Today I’m going to write a little about scams, and things to look out for here in China. But first here is the story of my new shoes…
A few days ago I wanted to buy some new shoes, so I headed over to Lu Qiao Market. This is the place to go if you’re looking for clothing, shoes, or pretty much anything else in Changzhou. One of these days will talk about the market in more depth.
This place is enormous, it’s seriously big! No matter what your ‘in the market’ for, you will be spoilt for choice. After an hour or so browsing, I found a pair I liked.
I asked to try them on. The first pair were slightly too big, so I asked for the size down. She let me try on a pair of that size but in a different colour, whilst another woman looked for a pair in black. This pair was a good fit, so it was time to part with some money.
I asked how much, she said 460RMB. I laughed, put my coat on, and started to leave. She ran after me, and the bargaining began. I said I would pay 60RMB, she wasn’t happy, and acted insulted. After a few minutes we settled on the price of 100RMB (€12.40/£10). She put the shoe box in a little bag, and I was on my way.
It wasn’t until later that I realised, that they pulled a fast one! As you can see from the picture, they had stuck a sticker over the size! I hadn’t noticed this at the market.
So basically they didn’t have the shoe I wanted in the right size and colour. They didn’t want to lose the sale, so when I was busy shouting about prices with one of the women, the other was sticking stickers over the actual size guide! I thought I was quite street smart and clued in. Obviously I still have much to learn!
After wearing these shoes for a day, they actually fit me fine. (Although the ones I wanted would have fitted better!)
Oh I must point of that these shoes are fake!! A real pair of Nike shoes would set me back about 430-480RMB. A real pair of Nike shoes probably wouldn’t have spelling mistakes!
So lesson learnt. If you’re buying something don’t pay anything near the first offer! If the salesman/women starts getting angry with you, you’re on the right track. ALWAYS check your product carefully before parting with cash!
Ok on to scam number 2.
First I should point out that not everyone here is out to get you! In fact I spent a few hours in a nice little tea room last week, and had quite a nice time. As with most places, the girls just wanted to talk to me. I was supplied with endless amounts of tea, ate lots of little snacks, and spent a grand total of 0.
This is Jasmine tea. After being placed in hot water, it opens up like a flower over the course of a few minutes. Very beautiful, very tasty!
However this is not always the case, especially in larger cities.
So you’re having a nice little day out, enjoying the sights and sounds. You will be approached by someone (or a few people). They will generally speak very good english. After a few minutes of nice conversation, they will ask if you want to join them for tea. If you’re unlucky enough to say yes, they will lead you to a tea room. All will seem good until the bill arrives. Then the ‘WTF’ moment. You will be charged an insane amount, lets say 500RMB upwards. Sucks to be you!
Don’t follow people to tea rooms/shops/bars.
Again this is applies more to large cities, but it does happen everywhere.
You are at a bus station, train station (actually this probably happens in a multitude of locations), and you are approached by a very nice man. He asks if you are looking for a taxi. He will then lead you outside, he may even carry your bag for you. ‘Wow aren’t chinese people nice!’You will probably notice the line of people standing at the taxi queue. ‘Suckers’. After a few seconds a car will pull up. He will then drive you to your destination. Prepare to pay through the nose. Sucks to be you!
Don’t get in any unlicensed taxis, and always go by the meter.
(oh on a side note, in most cities taxi fares are 1RMB more than the meter says. He’s not trying to rip you off! The meters just haven’t been updated since the fare change 2-3 years ago)
Its not that China is full of people looking to rip you off. The world is full of people looking to rip you off. I heard about this scam in India. Basically a guy will light your trousers on fire! Then he or someone else will help put out the fire. They will expect payment for helping you!! There is a balance to hit between thinking everyone is out to get you, and being an idiot. Strike that balance, and its all good.
Well that’s enough for now, I may pick this up for a scams part 2 at a later date.