China in Photos

China in Photos: Day No. 15

I’m not sure whether the “Dior” is in the Pizza Hut or whether there is a Pizza Hut in “Dior”.  I didn’t really investigate much further than to take this photo for the blog world’s amusement on this Monday morning. (technically its 8:3opm here, but I like to look out for my people in the Western Hemisphere)

Today, just a little ways from the above Dior/Pizza Hut…store, Chris’ sister and I went on a shopping spree-Chengdu style. We purchased 4 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of cute patent red shoes, a dress, and a t-shirt all for the grand sum of around 160 kuai.  That’s less than 30 dollars US at the current exchange rate.  That’s kind of wonderful.

I credit Kathleen with the best deal of the day.  My sister-in-law not only has style, she drives a hard bargain too.  Those pretty red shoes?  They were originally 120kuai a pair and Kathleen got them all the way down to 50.

I love haggling.  I love the give and take, the knowing smiles, the dramatic pleas. Up until now, I had always thought that the bargaining culture in Chengdu was a bit modest.  In many stores and stalls you are lucky to get a small 5kuai discount.  More than once I’ve had vendors walk away from me when I ask for a small discount.

Which always strikes me as a bit strange.  I could see where asking for a big discount might be a bit insulting but a small one is just standard operating procedure in most places around the world-including China.  Why not just tell me no?  Why walk away?

Anyways, to make a long story short, I’m happy to know that buried deep inside the jam-backed, somewhat claustrophobia-inducing shopping malls along near Chun Xi Lu there does exist a thriving haggler’s culture with many a hard bargain being driven and won in a process that seems to be considered enjoyable by both the vendor and the “vendee.”

It was a fabulous way to spend an afternoon and now I know how all of the girls in Chengdu afford their high heels and pretty skirts.  Not bad for a day’s “work”.

And speaking of work, I think I am on the cusp of being gainfully employed again.  It’s strange to think that after the last few months at home, I might be back in an office again before the end of the summer.  Look for a new post in the Career Girl to Temporary Housewife series soon.


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