Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Hard Sell

Some friends outside of China think the country isn't impacted by the global financial crisis.

But I am seeing many signs in the capital that the economy isn't booming anymore.

While there are lots of people on the streets and in the stores, not many are buying, and if they are, they are purchasing cheap goods and food.

Good restaurants aren't seeing high-rolling customers anymore and you can practically walk into these places for a table that previously needed a reservation.

Beggars are returning to the streets now that the weather is getting better and no Olympic Games to shoo them away.

Last week as I was walking to the supermarket and back, two men casually dressed approached me on the street about selling me skincare products. It was so dodgy that I didn't bother to even look at the small white boxes they had in plastic bags.

Then the other day at the office when I was in the washroom washing my hands, a girl I didn't recognize tried to engage me in conversation and attempted to sell me something. I wasn't quite sure what she was saying but I basically ignored her and left. She popped up again yesterday, brazenly walking into our office and trying to sell thermos. A colleague asked her to leave.

Today I got a call on my cellphone from a foreigner who claimed to be from a company that would offer a trial service where I could integrate all my banking online and even get financial planning advice.

The company wasn't a major international bank and the man on the other line was aggressively trying to get me to have a free one-on-one session to try out this online platform.

Although I kept saying I wasn't interested, he kept trying to tell me that it was a great way for me to find out how much to save for retirement. In the financial crisis, everyone's just trying to save whatever they can -- do you need a website to tell you that?

I tried to get him off the phone, but he wouldn't quit. I told him not to call me again.

But later in the afternoon, his colleague (or boss) called me again.

He tried to repeat the sales pitch again which infuriated me. I said that if you think I have a big expat package you're knocking on the wrong door. But he insisted that he had clients that included 20-somethings who only made a few thousand yuan to millionaires.

Even though I kept saying I wasn't interested, he wouldn't give up.

Eventually I just hung up.

So it's not just locals who are having a hard time -- foreigners are too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

need to be very careful of this type of hard sellers.