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[Review] A shopping experience

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I should probably declare first - I was given a discount at the Auntie Shop in Kaki Bukit Avenue 2. It was a 1% discount on the overall price I paid for the things I bought there. May seemed significant to people to have the impression that I am writing this because of pecuniary interest, but then again, I urge flame-throwers to think first, 1% of $100 is $1, and how much do you think someone will spend just buying accessories for a Phantom?


I like many others who have been forewarned of Auntie's attitude had been very influence to shun this shop unless necessary. Given the lack of accessories shops which affords variety, I finally succumbed to the greed of modification and hunt down this shop, despite its rather frequent movement over the past few years. Yesterday wasn't my first visit to her shop. I went to her shop many years ago when she was still sited at Kelantan Lane (beside LAB). Given the impression formed by the internet back then, I wasn't really too gleeful to have visit her shop then - she was what most forummers said she was, haughty, not incline to show you the things you want to see, etc etc. I walked away from her shop and bought nothing. Subsequently, I visited Madman and bought the things i needed.


Yesterday was quite a different experience. But not without some attempt on my part. I admit that I must have aged over the years to become more mellowed. She maintained her same self when I arrived there. Very assuming, not service oriented etc. But having been in the service industry over the last few years, I became more emphatic of people in the same industry. We often encounter customers who may not be right all the time and still insist that the customer is always right. Somehow or rather, this takes a toll on the way we deal with our customers, some became better, other became more non-chalant, some even became worse, lost faith in the job and left. I was incline to just leave and come back to this forum and maybe blast her for her attitude again, but again, the shiny chrome accessories charmed me to just stick around and see what I could leave with in the Phantom Disneyland I had just re-discovered.


Incident 1 - I asked how much it would cost to modify my rear brake level and gear shifter to look like a shadow slasher's forward controls. Her answer sounded rather offending, "How much are you willing to pay?" Taken aback, I restrained from lashing back and joking replied that I am a poor chap, and without some pricing, I wouldn't know whether i could afford. She persisted and said, "You tell me how much you are willing to pay and I tell you whether it can be done. No point of giving you a price since everything could be done if you can pay a lot right?" Something just struck me in the head when she said this. Take away the porcupine approach, Auntie was a very pragmatic person, even in her way of communication. She does not want to engage in haggling over prices. You tell her how much you are willing to pay and she will tell you whether she can achieve it. And especially in this age of internet, everyone seemed to know how much everything cost. I gave her a price and she gave me a satisfying reply - "workable, can be done and requires one day of work." Sadly, my schedule does not permit me to leave my bike inside a workshop for one day, else I would have resprayed my bike long ago. I told her I needed my "bicycle" to move around, and maybe some other day I will come back for this modification. She just laughed.


Moral of the story - human interaction is always a case of tit for tat. You try to be nice, and others may not return the favor. But if you don't try to be nice, there is even more reason why people should not be nice. And if you are not nice, high chance is that people won't be nice either. Unless of course you are a billionaire, or the most sexiest person alive.


Incident 2 - After surviving the first encounter, I began my selection of stuff. The first thing I asked to install was a chrome rear brake pedal. $25, she said, "ride your bike inside and I'll get it installed for you". Very assuming. No time wasting, and didn't even give me a chance to bargain. But bargaining sometimes is a double edged sword. If a shop tend to mark up its price by 200%, even eventually if you got a 50% percent discount, you would still be paying 150% more. And having bought this type of thing before from someone, I knew the price was much cheaper. I didn't want to waste my time either.


Moral of the story - I guess its called looking at the bright side of things. A lot of unpleasantness is a result of what psychology termed as "self-fulfilling prophecy". You believe yourself that Auntie is a haughty (or in Hokkien what we call "HAO LIAN"), "chop-head" businessman, eventually you will seek out traits which she displays as "see, the internet was true about her after all!" Learning to see past chatter allows us to make judgement better sometimes. And hey, don't start crucifying yourself early too. People don't look down at us all the time. Its just the way they communicate.


Happy New Year to all bikers - Singaporean and otherwise, PK and others as well. The world is becoming flatter, our skill colors doesn't seem to matter anymore, its fast becoming just different shades of tans.


