My friend Evan told me that this shop’s, Jaben Network, service was impeccable, and I thought, No, that can’t be true. Its some small little shop located out at this ulu place… Adelphi what?
BOY! was I in for a surprise. I mean previously I had bought in-ear earbuds from that place and I thought meh, nothing spectacular. Just in, tried a few other phones, tried my set of phones, and out. But today was an example of true service at work.
I walked in listening to a piece of music, was it from Madonna or J Lo. I forget but I walked in with the Allessandro MS-1s on my mind, and I set out to try them out, unfortunately the place was noisy with some oldies playing and people chatting and generally having a good time. Fortunately Uncle Wilson, through all of the conversations taking place directed at him, to him, over his head, towards his glorious speakers, paid me all the attention I needed as I tried out cans ranging from 165(the MS1s) to 400 plus dollars (Some Expensive brand’s 860s). All of them impressive, and all of them receiving through consideration from the master himself, Uncle Wilson.
I then asked if there was any way I could get a new set of more comfortable *tips?* for my Crossroads (The earbuds mentioned earlier). He just grabbed a pair of $6 tips out of a bag, and gave them to me. I was stunned. When I decided to buy the MS-1s soon after, he said its your lucky day… and pulled out a BEAUTIFUL wooden box. And gave it to me free. My jaw hit the floor. It was a $48 dollar box, and I was only grabbing a rather plain jane set of Headphones. I paid, and was thanking and thanking Oncle Wilson, *it sounds better in French, non?*. On the way out of the shop, I stopped and stared at the new CrossRoads X3i-s that had come in, they were beautiful earphones and I asked casually about them. Boy was I glad I did. Uncle Wilson asked me to come try them out, and as soon as I was done praising them, he said, come I’ll trade up your old Mylarones for the new ones. I was floored again. A USD53 value, … for free. I was simply speechless at the end of it all.
Freebies aside *though it always helps*. This kind of service, cannot be found anywhere else in Singapore. You are not only rewarded for repeated custom, but treated like an old friend, given preferential service effortlessly, and treated like a customer, one that wants to buy things from you again and again, and not like a thief that has entered your shop to try and finagle the loss inducing price from you. Such service, such attention is a dying trade in a country that has been ranked 26th in surveys.
Which brings me to ask, if the Audiophile world can have such great service, why not the PC buying/selling world. Why can’t they take care of us as well as we take care of them. Is it really because all Singaporeans are so cheap? Because yes, we may go for the best deal, and in the process put up with the long lingering stares as though WILLING you to buy something, or the blatant rudeness, *except to foreigners*, but why can’t there be a Jaben Like store in Singapore. A place where one can get exceptional prices, immensely friendly service and none of that bull that other places try to pull, a place where once can truly feel like a customer, and not like the little kid who’s being bullied at school to give all his money away. Is it really true that your margins are SO thin that you cannot afford to give good service? I don’t really know, but I suspect that this is simply because PC peripherals have become such a commodity that one can’t expect to get good service anymore. Just commodity-esque service. There’s no feeling left, no emotion, just a transaction and boom done. Should there then be the creation of an elite set of peripherals? Catered to the elite? Yes, and yes it has been done, but not in Singapore sadly, and not for anything less than the top of the range. The question that begs then, is why can’t they made PC-phile mid range and low range cards/processors/ram chips etc. Stuff that gives the pro-sumer and mild enthusiast shudders simply for the amazing value it offers. These questions though valid, I cannot answer and yet somehow I wish someone could.