The internet this week remained angry at a Punggol-area restaurant after it retracted its live-crab claw machine only to replace the sad crustaceans with empty boxes.
Responding to those accusing them of animal cruelty (including an animal rights organization), the House of Seafood’s new gambit of stocking the S$5-a-try machine with boxes that can be exchanged for a real crab didn’t sway many online.
“Stop the BS … Get rid of the machine and just focus on your booking a decent meal for your customers,” wrote Eric Chew.
“When food is good, everyone will enjoy it,” wrote another Facebook user Wang Toon Joon. “No gimmicks can replace good food.”
The restaurant relaunched the machine Friday after shutting it down in the wake of many complaints following the release of a video publicizing it. Hundreds of unhappy comments followed, with people criticizing the restaurant of undertaking a “cheap” promotional tactic and animal cruelty. That led its CEO, Francis Ng, to apologize to the public for the “inconvenience and unhappiness” caused.
He said no one complained about identical machines at two of his restaurants in China.
One netizen suggested the restaurant should just let people play the arcade-style claw machine for free, for fun.
“Maybe catching crab plushies for free while dining at [y]our restaurant will still be a good disaster recovery and marketing strategy after all,” Christine Law wrote.
Others expressed their gratitude to The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for condemning the restaurant and urging the public not to use the machine.
“Thank you, SPCA for shutting this down. Live animals are absolutely not toys and should be treated with respect!” Ping Lau wrote on the SPCA’s Facebook page.
Some called for the restaurant to face a penalty.
“This restaurant deserves to be fined!” wrote Pazuzu Chong while another social media user Endmund Koh said the restaurant should get legally punished or at least “a stern warning.”