Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shopping in Shanghai (part 1)



Sometimes I get emails from people that are planning to/thinking about moving to China. Many of those emails are full of questions regarding visas, what kind of foreign food you can/cannot get in Shanghai, where to study Chinese, and so on. The most common question, however, (from both guys and galls!) is regarding buying clothes/shoes in Shanghai, so therefore I figured I could share some of my personal shopping experiences (in Shanghai) and advice people what to expect and maybe what not to. Seeing I am a girl who likes to shop (!) this will probably be a bit too hefty to fit into one post, but let's start of with some simple do's and don'ts and take things from there...

DO:

* Expect comments about your figure/weight/boobs/ass/physique... Chinese people LOVE telling others that they look good, and they also love to tell others that they have put on weight/might have had one too many beers lately. There's no point taking this stuff personal, like I did in the beginning. Think how much time I could have saved if I wouldn't have stumbled out of the shop as soon as a woman felt my belly and said: 'aaaahhhh! bigger than Chinese!' or, that time when a shop assistant told me that 'your chest is too big for that size', pointing towards the dress I was holding and thinking about trying on. Instead of just shrugging my shoulders and saying: 'ah, okay, well, I'll try it anyways,' my face went all red and I departed the shop quicker than quick feeling like The Fattest Girl On The Planet. So... DO expect comments and DON'T take them personal. It's all part of the shopping experience.

* Dress up a little (or at least wear heels!) if you want respect from the ultra trendy, super chic, mega cool Shanghai girls in some local shops on Changle/Xinle Lu in Shanghai.

* Always ask for a cheaper price. No matter the 'here u cannot haggle' signs. When they say no, keep asking. But do it in a nice way. Smiiiiiiiiiile.

DON'T:

* Expect to find everything u are looking for in one go. Shopping in Shanghai is an never-ending-experience. There are so many shops that you could basically go shopping for the summer season every day during spring and summer, and when u r done u would have to start all over again coz then it would be winter and u would need new, warm, winter clothes...

* Be sad if you have big feet: so do I!!! I buy most of my shoes at Zara, H&M or HotWind. I have also had handmade shoes once, but those cost a bit... Anyways. There are solutions to all big feet!! U just have to look around.

* Take things personal (I say this again because it is worth stressing!). Once a friend of mine was in a shop trying on a skirt. When my friend (who is Finnish; tall and fit, and who speaks great Chinese) went out of her dressing room to check herself in the mirror she heard the shop assistants talking about her:
-See that foreigner? one said.
-Yeah. What a big bum she has.
-I know. They really have big bums those foreigners!
-Yeah, haha! Not like us!
My friend was mortified. Instead of telling those shop assistants to f***k off (or, in Chinese tell them that their bums weren't THAT small! Ah, think how much fun that would have been?!!) she quickly changed back into her own clothes and left the shop. I still cannot believe she didn't tell them off?! But anyways, u see my point? Don't let comments about your bum get u down. It's part of the every-day shop-talk. Nowadays my friend shops with closed ears. Actually, so do I at times.

Anyways, that's it for now, but there's much more to come....! To be continued


Shanghai sock shops... me like!

3 comments:

sarah griz said...

Great tips Jonna! Looks like I will be packing my heels afterall. (Do we really need those extra inches!?) Can't wait for part two.

Jim said...

I'm not a big guy but i have had an in depth critique by shop assistants like you mention. " He's bit isn't he, .... xtra xtra xtra large for sure!" Actually I'm only medium in the west.

Natasha said...

omg omg now im afraid of shop assistants there...