Ever wished you could clone yourself and make the clone to do all your boring chores for you? Last time, people would ask hotel concierge, send a runner, or the office boy. But now, running mafan errands has become a business in Malaysia!
Have you heard of personal concierge services? It’s the answer to all your First World problems. How cool is that?! It’s literally like having your own personal assistant on-the-go. You just send in a request and these guys will do it. You can ask for ANYTHING – like doing laundry, or delivering food – as long as it’s legal and ethical lar. 😛 And we see concierge business runners on the road so often nowadays.
But have some of these guys ever gotten any random, ridiculous, or weird requests? We asked the concierge service companies to share their freaky stories. We spoke to:
- Benn De Silva, Marketing & Communications at NeonRunner (on-demand logistics service provider, specializing in same-day deliveries)
- Francesca Chia co-founder of GoGet.my (a crowd-sourced marketplace for errands)
- Adlin Yusman, CEO of Be Malas (an SMS-based personal concierge service)
But how did the trend for sending other people to do our mafan errands for us start? Hehe, coz Malaysians are all lazy? Or just really, really busy! NeonRunner was founded by young dads who found it mental to juggle work and house errands, Benn De Silva told CILISOS. So *ding* they had they idea to make it a solution, not just for themselves, but all the super busy Malaysians out there.
Before personal concierge service became a big thing in Malaysia, it was already popular in other countries, according to The New York Times. In the US, companies began flourishing in the 1990s. By 2000s, it gained popularity in Europe. In the last 5 years, it made its way into Asian and Middle Eastern markets.
And there is ALWAYS demand according to Francesca Chia from GoGet.my:
“We are essentially filling a gap for the mass to have the option to have a personal helper. People don’t have to employ a full time staff, driver, maid to do errands but rather they can go on GoGet and ask someone to help out just for the task itself. It helps with saving cost and preventing under-utilised capacity.” – Francesca
But knowing Malaysians, sometimes they might need more than just a driver or maid… and that’s when these concierge services truly shine….
1. Can you deliver these flowers…to a GHOST?!
The order: Send a bouquet of flowers to a ‘someone’ living in an abandoned house
This started out as a simple flower bouquet delivery for NeonRunner. Upon arrival, the runner sees nothing but an abandoned house (not very well taken care of either). He gave the customer a call and was just told to leave the flowers at the door.
The next day, the team got curious, so they went back there – the house was still empty, but the bouquet was gone!! When they asked a resident in that area, that person said no one has been staying in the house for the longest time ever. NeonRunner tried to call the same number, but it was no longer in service.
2. The multiple-call apology
The order: 5 coconuts with ‘S-O-R-R-Y’ spelt out on it to the customer’s girlfriend
One day, BeMalas got a strange request for 5 coconut drinks to-go for a girl. While the dude was halfway making the order, the customer changed his order to 5 Actual coconuts instead of drinks. At that moment, it started to rain heavily and their RajinRunner was stuck at the mamak with a bunch of coconuts.
THEN, the customer requested that BeMalas write the letters ‘S-O-R-R-Y’ on each of them too, so they bought markers from a stationery shop nearby and rushed all the way to Cyberjaya (where she worked) to apologise to the girlfriend on his behalf.
We heard they made up after :*)
3. Oops I forgot my passport, can you bring it to me?
The order: Drive all the way to Johor to deliver someone’s passport so they can masuk Singapore
While leaving Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, the customer’s husband forgot to take the most important document of all – her passport! Amazingly, she posted an SOS on GoGet.my and got a response.
Soon the GoGetters were driving towards Johor Bahru on the same day with the passport, so that the couple could get to Singapore as scheduled.
Nice to know this kinda service is available, don’t you think?
4. I want Spidey at my party!
The order: 12 Spiderman suits for someone’s party
GoGet.my had a contest for posters who could provide the most interesting request and they would do it for free. One of the posters requested 12 Spiderman suits for her party. Not 1… but 12! And yes, she won the contest. The GoGetters managed to get her the Spidey suits.
5. Gifts from a non-existent girlfriend
The order: Prank a single guy with a present from his (non-existent) ‘girlfriend’
It was 1st April and one office person had the idea to use the GoGetters for a bit of mischief. The plot? To send a cup of BoostJuice to her SINGLE colleague with the words “Deliver a Boost Juice to my boyfriend”. Evil.
6. I wanna pep myself. Send me a present, from ME
The order: To send a customer gifts with encouraging messages from herself
A NeonRunner customer was prepping for a big interview that was happening the next week. So she sent herself flowers and sweets with words of encouragements like, “You can do it“, “This job is for you“, “You’re gonna score this“, for five days in a row leading up to her interview.
7. Can you buy a couple of live cockroaches? Thanks!
The order: Ermagerd, this order was literally to buy cockroaches that are still alive
Be Malas has done many deliveries… but cockroaches?!! That was new. A customer requested some live specimens to be delivered to his/her workplace and the team was seriously surprised and creeped out at the same time. So they found a bait shop that stocked all kindsa bugs.
Later they found out that it was for a science experiment by a local entomologist. An entomologist is someone who studies insects. Please.No.
