Tuesday, July 8, 2008

China Trip Tuesdays (posted just in time!)
I have been trying to work on this post ALL DAY LONG and little Miss Prissy would not stand for it! The big girls are at camp this week which leaves me home with Babies 3 & 4 and right now little Miss Prissy has a hissy (hey, that rhymes) every time Big Brother tries to touch her. And I don't know if it's because he's a boy and they like to bother girls or because he really loves her... but he ALWAYS wants to touch her and she ALWAYS get's mad. Anyway, it's taken me until quarter 'til 12 to finally get a chance to finish this up. O.K.... back to China. And what's something very fun to do anywhere you are??? Yep, that's right... SHOP! So today let's GO TO A CHINESE DEPARTMENT STORE! This particular department store was downtown NANCHANG in Jiangxi Province where Miss Prissy is from and it's name is Parkson. Let's go.

Here we are pulling up outside the store on our group bus. Notice the store looks more like an American office building... there are 4 or 5 floors inside. Also, instead of a traditional food court in the U.S. we found several fast food restaurants around the store. This one shown here is a Pizza Hut.

Once inside the atmosphere is quite different than that of the streets outside. The store is quite opulent & sophisticated... much like a designer department store like Macy's or Nordstrom here in the States. I liked it! Here is a ritzy jewlry store on the first floor.

This cracked me up! China is a little behind the times with American style & trends. For example... we saw a lot of "Snoopy" articles... Snoopy was big when I was a kid. Kids here in the U.S. are into Spongebob or Hannah Montana. Well, same for cosmetics & beauty care. Olay here in the states is quite ordinary... available at any Wal-Mart or Dollar General. Department stores here sell high end cosmetics such as Laura Mercier or MAC. That'll arrive in China by the time I start collecting Social Security!

Escorted by our guides we make our way up the escalators to the Baby Floor.

And we arrive. The prices are in Yuan and the discounted sales are also in Yuan... making it difficult for a bargain shopper like me to figure out what I'm about to spend. We saw familiar brands & some no-so-familiar brands... but cute stuff just the same.

O.K... so here's the major difference in shopping at a Chinese department store and an American department store. Here in the States you can shop all over the store collecting merchandise from different departments as you go. Heck, I've paid for shoes in cosmetics and jewlrey in Men's wear. Once you're done shopping you pay for all your purchases at one time... or at least I do... I ain't standing in line more than once! Well, in China let's say I want to buy a dress for Lilly, some shoes for me and some sheets to bring back for my room. First, I would have to select the dress I want. Then I show it to the salesperson. The sales person writes me a TICKET for the dress & holds it for me. Then I go to the next department. I show the person the shoes I want. They write me a ticket and I move along. Until I'm done shopping.

Here's the gal in the children's department writing me a ticket for a dress I picked out. Notice the calculator on the counter. ALL Chinese salespeople... whether at a department store, a street vendor or a small shop... are fast & furious on the calculator. They always divide the price in Yuan by the current exchange rate... usually take a discount (especially is you bargain) and show you in American dollars how much the item would be. Every store... every shop... every booth... every salesperson has a calculator... EVERY ONE!

Then I ran into Big Daddy T who was bored out of his gord and looking at me like I had purple hair & polka dotted teeth... like "Why on earth would you possibly need clothes for this new baby?" Men... they just don't get it!Or is it just my man?

O.K... back to the shopping. So, you've collected tickets for all the items you want to purchase. You then find a CASHIER. You hand the cashier all your tickets and they total them up. You pay the cashier and they give you RECEIPTS for all your purchases.

Then you go back and collect your purchases from the salesperson in each department that is holding them for you. Kind of a pain huh? I went back to infants and handed the gal the receipt & picked up the dress. Then I had to go to toys and pick up something there. Honestly... and not just because I'm American... I like the American way better.

And while I was paying for and collecting my purchases, Big Daddy T went & found him some AMERICAN FOOD! After being offered fried fish heads, braised pork blood, old hard boiled eggs & more rice than the law should allow... it was like an oasis to see the KFC outside the store.

What kid doesn't love french fries?

It wasn't long before we attracted stares from some curious little ones.

They were laughing and giggling at us and the mamas were kept encouraging them to come over to see us & get their picture taken. What American parent... with all the "Stranger Danger" drilled into our heads, would send their daughters across a restaurant to be photographed by a complete stranger? I suppose we looked very sweet & friendly!

And finally they came & saw us... flashing the very popular "peace" sign. Notice the jade necklace on the one girl. Jade is a very important part of the Chinese culture. I'll talk about that more on another China Trip Tuesday... but all our guides wore jade bracelets, the director of our agency also wears one... and they took us several times to see & buy jade in different cities.

We did as the Chinese and made our daughter be photographed with strangers. She was a little embarrassed but the little girls loved it. And before she could finish saying "CHEESE" it was time to catch the bus for the hotel. With full tummies and some goodies to go, it was a fun afternoon learning about how to shop at the mall in China.