Shopping in China

26 Apr


One Response to “Shopping in China”

  1. ags2g09 May 15, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    Perhaps what I find most interesting about this module are the cultural differences, whether major or minor, between China and the UK. Can you imagine going into, say, Top-man, and trying to pay half the advertised price for a pair of jeans, as the gentleman does in the above video? It is an alien concept for people from the West, and yet a simple Google search will reveal that bargaining is a fundamental part of the shopping experience in China – the entire first page of results from that search is flooded with tourist-based websites offering handy tips and hints as to how to get the best deal. It seems more than just a cultural norm, with one blogger describing the process as a ‘fun and sociable experience’, that can be undertaken anywhere – except supermarkets, for some reason.

    Bloggers dedicate whole pages to these tips and hints, which can range from learning a Chinese ‘catch-phrases’, such as ‘ni hao ma?’ (how are you?), to not feeling sorry for the seller. Rather than a simple game or social jaunt, the concept of bargaining in China appears to me to be actually a quite ruthless and time-consuming process – when tourists go out to shop, it is normally to buy a quick souvenir or two for the family – in my view, the average tourist does not want to be detained for what could be a considerable amount of time in a kind of haggling tennis match with a vendor; however, if the tourist does not do this, there will be an inescapable sensation that because everyone does this as some sort of cultural norm, you are being ripped off if you just want to ‘get in and get out’, shopping quickly to save time for other things, such as sightseeing or going somewhere nice to eat.

    Despite my misgivings, it seems this process is going nowhere. Why is it so popular? Who knows. All that can be said for certain is that if you decide to go shopping in China, you had better be prepared to don your best David Dickinson impression for the afternoon – go out and get bargain hunting!

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