Oh my goodness. I just got back from the Crap Market. I cut my shopping expedition short because I was too overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed is why I like One Link so much but even this was too much for me. I need extra manpower for this trip.
I told Ben that I wanted to buy a Christmas tree and asked him where I should go. I thought he’d say something easy like Metro, the pseudo Super Wal-Mart where I do most of my grocery shopping. Oh no, he said One Link (he doesn’t know I call it the Crap Market). So off we went. I should have known it wasn’t going to be a good trip when I saw how crowded it was. If I had known we were going there I would have asked him to pick me up earlier. The building he showed me to go for a tree was one I had never been in. It’s the “Artificial Flower” part of One Link. I should probably let you know that the stores are gearing up for Chinese New Year on Jan. 23. I have never in my life seen so much red and gold nor have I ever seen so many Chinese lanterns and paper wall decorations. The main building of the Crap Market has a large open space in the middle of the building, similar to our malls. Not so in this building. It was cram-packed with stalls all cram- packed with the same stuff. It was one giant cram-packed mall.
There were a lot of tree decorations, tinsel, lights, and miscellaneous decorations. I saw someone walking down the steps with a life-sized Santa. That was a sight to behold. A Chinese man holding Santa! Anyway, there were a few stores that had just Christmas trees and I stepped into a few but didn’t see anything I particularly liked. I wandered up to the higher floors (as you know, they have better quality items) and found a tree that I liked. It wasn’t huge and wasn’t pre-lit but it would do the job for the next 3 or so years. I asked in Mandarin how much it was and she said 900RMB. Well that’s equal to about $135! I could pay less than that in the States for the tree that I was looking at. No way! I countered a lot lower and she shook her head. Then she started talking to a man sitting at a desk and her counter offer was 1,000RMB. I’m no expert at negotiating but I’m fairly certain that once the process begins the seller doesn’t UP the initial offer. I left without so much as a smile and thanks for your time. Hah. I may be a Westerner but I’m not stupid. I looked around some more but I think a combination of jet-lag, catching a cold from my airplane seatmate, and general overwhelmingness (new word) were too much to overcome.
I called Ben and got in the car feeling disappointed. He was surprised that I had nothing and I tried to explain that I was not in the spirit and not feeling well and I should have had him pick me up a lot earlier and because the place was a zoo – didn’t say that exactly – I didn’t buy a tree. He asked how much they were, which he prefaced with saying they should cost about 200-300 RMB! Well when I told him what happened I think he was tempted to turn the car around and give shopkeeper girl the what for. Seriously. He acknowledged that we get ripped off because we’re Westerners and I explained that it’s OK. It is what it is. Even so he was irritated that she tried to take advantage of me to that degree. Well, I had the last laugh because shopkeeper chick didn’t make the sale. But I didn’t get a tree and now I have to go back. Maybe she’s the last one laughing.
Not sure if I’m going to make Anders come with me this weekend or wait until Andrew arrives next week and have him go. He needs to see the Crap Market at its best/worst and he will appreciate it. Ben also said that if I wait until next week I’ll be able to get a tree at a better price. Oh like maybe 950 RMB? I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t even take a picture but I promise I will when I go back. It has to be seen to be believed.
3PM (nap time) – 72°