::Hacking the western mind, the cost of Chinese prices


Price::power    Manager::store    China::cashier    Manager::customer    People::world    Chinese::adapter

Today I went to my favorite International supermarket in Shenzhen China. As I go through the aisles I see a power adapter about half price, $6.50 instead of $10.

I think that I need one just like that. I go pay for it but it's coming up as $10 at the cashier.

So I the cashier says it's $6.50 on sale. The cashier asks the store assistant and after rather a long time the assistant comes back comes back.

Store assistant: it's $10.

The cashier repeats Cashier: It's $6.50, what the register and the store assistant said, so it is!

So I tell the cashier.

Westerner: I go see the price tag in the aisles.

surprisingly In the aisles, the price tag of my power adapter disappeared all together. Leaving an empty tag holder in its place. simultaneously the store assistant and scrambles a price on the empty tab for the power adapter. The price tag reads $10.

Westerner: That's the price before discount! 

I tell the store assistant

Westerner: That's not the price of $5. 

She replies:

Store assistant: There was no price of $6.50 EVER. 

Westerner:  You put it in the trash.

Since it's obvious she is changing prices.

She denies, proudly showing me the new tag she just slid in, like if I am an idiot.

Store assistant: That was always the price.

So I turn towards a supermarket employee who was working on a shelf and is wearing a tie. He must be the manager!

The manager is giving me the same drill:

Manager: Where do you see $10? 

Westerner: There was a sales price of $6.50.

Manager: it's $10 that's what the price says.

He is talking to me like I am insane for mentioning such a low price that is not displayed.

He goes through all the prices of similar power adapters. Like showing to a child what patience is in the face of retardation.

He insists after patiently wasting my time and his with stupid, old-fashioned tactics to rip-off the common customer.

Store Manager: There is nothing of that price for power adapters.

He basically keeps repeating the same thing and keeps repeating the same idiotic gestures of running through the different power adapters, at one point holding another product that was indeed for $6.50.

Store manager:  See that's the wrong brand, yours is $10.

He is thinking I am an idiot, trying to make me pass for one. While at the same time wasting my precious time. Playing the game, I can't call the shop assistant because that's what you are asking to validate your point. To digress, it's like a microcosm me of common everyday politics between the West and China. When the Chinese make up excuses to justify their unlikeable behavior and attitudes, the west tend to give them some slack, and sometimes what they want. In my experience it's a very bad idea to train them to accept capricious behavior and tantrums instead of educating them to the world. After all if neither the west teaches them integration to the world status and neither the east make efforts to rise from selfish behavior to get on top. Then humanity will collapse back in time via war so we really learn the lesson of cohabitation and we can grow again on solid basis.

In this modern age where the west is in customer power to run economies, a war will be to the advantage of China. Since the war would collapse all countries that rely on customer spending to run the regimes. China is not one of them. China's economy is run by the Chinese government, not its corporations.

China's present status of getting on a world class level without embracing the customer-driven economy puts the whole world economy in jeopardy. They can kill the world economy and turn up as the master's of the universe.

The west knows that, China knows that. China is not willing to let that option pass by. So they take the world hostage by meager commitments to a customer driven economy. The state holds the power and is not going to give it to the Chinese customers, the people.

Real care of the people, real love, is to empower them. Customer-based economy is disgusting because money is king but it is still a step up compared to government based economy where status is king. Status cannot be earned. It is usually given to you by someone of status. While money can be earned from the people.

You can argue that in the west the system is biased as you can't create a successful enterprise without pleasing people in power in the first place. Getting funding, finance, seem to be a relationship in status in the first place over and over. Indeed but it still is a step up as from there you rely on the people to make you. While the Chinese are not aware of dealing with people is a rich aspect that creates wealth.

Dealing with people with money is an aspect that creates wealth.

Dealing with people who are willing to shed some money creates wealth.

Not status alone?-so treat customers with respect. That's what needs to happen for China to get in the world created by the west.

That's the conceptual difference in the mind that makes all the difference. The Chinese don't know that the people are power, in the west we know it more so. Pretending not understanding as to get the upper hand. They want to lead the customer world without giving any power to the customer. The customer will not have any power like in the west. Money is king in the west. In China it is just a privilege that will not replace the advantage of a store manager over a commoner buying something in there. They have no concepts of customer service, customer relationships, customer retentions or customer satisfaction. They are really into unpopular power games; I serve you in my store because of my magnitude, because you are indeed so low. So common, I just do that because of my aura, I am in a store. I am an owner, I am above the masses.