Incident 3 - A gentleman walked into the shop to exchange for an item he just bought. The way he chose to articulate his request was what a normal person would do in his situation "Hey, the item you sold me doesn't work! I want to exchange!" The exchanges was what I expected. The crew at Auntie shop simply barked back and asked the gentleman to bring his bike down and they will install the item for a workmanship fee. The gentleman became very angry and raised his voice. Eventually Auntie intervene and said she will let him change. But the process wasn't a pleasant one even for someone who is not involved like me. She took out a box of the same item, poured out onto her counter and ask the gentleman to pick for himself. The gentleman asked whether the items were new. He took one piece and left, and never to return to this shop again I guess.


The value of the item is not a concern. But rather the type of item. As much as there is a buyer's caveat (buyer's beware), shops are expected to honor their own business transactions when the items sold are a matter of manufacturing defects. There are explicitly some things which cannot be exchanged once you paid for the item, e.g. underwear, prescription glasses, and one thing which surprised me when i accompanied a friend to go shopping, "Kate Spade sunglasses". The sales lady even made my friend signed a form to say that the item was received in good condition and cannot be exchanged even if it is within 7 days.


Some motorcycles parts should fall into this category as well. Some shops that we go to for servicing, they changed some of our parts and even when the parts were changed, some problems persisted. Eventually, we changed more parts than what actually caused the problem. I'm sure I'm not the only person who experienced this. That is why its important to maintain some form of trust between you and your mechanic. If you really can't trust anyone but yourself, I guess you will have to take up an apprenticeship to learn how to service/repair your bike then.


Back to this incident, the item which was being requested to change was not so much of an accessory but a electrical component. Something which cannot be tested on its own, unlike a bulb or horn. Some of us like to DIY and buy stuff to change ourselves to enjoy the process and save money in the process. But it doesn't mean we are as competent as those who are doing it on a daily basis. I shorted a motherboard on my first attempt to DIY assemble my own PC. Because I forgot to ground myself and also another LPT cable. I broke a 1983 Seiko watch trying to change the scratched watchglass myself, (buying all the DIY stuff in Ebay). You get the drift.


Moral of the story - People exchange time for money, especially service industries like bike shops. Sometimes its not the value of the work they do, its the time they take away from other tasks to do the "small little thing" you ask them to do. There was this bike shop that charged me $2 for asking them to adjust my chain tension (when I wasn't there to change my EO). But when i was there changing EO, that same mechanic adjusted my chain for free. I know how to adjust my chain tension, and probably won't be as fast as the mechanic and would get my hands dirty too. But I would pay $2 to have it adjusted if I don't feel like doing it myself. Only fair right?


Incident 4 - while dismantling the risers, the male person (I guess its the auntie's husband) left after loosening the nut. When he came back, he covered my already slightly scarred tank with pieces of old clothing. I was rather touched by this gesture. (9 year old phantom, imperfect paintwork). I thanked him for the effort and he smiled and said its only right. Some mechanics (you will probably know who) don't even care when they are just servicing your bike. They will use a scissor jack without buffering it with cloth on your shiny exhaust, leave their hand prints all over your ferrings and leather seats etc. Unless its damn good and dirt cheap, I doubt anyone would go back to such shops after one experience. Imagine the tender loving care we give to items we care about - i have a friend who will wipe down his bike every time he stop his bike for long periods of time (before going off to work after parking at office, before going home, before going off to meet his gf after parking at the shopping centre). We shouldn't expect the same amount of love and attention, the mechanic probably doesn't share the same type of affection you have for your bike. But the least we could expect is some amount of care to do no harm, and this was precisely what I saw and experience.


After everything was fixed, it was past the shop opening hours. 31 Dec 2013, New Year Eve, past dinner. The male person and another younger male person (i guess its Auntie's son) was tidying up the last bit of installation and checks. The young male person surprised me further by taking out a piece of cloth and started to wipe down my bike. Not the microfibre type I use, not with AutoGlym or Mantis but just plain clean cloth and some cleaning solution. All the obvious oil stains were cleaned from my bike, or at least the places which are very visible to the naked eye. I told him it'll do and thanked him.


