price

He replied in the affirmative and said he’s been let go as a result of that. It turns out that they were selling out of the bags every single day, so they made more as a result but the books at the end of the day didn’t add up. They just realized what he had done after 4 days!

Oh well, I was sick of eating buttermilk buns every day anyway. :)

The potentially deadly dinner at O’Viet by Du Viet

duviet oviet

“She saved me from embarrassment and potentially poisoning myself to death!” smirk

oviet duviet

We had dinner at O’Viet by Du Viet last night as part of our weekend staycation, which we just came back from. It’s a restaurant that markets itself as having food influenced by the ancient royal capital of Hue in Vietnam.

duviet booth

As we perused the menu before going in, I remember a lot of the dishes from my trip to Hanoi. The place just shouted out to us while we were walking around the mall beside the hotel and my dear decided to have dinner here.

duviet bill

The ambiance is great and they have a secluded back booth with period decorations which I thought was really nice. The service is great too but the prices are a little on the high side. The bill for the both of us came up to RM 104.39.

fish soup price

I wanted to eat the Sour Fish Soup Noodles (RM 33) and noticed that it had a *sticker* with a revised (!!!) price on it. Curious, I peeled it back to see what the original price was.

price revealed

It was RM 19.90. I understand that black cod is seasonal though, so since it’s out of season (and thus probably not that fresh – low food miles, eating in-season ingredients and all that) I chose their flagship dish.

vietnam spring roll

My dear ordered Nem Saigon (Fresh Summer Rolls) for appetizers. This is what people normally associate with Vietnamese steamed wrapped rolls and costs RM 9.90. We had made Vietnamese rolls at home before and while mine wasn’t successful, she managed to perfect it. There’s options of chicken, prawn, beef and vegetarian. We went for the prawn.

prawn spring roll

It’s served with a peanut sauce that I found rather intriguing. It has a bit of heat in it but just right to balance the sweetness. The perfect dipping sauce! The downside is that there was just a tiny shrimp in each roll.

pho

She also ordered the Pho Hai San (Special Seafood Soup Noodles) coz she wanted to eat pho. It came in a huge bowl with fresh prawns, fish fillet, fried shrimp balls, squid and cuttlefish in a mildly spicy soup. It was priced at RM 15.90 and I loved the soup base – it’s seafood-y goodness! :D

vietnamese hot pot

I ordered the Du Viet’s signature dish – Beef in Vinegar Hot Pot (RM 49.90).

hue winter hotpot

It’s marketed as a classic Vietnamese winter dish from Hue.

hue hotpot beef

It’s basically a communal soup hot pot with thin slices of beef topped with a raw egg yolk on the side.

duviet condiments

You’re supposed to swish the beef in the soup and then make your own roll with the large plate of condiments (rice vermicelli, various traditional vegetables etc) and there’s a salty fish sauce dipping sauce too.

winter hot pot

This dish came with four (4) separate plates, each with it’s own translucent wrap. There’s four wraps in total and it’s meant to be a shared dish, which I didn’t know.

hue roll

However, the beef tasted really nice when dunked into the hot pot – the soup is a medley of ingredients that makes it slightly sweet and it’s a real pleasure to drink from.

vietnam roll

However, the fuel source burned out before we could finish eating, and we didn’t even notice it until after a while. This prompted us to chuck the remaining pieces of beef into the hot pot to cook in the ambient heat. It worked. :)

fresh egg soda

I also noticed that they have a drink I’ve been craving for since I came back from Vietnam – Fresh Egg Soda & Cream (RM 8.90). It’s basically raw egg mixed with ice cream soda (that’s vanilla flavored soda for those of you unfamiliar with the nomenclature) and cream – you can find it in various street vendors in Hanoi and it’s delicious.

vietnamese coffee

I also ordered Vietnamese Drip Coffee (RM 8.50). It came in the same nifty ground coffee drip system I’ve seen in a Vietnamese restaurant in Sibu way back in 2004 and also while I was at an authentic coffee shop in Hanoi.

duviet us

I had asked for condensed milk and ice on the side and I thought that the bowl on the left is a nicely decorated wooden ice bucket that’s supposed to fit into the drip system. I thought:

deadly ice cubes

“How interesting! They made ice cubes in a similarly sized metal container that *connects with* the Vietnamese drip coffee. I’ll put it under the drip so it’ll cool down my coffee”

flame

…and that was what I was about to do when the waitress re-appeared and *lit* what I thought was ice cubes at first glance in the dark back booth. She just saved me from potential embarrassment and the likelihood of a deadly poisoning. Haha!

hue hot pot

The “ice cubes” turned out to be the fuel for the Hue Winter Hot Pot that I had ordered.

I ate someone’s sweat

spit

Okay, I was on my way back home late last night when something very disgusting happened. I’ve posted about it on Facebook but I wanted it here for posterity…

…coz it’s really disgusting. :x

I’m still a bit grossed out by what happened last night – this security guard I was trailing to get directions on where my car is took off his cap and brushed his sweaty hair before I could tap him on the shoulder and say excuse me.

Obviously, this resulted in surprisingly copious amounts of sweat being flicked to my face and inside my open mouth. (!!!)

I got the directions but it left a bad taste in my mouth. ;)

sixthseal.com presents – Rehab anecdotes: Koko Krunch

koko krunch

The new guy wolfed down the Koko Krunch (a sweetened cereal) with the milk his parents brought him as though afraid we might grab it from him and have it for ourselves. We had formed a pretty nice and tight clique by this time, the only ones with cigarettes inside the center. Fong with the money, Ming with the means, Seng with the might and me.

I don’t know why they took a liking to me, to be honest. I was tough, and showed it when confronted the first time I went in. Respect? I asked at the end of my stay and it turned out that they found me “different” and “interesting”. I’m not the usual type found in drug rehabilitation centers. I’m intelligent and possess a certain charm that got us away with little more than a slap on the wrist from the center’s administration.

Different – that’s the quality that got me into the crème de la crème clique.

We have been watching the new kid for a while now; inmates tend to regards the newbies with more than a little suspicion, if not downright hostility. He doesn’t share his goods and eats his bowl of Koko Krunch TOGETHER with the center’s ration of noodles (for breakfast), rice (for lunch) and biscuits (for supper).

It’s a cardinal sin according to the law of the jungle, I mean, rehab.

He probably sensed our hostility towards him and made overt attempts to get back in our good books. He knows we’ve been smoking and wanted in. He has nothing to offer in return (and neither did I, and to this day I still wonder why I was invited in the first place) and his selfish acts did nothing to gain our favor. He’s also a methamphetamine user – as most of us in there are.

I think he figured out our rules the second time his parents visited him, bearing gifts of two extra large boxes of Kellogg’s Chocolate Frosted Flakes and 2 liters of milk. He quietly arranged five plastic bowls on the table after lunch and opened all two boxes and started dividing it into the five bowls.

Ming: What are you doing?
Newbie: It’s my treat, I want you all to have this too.
Fong: Never heard you say that the first time your parents gave you stuff.
Newbie: Well…now that I’ve gotten to know you guys better…
Me: I don’t feel like I know you at all.
Seng: Yeah, and don’t think we don’t know why you’re doing this. You want in on the cigarettes right?
Newbie: No, it’s not that at all…though it would be nice…

We proceeded to help ourselves to several bowls of the stuff. He only ate a single lonely bowl, taking care to choose the one with the least cereal inside in a last ditch attempt at establishing good will.

We never invited him to either our afternoon or night contraband cigarette breaks.

The rule of the jungle…

You’re either the pack of hyenas, or you’re the dead carcass.

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