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The Joys of Shopping in a Foreign Land

Well, we have been shopping in Shanghai for quite some time now, but nothing prepared us for our adventure yesterday! We headed out to a mall called “Metro City”, one that we have been to before, but never really done any shopping in it. We usually use it as a meeting place, since it is easy to get to and generally in a central location. However, across the street from it is the “Oriental Pearl” shopping mall, so we thought we would take a look around. We quickly found out that this mall was way beyond our pocketbook and our interests, so we attempted to use the underground walkway to get to what we thought was Metro City. We actually ended up in a different mall (we got turned around in the tunnel), and after a couple of stops, nearly ran out of there! First, we went up the escalator looking at all of the high end clothing shops with no one in them, except yawning or texting sales people. Lo and behold, we found a men’s clothing store that had a sale going on! A big sign was on three different racks of beautiful men’s shirts – both polo style for the casual look and the long sleeved dress shirt for the more formal days at work. All three of the signs had a very large number five on them, with Chinese writing below. We asked a sales lady if that meant the shirts were on sale for 5 Chinese dollars. She answered “Yes!” Bruce went in and tried one on, and it fit and looked great. While he was changing, I found 2 more that felt so soft and light, and took them to Bruce. He said, “Great! Let’s get all of them!” He decided to wear the one he had tried on, so he got the sales lady to cut the tags off of it. Now keep in mind that although we had rain again yesterday, the humidity was incredibly high so it was still very warm. Needless to say, Bruce wanted to have on the new shirt as it was fresh and dry! We had no less than three sales ladies help us get the correct forms filled out to take to the cash register. Imagine our surprise when the fourth lady told us the amount of our purchase……..4,732 Chinese dollars!!! We looked confused, as did the other sale sladies who came with us to the cash desk. Apparently, they made a mistake and the shirts were, in fact, on sale! Our newfound relief was short lived, however, when we found out that they were on sale for 1,750 Chinese dollars! Three shirts for just under $300 Cdn! The big number five on the sign? That wasn’t how much the shirts were, that was how much they were discounted for! Some kind of weird .5 or something or other. Bruce quickly took off the new shirt he was wearing and gave it back to the sale slady who took it quite gingerly,  as Bruce had already gotten, ahem, a little warm in it!! I do believe we were the talk of the day there, maybe even the week, since we got out of there as fast as we could! The sales ladies must have thought they had hit the jackpot to see two foreigners come in and buy three of their most expensive shirts!! 

We decided to look around elsewhere and came upon a beautiful looking chocolate shop. We really should have taken something out of the shirt fiasco, but always the optimists, we continued on. Inside, the Belgian chocolates were all lined up in the display case, calling us. They looked incredible, and the sales girl offered us a free sample – a whole chocolate, not just a cracked piece of one – and it was delicious! We thought, “hey, throw caution to the wind and let’s treat ourselves”, since we generally don’t even go into a chocolate shop! “Hey,” we thought, “let’s splurge and buy 2 chocolates each!” The sales girl lovingly put them into their own little tiny box, complete with a ribbon expertly tied  – we had to have been there for over 20 minutes – and placed into a beautiful bag. That should have been a warning sign! Then we had to pay – 110 Chinese dollars for 4 chocolates! We were shocked, to say the least……that’s over $18 Cdn for FOUR LITTLE CHOCOLATES! We looked at each other dumbfounded, but took the purchase anyway. I’m not sure we had the ability to do anything else, we were so speechless. Needless to say, we left that mall immediately, and sat down outside on some steps to eat our chocolates and laugh at our stupidity. Pretty sure we won’t be doing that again! Somehow we were transported back in time to our first days here in Shanghai where we knew nothing! We won’t forget this little adventure for awhile!

One last thing… I had forgotten to mention something about our wonderful dinner we went to last week. There are quite a few of us leaving at the end of the school year, so we had one last dinner for all of us to say goodbye at our favourite restaurant, Lost Heaven. It was great to see everyone, and our friends from Jiaxing even came down for the celebration. Geoff got us a great keepsake of our stay here, giving everyone a specially made coffee mug with all of our names written on them, as well as things unique to us during our stay in Shanghai. The Tower of Terror gets a mention – it’s still giving us the creeps! – as does our other favourite restaurant, Simply Thai, along with all of our school names! It is such a thoughtful gift, and I will think of Geoff and Terry when I have my Shanghai tea at home in Canada! Geoff and Terry will be doing a second year here, so we will be missing them when we are back home! Thanks, Geoff!!

3 weeks and counting until we return!



One comment on “The Joys of Shopping in a Foreign Land

  1. 1. Hard to believe that after all this time you can’t read a Chinese sale sign!!
    2. Very disappointed you didn’t get a photo of the soiled shirt!
    3. Get some more of those chocolates for dinner tomorrow night.
    4. You are very welcome.

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