Sunday, 12 October 2008

The October blues

As the days get shorter and a chill wind seeps in over the Mongolian steppe, the leaves turn a fiery amber of warning - a warning to the good citizens of Beijing that they better get some winter clothes quick smart before they freeze their royal Rastafarian nay-nays off. And so it was with a heavy heart and a wallet full of plastic I trudged yesterday to Xidan, in order to subject myself to the doof-doof music and blinding lights of Beijing department stores.

For me, shopping is an unreasonably stressful experience. The indecision, the resentment that I have to part with hard-earned cash, the complete lack of an ability to discern the quality and style of an item of clothing, and the pesky sales people, all conspire to make the experience something to dread.

In addition, I have an intense dislike of bargaining. I would often prefer to pay double the price for something if I don't have to listen to a Silk Street shop assistant shrilly claiming the quality of a pair of trousers is the same as the big name brand it purports to be. As a result I generally end up spending far more money than I have to just to escape the pain of tao jia huan jia.

Six hours later, I had been from Xidan, to Yashow, to the Village in Sanlitun. I had searched, haggled, calculated, rejected, and walked away in digust.

And for all my blood, sweat and tears, I had a pair shoes and a pair of trousers. Lest I want to freeze this winter, the pain of shopping is not yet over! Sigh...

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