Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mustafa - 24 hour shopping in Singapore

In Singapore? Looking for a all-under-1-roof place to shop, any time of the day? Then Mustafa would probably be your choice.
I was looking a for Sanyo Enelope Charger and Enelope batteries. First I actually went to Mustafa to do other shopping, assuming the electrical/electronic items would be more expensive in Mustafa, I just did a 'survey' on the price and availability.
Mustafa was offering 4pcs of Enelope AA batteries for SGD19. A Sanyo Quick Charger + 4 AA Anelope batteries for below SGD50. The priced seemed pretty reasonable, but most of my friends recommended going to Simlin Tower. So today morning, we wake up and rush to Simlin Tower and I walk around looking for the above batteries. Hardly any of the shops I went to had it, and the ones that had, had limited options, ie one only had batteries, one had only 2pack sets, and so on. Then I ask which shop specializes in batteries, but sad to say most of the shopkeepers there are not friendly. One friendlier one recommended Simlin Square instead. So ok, we walk to Simlin Square, and here I go in circles again. Alas again I couldn't find what I wanted. Probably if you're looking for digital photography stuff, Simlin Sq would be an option. So what happens? I figure, I go back to square one (no pun intended), I go back to Mustafa. Now we look for the more friendlier looking people there and ask for directions, and I got a rude just go straight, and another rude Go ask the information counter. Way to go people. You really DRIVE AWAY customers. After the rude service there, I was even more inclined to go to Mustafa, as the chap there seemed friendly at least. And now after walking around in Simlin, I discovered Mustafa was cheaper as well! I asked a few shops in Simlin Tower, the 4 pcs Enelope AA was priced at SGD25, and after some bargaining they came down to SGD22. I'm not the best bargainer, so the more reasons I'd just go to a fixed price and proper priced store.

So now I take a cab to Mustafa. End up buying a Sanyo Quick Charger + 4 pcs AA batteries at SGD47.50. Simlin was SGD50+!. And when I ask about how do I get the GST (Goverment Service Tax) rebate (being a tourist), now they tell me I need to spend above SGD100 in 1 receipt. This is another interesting observation, Singapore does give rebates of the GST to foreigners visiting, but I have not seen 1 sign board clearly stating the process & requirements. It seems like a 'benefit' that's well hidden.

A little on getting to Mustafa for travelers like me. There seems to be a couple of options, if you're on the Green MRT Line (EW Line), you can get down at Lavender, and walk to Mustafa. Note, not many people hard helpful in giving directions though once you alite. Mostly Taxi Drivers, Officers, and Uncles are the most helpful! (speaking from our first hand experience). Otherwise get down at Bugis and you can get a cab or Bus to Mustafa I think.


  • If you are a tourist, and planning to shop more the SGD 100, you'd want to do it in 1 receipt. Now again, it seems when you want to claim GST from airport, you need to show the items you bought?? Best to claim SGD direct from the shop, some places like Mustafa and Simlin Square does offer this.
  • Mustafa does offer the most choices and best rates, especially if you're not crazy about haggling.