Upbeat Cynicism

what do you mean i lost my mind?

Pushpushpush!!!

with 8 comments

While looking at external hard drives:

“Excuse me, he ask how he can help you?”

This from another potential customer, translating for a salesman I had been pointedly ignoring.

Rule #1: I am perfectly competent and capable of asking for help when I want or need it. If I’m not asking for help, and you are the fifth person in thirty seconds to interrupt me in order to ask me if I need help, and the last four have all been told variations of “no thank you” with steadily increasing annoyance, then you are bothering me, and probably pissing me off. People who bother me and piss me off never get my money.

But, because there is something I actually would like to know, we bypass Rule #1.

“Yes, I would like to see the prices of these,” pointing to one model of HD with at least five varieties of capacity and feature sets. Please note the verb choice and use of the plural, because they’re going to be dutifully ignored.

A rapid exchange in shanghaihua (I think).

“He say this hard drive have great capacity of three hundred jigabytes and—”

“No. That is not what I asked. I can see the capacity, I can read the features right here — they are written in English, and I am smart enough to read English, thank you. But there are no prices, and that’s what I want to see. The prices. You understand?”

“Yes, of course.”

Rule #2: If you don’t understand what I’m saying, and you’re too f***ing proud to admit it, you are not helping me, you are wasting my time, insulting my intelligenceIf you think I’ll never notice that you didn’t understand me, then you must think me stupider than the stupidest dog ever born., and making me very angry.

After another brief Chinese exchange:

“He say this very great hard drive with a three hundred capacity is only three thousand—”

“No—”

“Six hundred—”

“Stop!”

“—forty-eight yuan!”

Deep breath.

Through gritted teeth:

“Listen. To. Me. I want. To SEE. ALL. of the prices. If you make me ask for each one, we will be here all day. I want him to write each price so I can see it and don’t need to ask.”

“He cannot.”

“Excuse me!?”

“He cannot.”

Blink.

“He has no pen?”

“Yes.”

“He has no paper?”

“Yes.”

“He cannot write at all?”

“Yes.”

“What kind of fool do you think I am?”

“Yes.”

And that’s when I shot him, your honor.

“Why can’t I just see the prices, just like all the other information?”

“I don’t know.”

Deeeep breath.

“Does. The salesman. Know?”

“I think so.”

Silence.

“Then ask him!”

Another Chinese exchange.

“He say that printing a price on the box at the factory would be bad business if the price changes.”

(I won’t say that I deserved this useless bit of idiocy, but I sure should have seen it coming. I compared price to the technical specifictions, after all, and those were printed directly on the box. Give most Chinese even the slightest means of dodging the main, the essential, the substantial question in favor of minutiae, and they will snatch at it like a drowning man for a lifeline, like a miser for a dropped wallet. I should know better by now, I really should.)

After a little more of the same wrestling-for-information business, I turned and left.

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Written by [IMH]

14 December 2005 at 8:55 am

Posted in Shanghai Stories

8 Responses

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  1. GZ Tai-Tai handles all of this much better than I…thank goodness she does all the shopping.

    GZ Expat

    14 December 2005 at 11:50 am

  2. GZ Tai-Tai handles all of this much better than I…thank goodness she does all the shopping.

    GZ Expat

    14 December 2005 at 11:50 am

  3. Just picked up a 250 gig 7500rpm western digital for $99…

    Which is only tangential from the point of your story, I know.

    Leo

    14 December 2005 at 12:15 pm

  4. Just picked up a 250 gig 7500rpm western digital for $99…

    Which is only tangential from the point of your story, I know.

    Leo

    14 December 2005 at 12:15 pm

  5. I handled it very well! Everybody lived, there was no maiming. 😀

    And I was only looking, not buying any new hardware for a few months at least. But as has been stated, “just looking” is a totally alien concept here.

    Ian

    14 December 2005 at 2:44 pm

  6. I handled it very well! Everybody lived, there was no maiming. 😀

    And I was only looking, not buying any new hardware for a few months at least. But as has been stated, “just looking” is a totally alien concept here.

    Ian

    14 December 2005 at 2:44 pm

  7. After about the 2nd go-round of that sort of conversation, I usually end up saying something like, ‘What? Are you f(*^ing stupid??’

    Ugly American, I know…

    GZ Expat

    14 December 2005 at 3:06 pm

  8. After about the 2nd go-round of that sort of conversation, I usually end up saying something like, ‘What? Are you f(*^ing stupid??’

    Ugly American, I know…

    GZ Expat

    14 December 2005 at 3:06 pm


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