Saturday 1 August 2009

They can open Ion Orchard, but they can't open my handphone

It's the biggest thing to hit Orchard Road since Fiona Xie's bouncing boobs back in 2004 when the bikini-clad actress ran in front of Wisma Atria for the drama series The Champions.

Ahhh, good times.

After months of sidestepping the street vendors camped outside the construction site above the Orchard MRT station, we can finally see what the hype is about when Ion Orchard officially opened two weeks ago.

The freaky curvy exterior makes it look like a cross between the Guggenheim Museum in Spain and the Esplanade's deformed younger brother on steroids.

Isn't it a bad idea to have the Louis Vuitton store entrance outside the building where the label whores are queueing to get in? What if it rains? There's hardly any shelter there. I hope LV bags are waterproof.

As I was exploring the mall's lower levels, I spotted a handphone shop and decided to upgrade my phone.

The young saleswoman unwrapped a brand new handphone for me to test, but she couldn't remove the cover to put in the SIM card.

I figured she had probably been working there for only as long as the mall had been open - less than two weeks.

She turned to her more experienced colleague, who thankfully managed to get the phone open.

The woman then asked for my current phone to take out the SIM card to put into the new phone.

But she couldn't open my phone too - and embarrassingly, neither could I. She turned to her colleague, who came to the rescue once again.

Finally, with my SIM card in the new phone, I turned it on and ... it didn't work.

At this point, I would rather be standing in line outside the LV store.

So the woman took out other another new phone and we had to go through the whole thing again.

Fortunately, the second phone worked fine. So I signed the documents she gave me to sign and asked her if that was all.

She said yes and was probably as relieved as I was that I was finally leaving the shop.

I barely made it to the escalator when I suddenly heard a strange sound. Oh, my new phone was ringing.

It turned out that my first call on my new phone was from the woman asking me to go back to the shop to pay for the phone.

When I returned to the shop, she greeted me like we were old chums and wisely let her colleague process my payment.

Now I understand why 313@Somerset is providing free service training for those working in the yet-to-be-open mall.

For all its confounding architecture and fancy designer brands, what I'll remember most of my first visit to Ion Orchard is the young woman who worked in the handphone shop who didn't know how to open a handphone.

Where's Fiona Xie when you need her?

- Published in The New Paper, 2 August 2009

UPDATE: The phone shop has since closed down.