Wednesday, January 21, 2009
没有办法= 有办法 (not possible =possible)
Last wknd in Shanghai I went to a large department store on Huaihai Lu to get myself a mascara. I don't often buy make-up and never go for brands, except for when it comes to buying mascara. Then I get myself one from Elizabeth Arden.
I walked over to the usual, Elizabeth Arden counter where two sales girls were standing and explained what I wanted.
-Here are the mascaras, they said and pointed towards the make-up.
I noticed that the make-up counter had a new, more expensive kind of mascara than the one I normally buy.
-Do you have the old one still? I said. I would like to buy that one.
The sales girls looked at each other.
-This is the new one! It's really good! You should try!
Thing was, I wasn't up for paying more than I already pay for my mascara. And I wasn't interested in trying something new.
-No, I want the old one. Do you have it?
-Maybe. One girl said. Wait here.
Soon, she came back with what looked like a gift package (which was in fact a plastic toilet bag with stuff in it) with a mascara, some lip stuff and other make-up that I neither wanted nor needed.
-This one?! She said and waved the toilet bag in the air. It has your mascara. 400 kuai! Okay?
-Eh... no. I only want to buy the mascara. Is that not possible?
-If you don't want to buy the gift package it is not possible. 没办法 (mei ban fa -there's no way)
I looked at both girls. They seemed like sweet, nice people.
-Are you sure it is not possible? I really really REALLY want to buy this mascara and I always come to this store to buy it. Can't you look in your drawers if you have some old ones left that I can buy without paying for that whole gift package? I forced a big smile.
The girls exchanged looks. Then, one of them went over to a drawer, opened it, and took out a package of the old mascara that I wanted to buy.
-OK, here you go.
Yes, there I go. Some nagging, some extra asking, plus some friendly interaction and... taaaa daaaaaa: 没有办法 mei you ban fa = 有办法 you ban fa (Not possible = possible).
Same things happened when I turned up to run the women's 3000 m race at Suzhou University's sport's day. Since I didn't have my health certificate in order I was told I couldn't run.
-But my other teachers said I could! I tried.
-Sorry, without your health certificate it is impossible. 没有办法 (mei you ban fa), said the man in charge of the race registration.
30 minutes later I came second in my heat of the women's 3000 m race... without having presented them with a health certificate.
Impossible is nothing. At least not in China.