(Yicai Global) March 21 -- Hou Yi, chief executive of Alibaba’s fresh food store Hema Fresh, has vowed to stop weighing strings used to contain crabs after an individual complained that the bands were more expensive than the seafood itself.
A lady surnamed Zhong bought three live swimming crabs for CNY232 (USD37) from the Shanghai Bay store at a price of CNY90 per 500 grams, but the rubber bands that held the crabs weighed in at 666 grams, costing the customer an additional CNY120, the Shanghai Observer reported.
Hou conceded that this was “unacceptable,” and took full blame for the incident.
He plans to lay out two new rules for the sales of fresh food in stores. The first is to sell crabs without strings, but if the crabs need to be tied due to safety concerns, staff will sell them by count or net weight. The second will be regarding bagged up seafood: staff will now cut the corner of the bag to drain the water and weigh the items without the added mass.
“For any failure to honor our commitment, we are willing to offer the crabs for free on the spot,” Hou said, adding that customers will be able to watch and ensure staff follow the new rules.
The store manager in the Zhong incident had initially said there was no problem with the strings, and that they were designed to keep shopkeepers and customers from being pinched by crabs, which was an “industry standard,” the Shanghai Observer added, saying that the problem runs sector-wide and one company making a change isn’t enough.