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Chinese Shopping Culture

China isn’t simply about the Great Wall or 5,000 years of history. With its economic development, China has become a major shopping destination with its own unique flair. The Guomao district in Beijing, home of the China World Shopping Mall, features such storefronts as Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Prada.

However, these sterile fluorescent halls with their white mannequins have never held quite as much appeal as China’s other shopping venues. Packed antique stalls, bustling night markets, and shopping centers divided into booths of different vendors with the same merchandise. For those inadequately prepared, however, shopping in China can be a complete nightmare. 

There are certain things you'll have to know to survive your first few shopping experiences.

1. Understand the discount system

Shopping centers in China will often post sale signs advertising dă zhé (打折), such as “打2折 (dǎ 2 zhé)” or “打 8 折 (dǎ 8 zhé).” Instead of posting the percentage of the discount, these signs tell you the percentage of the original price you are expected to pay.

So “打2折 (dǎ 2 zhé)” means you will pay 20 percent of the original price (for an 80% discount) and “打8折 (dǎ 8 zhé)” means you will pay 80 percent of the original price (for a 20% discount). It is incredibly confusing at first, but just remember: A lower number means a better deal. You may also encounter the phrase "…zhé qĭ (折起)", such as “2折起 (2 zhé qĭ),” which means you can get discounts up to 2 zhé, or up to 80 percent off.

2. Sometimes people will follow you

Salesperson will try to convince you to buy somethings. Depending on where you are, sales associates will be terrifyingly tenacious when dealing with weak-willed customers. You'll need to be equally tenacious when you're bargaining to get a good deal.

3. You can bargain

Modern shopping malls generally have set prices that can’t be negotiated, but vendors at night markets, antique stalls, or personal booths at other shopping centers, you can question their prices. Bargaining and haggling isn’t just procedure. It’s an artform.

4.Knockoffs as far as the eye can see

Depending on who you are, fake merchandise can be the highlight of or the bane of shopping in China. Either way, it’s always good to double-check quality. Read any letterings or labels for spelling errors, and check the stitching and seams for loose threads or unraveling.

Source:YoYo Chinese


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