8. Will you paint my wall with me?
The order: Helping a customer paint her wall together
A poster wanted to paint her wall but she needed an extra pair of hands to do it, so she got in touch with GoGet. She even specifically asked for a female GoGetter. So off went a GoGetter to paint the wall together with her for the day. And they both had a lot of fun.
9. One extra safe pack of condoms for my science ‘experiment’
The order: 1 pack of condoms….for a science ‘experiment’
Be Malas received this message once: “This is not a joke, I’m looking for condoms for a science experiment”. It was also raining pretty hard that day, but they enquired further on the type and brand he wanted, and bought him the condoms.
Well, the MalasManagers don’t know what experiment it was, but since it came in during a thunderstorm… and rubber condoms don’t conduct electricity… they believe it’s probably for a different kind of experiment.
10. Buy flowers and deliver them to all the women in my office
The order: Delivering roses to all the women in the office (awww)
The boss of Tandemic (the guys who make DoSomething.gd) wasn’t around during International Women’s Day. He was, however, grateful for the women in his office, and thus asked to buy roses and deliver them to each and every female colleague. Along with – he had written out a speech with inside jokes and nicknames to individually call each woman to present her a rose, which the GoGetter read.
‘Happy International Women’s day. Thank you for not making Tandemic a Sausage Fest!”.
11. Would you help me send this pup to SPCA?
The order: Sending lil’ stray puppy to SPCA
A poster found a stray puppy wandering around a petrol station. He wanted to bring it to the SPCA, but wasn’t able to himself, so he posted up the job on GoGet. So they sent someone to bring the little pup over.
12. Go register my clinic signboard
The order: Helping a doctor register his clinic’s signboard
One random request Be Malas got was to register a clinic signboard. First, the RajinRunners took the authorisation letter from the doctor and headed over to DBKL for what seemed like a straightforward routine. In the end, they waited for 5 hours and met with different DBKL officers to get it done.
The bureaucracy involved wouldn’t have allowed the doctor to complete the task in time. The Be Malas team even went to Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka to get the wording on the sign certified.
13. Can you buy me 1 breast pump?
The order: The customer ordered 1 breast pump for his wife because they just became new parents
14. I’ll pay you to have tea with me…
The order: The customer ordered something delivered…then asked for, errr, company?
After dropping something off for a customer at his house (it was a wrapped package we picked up from another location – not sure what’s inside), he offered a NeonRunner runner RM50 to come inside and have tea with him. The runner declined politely. The recipient didn’t pester further. It was like a, “haha it’s alright then”, kinda moment.
15. Please deliver flowers to a girl. But it WILL get awkward!
The order: These were almost ordinary flower deliveries. One for Be Malas and one for NeonRunner. But there was an awkward twist to it…
For Be Malas, the founder himself was sent to KLIA to welcome someone’s boyfriend him with a rose. The awkward part was the welcome note which read, ‘Welcome back, baby. See you soon. Love, your girl.’ The stares from the public and the boyfriend’s reaction was worth it to the team. 😆
For NeonRunner, it was a delivery for one of their florist clients. The sender even requested their runner to sing ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ to the recipient, a girl. So they sent an Indian runner who already knew the song by heart. The girl was surprised and laughed all the way through. 😆 It was awkward, with everyone looking, but it was fun in the end.
Yep. That’s right. You can make money out of Malahysian’s WTF requests.
Can lah! Many of these companies are startups, but from the way business if going (from what they tell us), it looks like they’re here to stay. Be Malas, GoGet.my and NeonRunner are all super positive about their futures.
“I believe sky is the limit for this service industry; given the right price, everyone wants a concierge or butler and seeing that this is pay as you use, it’s something that appeals to a broader audience,” said Adlin Yusman from Be Malas.
For these services, the price would depend on the complexity. Usually it would be RM25 onwards and includes service fee and delivery.
Concierge services themselves are not a new concept, but what traditional outlets (like hotel concierges, credit card and airline courtesy services) lack, is consistency – having the same trusted concierge from the same trusted company see to your requests in a timely manner. So this niche-ness of their business model is their USP. As Benn adds, Malaysian customers are impatient. They have a ‘I-want-it-now’ mentality. And this’ll definitely spur many more companies to pop up.
If you answered yes, here are their contact details which you can save into your phone in case you run into an emergency:
- Be Malas: 012-643 1303
- GoGet.my: Create an account to post requests. Click here for iOS app. Click here for Android app
- NeonRunner: 012-232 0854
Ehh, but they only layan legal and ethical ok! These companies got policy. “When a customer asks for an illegal or unethical request, we will politely decline their request by stating that it is outside of our service policy, but we would be more than happy to service them for something within the boundaries of the law,” said Adlin. On that note, here’s a bonus request:
Bonus: Can you buy me an eagle?
The order: Literally. One eagle.
Seriously true story. They received a request to buy a frickin eagle. Ya bang… burung helang yo. Half the time, they were thinking maybe it’s a prank. Maybe the poster just wanted to test them to see if we would do it. But being professionals, they replied that it was illegal to buy eagles in Malaysia, unless you have a license (usually for zoos), and if the poster wanted to, he will have to own such a license. So the poster said: “Alright! Thanks!”