Moral of the story - No one will take care of your bike as well as you do (some of us don't even). So lets not penalize people when they leave dirty prints all over our bikes shall we?


If you didn't know better, you might have thought I am Auntie's relative, or just someone she employed to help salvage her horrendous reputation in the world of internet. Nope, meet me for the 10 Jan 2014 ride and I'll convince you that yesterday was the first time I ever bought anything from her. We chatted, and she quipped about her trollish reputation. She even asked me to search for the other co-joining shop, Champion Hobby and read for myself how horrible her reputation was. She did opened up to me when I asked her about her reluctance to show customers items they request to look at. She explained in a very polite manner that her items are already displayed inside a glass cabinet, if the person asked for an item which cannot fit the type of bike they stated, she will not take it out as she already knew that the item will not fit and the person would probably not buy it eventually. (Her same old pragmatic logic of business dealing). And especially in times where there are a lot of customers, taking items out wouldn't be a good way to operate her business. She would have to pay attention to the item taken out instead.


I guess I've written enough to justify the amount of discount which I was given yesterday, if by now Flame-throwers are still minded to think that I am just a paid writer. Probably I should say how much discount I was given in an indirect way - it was the same value of the item the gentleman in Incident 3 came to exchange for, and not enough for a bowl of bah kut teh.


Once again, Happy New Year to all my readers.

Edited by matthias76
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I had another friend who was previously equally biased as the old me about Aunty Shop. In fact, he accompanied me to the shop during my "Disneyland" shopping spree and was rather put off by Aunty's "non-service oriented" style.


I convinced him that Aunty is a nice person to know, and he somehow succumbed to my persuasion and went again for the second time, where i accompanied him. The rest is history. He bought almost as much as I did, was glad he went as the Uncle pointed out to him a fault (which the mechanic said was ok when my friend went for his servicing in the morning!). He managed to get some customization done and was rather happy and eventually agreed with me that Aunty is indeed a nice person!


I do have a caveat to lodge - the workmanship is not perfect. Uncle won't be able to fix it to perfection if you are a perfectionist (I am sometimes). I had Uncle to install an analog voltmeter. Uncle's wiring was rudimentary, i.e. the wiring works and is neatly tucked away using black tape and wire ends were coiled around connector bolts. I eventually took apart the meter and added lug ends, sealed off all the loose wires using heat shrink tubing and used a chromed cap around the voltmeter.


Same with my friend's mod. Acceptable, but if you want perfection, you'll have to adapt yourself.

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My 3rd post wrt to the shopping experience I have in Aunty Shop. I think I must write something negative if not people will think that I am really hired to write good things about her.


First - the things are not cheap. It isn't and why should it be? The chrome parts are heavy and quality is not that bad (I'm not saying its as good as Harley triple chromed items). The bullet headlight I bought has light "leaking out" from the edge of the housing (meaning no precision fabrication). But hey, $120 for a metal bullet headlight as compared to $35 plastic chrome headlight you can get from our ever-rapsy sounding Ah Boy. You do the maths. Btw, I used up 3 x $35 bullet headlights before this metal one I bought, and I sworn to myself never to use a plastic one ever. The 3rd time the bullet headlight disappointed me, I changed back to my original Stanley headlight.


2nd - Workmanship charges sometimes doesn't make sense. Some items may incur a workmanship cost. But when you were there, you didn't see anybody doing a lot of work. Think I said this before, you can't penalize someone for doing his work well and fast. He can do it fast doesn't mean you can too. Else you would be doing it yourself. I may not be the most resourceful person, but I think I can improvise and has lot of tools and toys. Still I lack the proper space and utilities to do the things I want for my Phantom, the most obvious being the forward controls which i had been hunting for years since I started riding Phantom. I paid a price (do not wish to disclose) for having it done at Aunty's shop. Most of which I helped in fabricating (drilling, cutting, fastening). When the time came to pay, the crew told me that the price charged was for the proprietary idea (Intellectual Property component) required for this fabrication. Fair enough, I paid without asking for a discount. First - It was within my budget. Next - I believe that it really took a bright mind to even conceive such an idea. To ask for a discount seemed to insult the person who has came up with the idea of this fabrication. I am a happy rider now that I don't have to adopt a "toilet bowl" sitting position while riding my Phantom.