However it is arguable that the other way around is also possible. That the west embraces the world created by China.

It would be of a communist nature or semi-capitalist which is in essence semi-communist but it will definitely not supra-capitalistic like the U.S.A. or capitalist like the western nations non-government driven.

It sure would be a change, as France and other socialist nations are indeed tamed by these notions and concepts. The U.S.A. are educated in dangers of communism and therefore do not partake in this laissez-faire common to socialist and communist nations.

To get back inside the supermarket, I feel keeping patient and keeping reiterating the truth like a broken record seems to bring about changes in the manager's responses. The manager gets strict, he transpires that he is about to lose his temper. And I keep telling him

Westerner: The shop assistant knows what the  price was, that is $6.50.

Because, I am not moving anywhere and am not falling into the loosingmy time game he is playing on me. I keep reiterating one thing:

Westerner: The shop assistant knows

He tries to play my Chinese, that he doesn't understand or that I say it wrong phonetically, grammatically and all. He starts giving me a Chinese class, correcting what I said with proper tones. Common tactics of diversion, I think. I was born in 1975, it was not yesterday, although I look like a westerner.

Now he is really losing his temper because I don't fall in any of his power-play.

Westerner: shop assistant knows where the  price of the item on sale is, that is $6.50 

We go back and forth between avoidance of the resolution by talking to the maintenance lady. He keeps telling me assertively:

Manager: that's the price: $10

Then he is going back to his shelves building activity, like I don't exist any longer.

I am NOT MOVING ANYWHERE. I keep telling him that the shop assistant KNOWS.

So he calls the store assistant. HURRAY!

He asks her if there was a sticker of $6.50 there before. The shop assistant says SHILY and with obvious AMUSEMENT.

Shop assistant:  yes.

Note that the combination of shy and amused is quite disconcerting as no guilt transpires whatsoever, just shyness and playful amusement.

So I was STUNNED that she lied in my face earlier by telling me that $10 was always the price. But now with her boss, she tells the truth. I was STUNNED that she knew the difference between right and wrong and used it to lie and betray customers who come here in good deeds of spending money. The difference she extolled did not prevail for the sake of her soul going to earth or heaven or to be HONEST and be a good person. It rather only prevailed in the face of AUTHORITY with the likely Motto driving her consciousness: -Don't lie to your boss. Just do whatever it takes to make your boss look good with more money regardless of anything else. You can lie to everybody for your own advancement but of course not to your boss.

Now that is Confucianism, core teaching are to do anything possible for your own sake.

The manager finally stops from building his shelves, takes me to the cashier quickly and promptly to avoid apologies or embarassment, he treats me l like a dog outside of a nursery area. Like he is doing me a favor. That I am a thief in disguise that just got the upper hand.

I pay $6.5 and go upstairs in my office but remain intrigued by the fact that the shop assistant was smiling after she confessed it was $6.50. Then it dawned on me, it went boom in my head, it was $5! In the price mismatchsurprise at the cashier I didn't state the correct Chinese price after conversion in dollars I could see I actually cheated myself. In the HURRIEDNESS of the whole ACCUSATION that I was making up the price, I mistakenly was saying it was $6.50 while it was $5.0.

Dropping off the good in my office and going back downstairs with my receipt.

I am back in the store, find the manager who was still building his shelves.

Westerner:  I made a mistake it was not $6.50, it was $5.

He is speaking calmly for about two seconds.

Manager:  What?

After that he gets quite rude. Not that before he was not already.

Manager: I already GAVE it to you.

Westerner: You didn't give it to me, I am paying the price of the tag, it was $5

Manager: No

Westerner: Ask the store assistant

Manager: No

Westerner: Are you the owner?

I am totally ignored by that request.

Westerner: It was $5, ask the store assistant.

Manager: No.

Westerner: Are you the owner?

Manager:  What's owner?

In China the owner is God, there is no bigger entity except if you are Buddhist, then it's Buddha, a man with deity status. Westerner: You know?- owner That's a living man with deity status. More powerful than Buddha for not Buddhists.

At first he ignores the request like he ignored my request earlier to talk to the store manager that knows. Same exact placid attitude of total filtering of answers.

