Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Because I know you don't want to read another entry about the rain! :)

Shopping in Taiwan is... pretty different from the US. There are a few Western-style chains (one is called Net, which looks a lot like the Gap but messier) where they ignore you pretty much like they do at chain stores in the west. The clothes are priced pretty comparably although they seem to be of lower quality- I have only bought clothes at Net but piece of the clothing was the pants that split open on me after under a month...

There are lots of small boutique-type stores, both chains and privately owned. The thing about these places is that someone will ask you if you need help (in Chinese), and you say you're just looking (in Chinese) and then they just hover like a half foot from you the whole time you look. It totally drives me crazy and I always leave the store quickly even if I want to look and maybe buy something. I know that here, that is considered good service but it just drives me nuts!

Another thing that drives me crazy is that in some stores, whenever someone comes in they shout something that sounds like "Hen guan ling," which I assume is like you're very welcome (hen is very, huanying is welcome) and when you leave they shout "Xien Guan Ling!" (I assume, thanks for coming!) I always forget to ask Chinese people what these things are because I only remember them when I hear them being shouted... I am better than some Westerners who insist that the welcome message is "Good morning!" even when shouted at you in the afternoon...

So it's not bad when they do that at like 7-11 or something because you're only there for 2 minutes. But like at Sushi Express, you're sitting there and everytime someone comes in, one person says "Hen guan ling!" and every other worker echoes that. Ditto for leaving. So you can imagine if that happens like 147 times while you're trying to eat your sushi. It's the same at this chain called "Working House" which has cute home items and stationery and like soaps and stuff. It's fun to browse but most of locations have three floor and every time a new person comes to their floor they are all shouting. Gah.

So can you fit into the clothes, I hear you all asking. Well... I think I mentioned before that I am about 5 lbs under the level where Chinese people would tell me I'm fat all the time. I have friends (and a roommate) who are barely bigger than me and everyday they get told they're fat. To wit, I can fit into the largest size of pants that they carry at most stores, and the largest size of t-shirts... blouses still present a problem. I've determined that Western people just get fat in different ways than Chinese people do.

One thing that's kind of funny is that salespeople have no problem telling you that you need a bigger size, or whatever- when I first came, before I understood how things go here, I was trying on pants and I was taking a large and an XL into the room, and the girl was like "You don't need to try on the large," and I said I want to try them both and she was just like, no, give them to me. Turned out she was right, but you just wouldn't do that in the west, huh? And I think every Westerner has had the experience of having a salesperson walk behind them, look at their behind, and say "No, you can't wear these." This has happened to me but also to my short and skinny roommate, and to Mandie who is very skinny.

Then there are the "large ladies" shops... I can also fit into the clothes here. But I've never bought anything at one, because they are usually the hover-type places and usually a little expensive.

On the upside I did buy 2 pairs of linen pants (at good ole Net) that are totally long enough for me! They were on sale very cheap, I guess because who on earth in Taiwan would wear such pants?

Shoes, though. I figured out my shoe size in the European equivalent (which is what they use here) and no one believes me when I tell them what it is.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Even I have experienced that kind of treatment When I was little. I wanted to try on a pair of shoes but both the saleswoman and my dad don't let me! I was very sttuborn at that time and I even cry after the treatment! haha!

PS. I thing they shout " huan ying guang lin" and " xie xie guang lin". And the meaning is just like what you think!
PPS: It drives me crazy if someone followes me all the time when I am shopping!