I'm supposed to write something negative - how did I end up writing something positive again...


Let me just share something about spending (not that I spend a lot or have a lot to spend). But this is gathered from my many years of buying services and products.


A bowl of fishball noodles can cost anything from $2.50 to $5.00. If a restaurant offers this dish, it may cost even up to $8.50. The ingredients may be largely the same, and if you are the type that doesn't care about taste, a $2.50 will do as well as the $8.50. If you are the type that goes for quality, the price may not be indicative of the quality as well. For example, a stall that sells quality fishball noodles for $2.50, but each time you are required to queue for nearly half an hour, if you are paid as well as Bill Gates, the bowl of noodles would have exceeded USD25,000.


My point is, once you have spent the moola acquiring the item/ service; it goes against logic to try to pick out the negative aspect of what you paid for or bought. It seemed to indicate that you lack inherent wisdom to decide for yourself, that you allowed yourself to be led by the nose and eventually into the abattoir.


The same applies to my shopping experience in Aunty shop. There are plenty of things she would recommend for me to install, there are other ways which certain things could be done in my fabrication of the forward controls. All I know is that I decide how its going to be at the end of the day, so if I happen to make a wrong choice for anything I bought, then I rather say that its my lack of better judgement than the "powerful hardselling" skills of the proprietor.


There you go - I said something negative. Aunty is a hard seller sometimes. But in this business, if you don't care about your own sales, who will?

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  • 2 weeks later...


I have been looking up classified ads to look for a workshop space for daily rental to do work on my bike. Found 2


1. Ah Ann of Bike Fabricator - $12/ hr

2. Surprisingly, when I asked Aunty whether she does rent out the use of her equipment, she readily agreed for an hourly rate of $12 too. I haven't been to ah Ann, but Aunty shop's has hydraulic lifts which could raise your bike to waist level for easy working.


Maybe one of these days I will rent a day and see what I can do to improve my Phantom.

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  • 1 month later...

Just to share my first encounter with auntie. Was there with a buddy... asked her a few replacement cost, was not given price as i don't have my bike with me. But buddy who rode there asked about prices of windshield and seat covers. Auntie refuses to quote and is saying that next time when we return to do it, then talk about the price. Maybe it's me.. but i like knowing the price before deciding whether I would like to get things done leh.


Will still check out the place though, as there is not many Phantom accessories friendly workshop around. Disappointed with one popular one that i had visited (especially when i looking at my rusty 3 month old crashbar)

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Just to share my first encounter with auntie. Was there with a buddy... asked her a few replacement cost, was not given price as i don't have my bike with me. But buddy who rode there asked about prices of windshield and seat covers. Auntie refuses to quote and is saying that next time when we return to do it, then talk about the price. Maybe it's me.. but i like knowing the price before deciding whether I would like to get things done leh.


Will still check out the place though, as there is not many Phantom accessories friendly workshop around. Disappointed with one popular one that i had visited (especially when i looking at my rusty 3 month old crashbar)


If you have been at her shop near closing time, you will get this type of response.


Attitude aside, her shop does carry a lot more accessories than the popular one which you got your 3 months old rusty crashbar. It really a matter of tolerating the first encounter with Auntie. Some people will tell you that as paying customers, we shouldn't have to take her horrible attitude. But once you break the ice with her, you will find her adorable in her ways...


Notwithstanding my own pleasant encounters with her, I caution about the whole schema of buying and modding our phantoms.


1. Do not be pushed into buying/ fixing things which you know you won't like eventually. All sales people are train to hard sell. Sometimes it may seem logical to buy/ fix something when someone keeps droning it in your ears.

2. Never fall for the trick of "buy more get more discount". Some things are cheaper when you move around and buy them separately.

3. Only commit to the item when you are very sure that you can't get it elsewhere, or if you can't live without it literally.

4. Other people buying/ fixing it doesn't mean you should do it too. Some people may just have a fetish for it. And fetishes can't stand to reasoning.