This manager is talking like he is not talking to a human being but to a machine that he is about to crash by his mishandling. Hacking the western mind by stupid, irrelevant and disgraceful attitudes. The manager is annoyed because I want to talk to the owner. And he is likely the manager, after all, he's got the tie and he is working inside the supermarket, so he is not the security person. Security people in China have either a security uniform or a full suit and tie, like bodyguards.

The store manager keeps ignoring:

Westerner: Ask the store assistant.


Westerner: Are you the owner?

So finally:

Westerner: From all these ten power adapters units on sale for $5 I only want one, the one I already got.

That is the blow that gives me my extra refund from $6.50 to $5.0. He realizes he could loose more if I request the ten of them at $5.

He goes to the cashier to give me a refund.

That worked, he realized he could loose more than the difference on one item, but 10 times more if I wanted to buy all items on sale. The manager tells me

Manager:  Where is the power adapter?

He needs the very power adapter that I left in my office upstairs.

That's strange since the barcode is the same. But NO they want the same one.

Store Manager: You should get the power adapter to get my extra $1.5 back.

I go and come back and by the time I come back, the manager tells the cashier:

Manager: Give him $1.5

Cashier:  it's not $6.50 because I said $6.50  before

Note that fact and truth has nothing to do with anything but what will lead them to what they want, not honor the price they advertised with their price tag.

The cashier ignores her own manager. Or rather what happened is that they plotted again to make me give up on my righteous claim.

Like the manager already knew that it was not $6.50 but $5. They are just holding on the truth like it's nothing but something to play with to get an advantage.

While in the west we try to uphold the truth to build our relationships. They gratify lies as strengths. Someone who lies and gets caught is so good regardless. I have seen this in other situations.

In the west we would live at a lying untrustworthy employer, in China they don't have that much willpower by design.

The cashier takes me the aisles where the power adapters are. And she goes through the same story that started 25 minutes ago?- This cashier lady says:

Cashier: I don't see no tickets with $6.50 

I tell her what I told the manager over and over:

Westerner:  the shop assistant knows.

It's repetition, it's deja-vu.

Cashier:  WHAT store assistant? 

She SMILES at her lies, like AMUSED, like the shop assistant was. Like playing games, like kids, like China in the playground of the world in the East Asia Sea; building shelves, not minding or caring about what other are thinking, making stuff up.

I tell her:

Westerner: you know

Like there is more than one shop assistant. I know my store there is only one female shop assistant.

She denies:

Cashier: I don't  know.

Looking at me, like

Cashier: ' What store assistant lady? 

And looking at me like if I am crazy, there is nobody here but customers and us, can't you see?

So I point to the manager that went on building his shelves and wearing his tie like nothing is happening.

I point to the man and tell her

Westerner:  HE knows.

She asks him.

He mumbles something while working with his shelves.

Westerner:  What are you saying we can't hear you?

She goes closer and seems even more EQUALLY amused talking with him as was the shop assistant confessing she replaced the price tag.

However after talking with him she seems to have heard the truth as she she takes me back to the cashier. I have the power adapter in my hand I got from my office earlier, my receipt.

It turns out she doesn't need the power adapter!!!

She just asks for $1.5 from one of the cashier, like off the books.

She puts the extra $1.5 in my hands.

Westerner:  thank-you.

She said nothing else and neither did the manager that went back to building his shelves.

RESOLUTION THE cashier goes on and finally again, ultimately, gives me an extra $1.5 at the register. Giving me the discounted price fully, after 40 minutes.


Interestingly nobody asked the shop assistant to show the evidence: the receipt that showed the original price.

It's interesting that I got fairness out of the situation. Even if I did not get apologies, but humiliations attempts instead.

There was the security guard that was not part of the conversations that just followed by back and forth and getting more refunds.

He didn't look like he cared about what was going on.

I understand him, living in China for the last 15 Years on and off and I can tell you it's commom everyday consumer treatment.

To him. I was not humiliated by the fact that I was getting more refunds.

I can only imagine dealing with international politics is the same deal. Dealing with China requires unshakable assertions between others.

They will kill your time, your patience, play the same game over and over until you let the truth knowne of the Chinese people will protect or vouch for anybody but their own. They have no sense of honesty and can appear ruthless who they owe to.

After all, I am a customer. Isn't it something in China? Not yet.

Customer service has yet to be learnt as I am writing this on May 28th 2016.

ANTI-KEYWORDS ( Keywords not representative of this story):

honest, Apologies, Excuses, Sorry, Guilt.
Hacking the western mind, the cost of Chinese prices sections