Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Asian Eyes' China - Shanghai "A" Goods

   I traveled to Shanghai to meet suppliers together with my colleagues, Roy from America and Ger from Ireland, in the spring of 2010. End of day 1, Roy, Ger and I decided to head off to Underground Market at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum as they wanted to buy some branded faked stuffs.  I did not have anything in mind but just tagged along. From our hotel Renaissance Zhongshan Hotel at Zhongsan Road we took the subway line 2 and arrived at Science and Technology Museum’s exit after 5 stops.  We were greeted by flashing neon and fluorescent lights with shop attendants belting out welcoming phrase to come in to check out their stores and goods.  There were a lot of stuffs here but one have to bargain hard to get the best deal.  
Jersey shop picture from 
http://www.shanghaiexpat.com/article/underground-market-shanghai-science-and-technology-museum-12246.html
    Bargaining came as a second nature to us due to our line of work. Ger had his eyes on a pair of headphones and sport jerseys, while Roy wanted to get sport jerseys for his kids. The bargaining process was quite energetic and funny between Roy and the lady assistant, while Ger and I just stand aside, watching the whole process. The lady attendant spoke broken English, but with a lot of charming and alluring language thrown in. She would poked a number onto a calculator and showed it to Roy, who then poked another number and returned it to her. She shook her head, gave the sweetest pleading smile and poked another number. This goes on many times and then Roy walked out the shop. She came out after Roy, poking another number, and Roy shook his head yet again and re-poked another one. Finally after 1 hour of haggling, they agreed on the price for the jersey – haggled down from RMB 125 to RMB 25. Once Roy got his jerseys, Ger and I jumped in – I bought 2 Man U jerseys and Ger bought 5, all at the same price that Roy just negotiated. He negotiated hard and we got the fruits of his labor. That was what friends are for! As a courtesy, both Ger and I treated Roy to a Sichuan dinner. Anyone who ate Sichuan dishes knew they were loaded with peppers! Sweats rolled down Ger’s Irish pale skin forehead but he kept on mumbling “delicious, delicious” while wiping his sweat.
         After dinner we strolled on, browsing shops upon shops selling cheap toys - Lego, Barbie, Sesame Street, etc; luggage, fake iPod/iPhone accessories and myriads of Chinese arts and decorative stuffs. Ger further bought a copied Sennheiser head phone and a set of Chinese satin clothing, the one wore by elderly Chinese in morning martial arts exercise in parks all over Shanghai, but we did not jump in. "I will wear them as pyjamas" Ger said, gesturing to the cream colored satin clothes. I laughed to myself, imagined Ger in Chinese Kung Fu's attire, going to sleep back in Ireland. With that we headed back to hotel before the shutters came down for the night. Over the next couple of days, I tagged along with Roy for shopping - he haggles, I buy, and I did bought quite a lot. That was fun shopping that way. Ha Ha Ha!

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