Making Every Good Count

Neo Yu Cai, Fresh Food Task Force

How large a role can a supermarket play in your life? For Yu Cai, it's how he makes his living, and even where he's found love.

Published on
November 2020

Photos by Visual Artist, Lavender Chang

Photos by Visual Artist, Lavender Chang

Photos by Visual Artist, Lavender Chang

Photos by Visual Artist, Lavender Chang

Photos by Visual Artist, Lavender Chang

FairPrice supermarkets are well-stocked, full of variety and catering to many customers’ evolving and specific needs. Stocking up our supermarkets is no simple feat and setting one up from scratch is even more tedious.

Yu Cai, an executive with Fresh Food Task Force for the last six years, has personally overseen more than 50 store openings and renovations. Currently in charge of the fresh food category, he makes sure that all fresh food is in the best state before stocking them into the shelves.

Apart from that, he also manages the renovation process, including setting up furniture fixtures such as aligning levels of the shelves. They fix the alignment of the shelves according to some specifications as different products would come in all shapes and sizes.

At the point of this interview, Yu Cai was busy setting up the FairPrice Finest store at LeQuest in Bukit Batok West Ave 8, opened on 19 November. We glimpsed the entire process of the setup of shelf fixtures at the fresh food section. It was a flurry of activities as team members moved from point to point, making sure each section of the store was ready for stock loading, days before the opening.

Yu Cai originally joined FairPrice as a part-time retail assistant and worked under his mentor Li Lan after his “O” Levels. Speaking to Li Lan, she described him as a hardworking and well-tempered individual.

“During his time with me, he has been so well-versed in various facets of the store structure, I knew he would be successful in his role at Fresh Food Task Force.”

Reminiscing one of the more personal moments with Yu Cai, she recalled on her last day at the Jurong branch where they worked together before her transfer, both shared a teary hug together. And we captured Yu Cai’s sentimental side in our video as we journeyed with him during his free time, cycling to grandparents’ place as he waved to his fiance when he passed by her apartment block — something he never fails to do.

As someone who has been staying with his grandparents since the day he was born right up to six years old, Yu Cai remembers the love they gave upon him. Every weekend, he would have lunch with them, help with housework and check their phone messages or letters for medical appointments.

If there’re any parallels between his work and personal life, it’s the consistency and discipline in the routines. Yet within the stringent structures and quality control procedures of managing supermarket stores, he can “spring up with surprises”.

“I spot-check the stores.” He laughs.

“Apart from the usual format store visits, I will pay informal visits to the stores at night without informing.” He explains.

And speaking of supermarkets, it’s not just a workplace but also a dating destination for both him and his finance Yi Lin, who also works at the same department.

“We visit supermarkets whenever we date, it’s a must for us!” He quips.

They say if you love something that you do; it does not feel like working. Having both his job and love of his life in one place, Yu Cai exemplifies that mantra.

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