I give you old friend price
Bartering is certainly exhausting. If there is one skill that I have gained from my extensive time in China, its the thrill of making a deal. It is the most valuable skill needed in order to win the china rat race of survival.
Take the movie theater. When americans go to a movie, we stroll in maybe ten minutes before the beginning, buy tickets and overpriced popcorn and find our own seats. In China, like all things, going to see a movie is a cut throat competition. Why? because when you purchase a movie ticket, you also purchase the actual seat that you will be sitting in. So the earlier you get to the movie theater, the better the seat you can get.
Of course, only if you make it there before the scalpers do. Quite literally, there are people who will wake up early in the morning, go to the movie theater, buy up all the good seats and sell them to the people waiting in line. As a first time movie goer in China, I was unaware of this phenomenon when I went to see the surprisingly poorly attended Harry Potter Premier…on august 4th. When Puff and I were standing in line, we were hounded by scalpers selling tickets. we were confused for a few reasons.
1) Since when do people scalp movie tickets to people who are already next in line for tickets
2) Since when do people scalp movie tickets in general
3) we appeared to be the only people really wishing to see Harry Potter.
Don’t get me wrong, it was really annoying trying to beat off the scalpers while in line for the movie tickets. but it was pretty hard not to smile when the scalpers said these kind of things to me:
“hello? you want to by Helli Porter ticket? Hello? I give you old friend price okay?”
“hello? you want good ticket, I give you very very cheap. hello? okay? I don’t have a chinese price”
my smiling only egged them on, and when we finally got to the ticket counter we understood why. Almost every “good” seat had already been bought. Puff and I, not to be tricked into a higher price, bought tickets in the back of the theater knowing full well that there was no way this movie was going to be a full house.
I only felt a little bit bad for the scalpers when I moved to a front row seat to watch the final epic conclusion of harry potter and my childhood, in 3D.
As if I hadn’t had enough of bartering, I headed to the fake market for one final shopping extravaganza before I went back home. I bought gifts and souvenirs for everyone, and I plan to go to get a few more awkwardly worded tshirts as well before I leave, with one more suitcase to add to the already fully packed two that I came with! I came out of the market a bartering champion with four new bags, two pairs of sunglasses, 1 wallet, and one new suitcase to put everything in. whew. Sorry I am not sorry United Airlines TSA staff