Maybe we should arrange to visit her store together once you get your 2B. I don't mind helping you haggle for a good price. Especially if you are going to buy things which I have bought before, and I already know the price.

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Maybe a bit on the later part (1+pm on a Sat) :)


Haha, I have not given up on the shop yet as it is one of the better-stocked shop+workshop that I have seen so far. Just a bit surprised (even if i am mentally prepared) with her way of doing business. Thanks bro, for the tips. Understand a thing or two about fetishes as i am still trying to find my hard-to-get-three-in-one key set ;)


And yah, already looking forward to do that with you folks!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just an update: Last Saturday was there for half day with bro Matt and done a hell lot of good mods :)

Auntie was like a different person. I was earlier scared like hell that I will kana again, but when she warms up to us, it's a breeze (It's like a totally different person). A particular kind gesture is when she took out my back seat plate out to polish it nice and shiny even when the task was to replace the PVC leather of the back rest only. I am also surprised that she is more than happy to help me keep my old handlebar and my top box for collection another day.


After this experience, I will say that i will not hesitate at all to pop by whenever the itch to do something to my bike arises. ha!

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Hey Guys,

For the benefit of other TA rider, may I suggest you list the items and price charged?

I think it would encourage more TA rider to patronise the shop once we have the confidence to accept the charges.

I feel it is a nice place to hang-out for TA riders with the lesser traffic ...

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All the more we shouldn't publish the price and attract too much crowd there right? :p


Just kidding. Ben should have the most updated pricing list. All my mods are done at least $10 more per item than his. Hahaha...


Those that I did that Ben didn't


1. Kappa K52N with Givi metal base plate - $210

2. Analog Voltmeter - $60

3. Popped out number plate - $45

4. Front Fender guard - $35

5. Rear Box top rack (modded from vespa box rack) - $40

6. Tear drop Bullet headlight (headlight assembly is actually a one piece halogen bulb 55W) - $120

7. Tear drop signal light (cree is originally led, but can modded back to normal bulb) - $25 per piece

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dudes, to hang out there is like hanging out in a swimming pool of poison. Mods seems nver enough yah! haa


Let me go back and get to my price list and official address tonight (one thing i am sure, the official shop name is not "auntie shop)

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As promised:

Hock Thiam Heng Trading Co, 10 Kaki Bukit Road 2, #01-09/10 First East Centre S(417868) Tel: 67478611/66046637


Things purchased:

Auntie Shop

Riser & Handlebar 115.00

Rubber Throttle grips 12.00

Backseat Leather cover 15.00

Kappa sidebox K21 (with mount) 220.00

Front footrest 110.00

Windshield 60.00

Rear Signal light (with mount) 110.00

Brake & Gear level 70.00

Bike Cover (XXL) 25.00

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There used to be a price list in this thread... repair and mods list..


Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk


class2B -26/2/09

class 2A -27/7/10

class 3 - 6/1/11

class 2 - 30/8/12



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  • 1 month later...

Ive tracked down her ever shifting shop and updated in one of the pk thread.

Been her customer for 8 years.

What I can say is that every time you are there, it will be a different experience.

Dragstar 400 classic & Zx6r

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
How much does it cost u?


The footpegs alone cost $120 a pair. The gear shift level i bought another original one from Everfit for $35 (my old one was worn and looks fugly). The cost for modification (workmanship) was $220. Includes sawing off the original gear shift level and extending it by welding, reversing the side chrome covers to fix it to the main frame (effectively bring the level controls forward).


What i need now is just a rider back rest to complete the experience.

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  • 6 months later...
I think maybe i will do it next month as my legs are too cramped with the mid-control.

I cannot take it liao.

Inspection should be no problems right?


I passed 2 inspections since the mod already. There are other options for mods. You can buy the stuff and bring it to Bike Fabricator ([email protected]) and look for Ah Ann. He is however super busy and charges may be higher/ lower depending on how much work is required.


One thing you can be assured of is his quality workmanship. Aunty shop you have to make sure Uncle is around. He is the only one who knows how to weld there and some welding is required. Welding skills wise, uncle's skill level is recreational, ah ann is professional.

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