Today I’m off to the fabric/tailor market at the south Bund in Shanghai. I love the tailor market! It’s everything the fake market is not, including; fun, reasonable (in terms of prices), and reliable. I know many people have made things they haven’t been happy with there, but like always in this blog, I am only speaking on behalf of my own personal experiences. And I’ve always been satisfies with my jackets/skits/pants/dresses/shorts/shirts… (ehum.. Yeah, I’ve sort of made quite a lot of stuff at that market)
I use different tailors every time (the tailor market consists of 3 floors full of different shops), however, there is always one shop I return to.
I’ve become a regular at this particular shop has because of a simple reason. They always give me a better price. And how did this happen, you may wonder? Well, after returning to the shop three times the sales people started recognizing me and I knew they liked the fact that I could speak some Chinese. Every time I had a visitor in Shanghai I brought them along, which meant more business for them, and a better price for me. However, they always told me (in Chinese) that I shouldn’t tell anyone else about my ‘special price’ and sometimes they even charged me extra in front of other people’s eyes just to give me money back when no one was looking.
Now, don’t think I am naïve. I know I am probably still paying more than the Chinese people that go to the same shop. But last time one of the men took me aside and showed me some receipts of other westerners’ orders. Three hundred kuais for a dress, 90 for a shirt… I only pay about 100 for a dress and 60 for a shirt. The oldest man in the shop also said something funny when we were talking:
-Hey, your Chinese is pretty good now. Before I could barely understand you but now I can.
Cheers! Nice to know that someone can understand me… (Mind me, that's my hurt ego that is speaking...)
Anyways, I suppose what I wanted to say with this post is that it really pays off to come back/bring new business to shops/tailors in China. I know that the phrase 'special price only for you my friend!' is completely worn out in China but at times, there can be an underlying meaning to the words. At least in my opinion.