Insights + interviews

In Conversation With DIY Champion Jane Chan

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We speak to 58-year-old Jane Chan, an active ager – who first sought out DIY options six years ago as part of her job as a pantry lady.

Today, she opts for self-service checkouts whenever they’re available because it gives her the flexibility to do things her way, and more importantly, she finds it fun while being able to save time for other things that matter.

AA: What were the reasons that made you learn about the self-service systems at the beginning?

JC: I started using DIY about six years ago when I was working as a pantry lady in the office. As part of my job, I had to buy amenities like paper products, instant drinks and the usual office supplies for the office. Because I had to buy them during office hours, the easiest and fastest option for me was to DIY at the supermarkets as there were no queues.


AA: How did you learn to make use of these self-service systems? Was it through trial and error, or did you read up about it?

JC: I was waiting in the queue for the conventional checkouts at the supermarket one day when I got an urgent call from my office (I was needed urgently in the office, to make coffee for my boss!). That’s when I realised that the self-check out kiosks had no queue. So I moved over to that section, paid for my items, and rushed back to the office!

AA: Did you face any problems in the initial stages? What were the usual hiccups faced when using these services?

JC: No, I didn’t face any problems on my first attempt. To me, the step-by- step instructions on screen were clear and easy to understand. I’ve been using DIY for a long time now, but at times, when I scan the product, the scanner does not recognise it, and that’s when I’d need a staff to assist with the process. But there’s always a staff nearby, so it’s easy to resolve.

AA: Any of your family members using the self-service facilities as proficiently as you? Or are you the sole “expert” in this area?

JC: Yes, my children use it too, both at retail and F&B outlets. As long as there is self-service, they will go for it.


AA: What are the self-service facilities that you have been using? Can you give us some examples of how it has benefited you?

JC: The most common one is at the supermarket, where I purchase my groceries. I usually go to NTUC FairPrice, but there is also Sheng Siong and Cold Storage, which I do not use so often as they are not near my home. But if I happen to be around the area where these supermarkets are, I will also use their self-check outs. I like it because I’m already used to it, and it is part of my usual routine. When I eat out with my family on the weekends, I also use DIY at places like Kopitiam, and McDonald’s. What I like about DIY at these places is being able to go cashless. For McDonald’s, I can customise my burger!

AA: Do you have any tips for new users on how they can adapt to these new technologies?

JC: Use them more often… Because more practice makes perfect. Once you are familiar with the system, you can do it faster than anyone.

AA: What are the improvements that the various agencies can consider when introducing these self-service platforms to our active agers for easy usage?

JC: I’d say to let the machine talk. Seniors may have problems looking at the screen because of their eyesight, so if the step-by- step instructions were recorded and played, I believe active agers like myself will understand it better and would be happy to use them more often.



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