One of the places we wanted to visit was the place where they sell counterfeit goods. As we all know perhaps up to 85% or more of all goods produced in the world are Made in China. Some are of good quality and some are not. They are also known for copying products of other famous trademarks. We were told that Shanghai was the place to find great bargains, but we had some free time and found the Fake Market in Beijing.
This is the building where you can shop to your heart's desire. You will find nearly everything, but beware of what you are buying and make sure it works. It is 6 floors with hundreds of vendor stalls. It is very crowded and you have to bargain for everything. It gets tiring hearing their sales pitches.
It is very hard to take photos inside as they are watching your every move. We are foreigners and stick out like a sore thumb. They recoqnize us immediately and know we don't belong. I have spent many years photographing street people and put my talents to the test, so these photos are shot "from the hip" .
All the stalls are about 10-12 ft wide and contain lots of merchandise. No prices are displayed. All the sales people shout prices out at you and try to get you to buy something. All the brand names are there: North Face, Columbia and they do look like the real thing. It is hard to resist.
Most only speak Mandarin and shout words to us that we don't understand. When we talk back in English they more or less go away. You can't bargain if you can't communicate with each other
Going down the escalater to floor -1 (they don't call it the basement)
Directly along the rear wall straight ahead there is a purse stall. They have lots of brand name purses. Another person on our tour wanted to purchase a particular style of Gucci bag. The person at this stall hands you an original Gucci catalogue and all you have to do is point at the style you want . . . and presumably it will magically appear.
It would appear that Pink Crocs have found their way here too. Look closely at the footwear of this seller. I noticed 3 persons wearing Pink Crocs on this journey and have a couple of photos somewhere
All negotiations are with us shouting back what we want to pay. They always respond by typing in their response on their calculator. They type their number into the calculator and show you the display. This way the person behind doesn't hear what the final price will be so they will have to bargain for themselves.
I think young people with no skills have a very hard time trying to make a living. Labour is cheap and they have to stand there all day shouting out like a street hawker trying to hook customers. I was told that the average wage in Shanghai was around 2,000. Yuan (RMB) per month (approx cdn$325.)
I am not sure but I think this was the stall which sold the Gucci Bags. I am sure you would be able to find what you are looking for here
I am not a shopper, but when I reached this stall I was deeply tempted. This was a shoe vendor and had many different styles of running/walking shoes. This person selected a Columbia Walking shoe and offered it to me for $100 RMB (Yuan) . Even if I had just purchased without bargaining it would only have cost Cdn $16.50 . Being the skeptical person I examined the shoe and it looked original and had all the proper tags. Vibram soles, Goretex lining, waterproof. I am of the belief that this shoe was an original from the factory. We know that these are made in China and someone had probably just "sneeked" it out of the factory without anyone looking. When I put it down I was immediately offered a Reebok shoe for the same price: $100. Yuan/RMB (approx Cdn$16.). If only I had a larger suitcase . . .
On the upper floor they also offer other Services, such as hairdressing, pedicures and foot massages. One person from our group utilized the pedicure/massage option and dared me to take her photo.
(Priska, also from Vancouver)
On the 5th floor you will find all the electronic stuff. Computers, phones, iPhones, MP3 players and watches. Sorry, no photos, it was hard, everyone is staring at you. I managed to snag a good Rolex copy. Most of the Rolex's you purchase on the "street" are of the electronic variety. I wanted a self wind classic style which they carry "under the counter" . The bidding started at $550. (RMB) after which I said "too much" and walked away. Then she started with a slightly lower number and I walked back, then she countered and I walked away again. She called me back with a lower number and I said "still too much" and started to walk away and she then said she would give me the lowest price. With her calculator she keyed in the magic number and I walked away with my new watch
(Rolex Datejust mechanical self wind watch)
Not bad for $120 RMB (Cdn$20) . You would be hard pressed to tell it from an original. In case you were wondering it's not for me, I don't wear ladies watches. I draw the line with Pink Crocs
How much would you pay for a Coca Cola ?
After we finished our time in Beijing we travelled to Shanghai where we met up with our 2nd group of travellers. Luckily for us some of these people were also with us on our Beijing tour which we now considered as our friends. All the meals on our tour were included but tonight we were on our own and the others wanted a change from eating Chinese food so we headed down to the main shopping district on Nanjing Road for an english type meal and got hosed.
I had a hamburger and Mrs Scoot had a pizza. It was very hot and I was thirsty so I ordered my usual coca cola. I was so thirsty that I finished the first tin and ordered a 2nd. I mean, how much does a coke cost ?
here was our bill
Our bill came to $356.50 RMB/yuan (Cdn$59), which included $90. RMB for my cokes (nearly Cdn$15. for 2 tins) . This place also added 15% gratuity automatically. I mean, I have never paid Cdn$7.50 for a coke in my life, until now.
After this point everywhere I went I wanted to know the price of a tin of Coke. The average price in a store or at a street vendor ranges from $3. yuan (Cdn$0.48) to $7. yuan (Cdn $1.14)
Now this is more like it, only 2.9 yuan and it tastes the same as the Cdn$7.50 tin