Irritant Ways

Okay. I admit it. I sometimes “China-bash.” I do it out of love for China. Really. Allow me another opportunity to share with you my minor irritations that I have yet to get used to.

At school, we have meal cards which make paying for cafeteria meals a cashless experience. So we recharge these cards on occasion. The first time I had my roommate charge my card. But this time I wandered over to the services center myself. I handed the service worker-lady my card and asked to put 50RMB on the card. She said, “I can’t do that.” That’s a perfectly fine answer. But usually that reply is followed by what you can do for me. But she leaves it as such: “I can’t do that.” After about a 30 second pause while I dream up what I can do, I say, “Well, can I put a 100RMB on the card?” She takes my money and hands me my hard. I’m lucky I guessed right.

Similarly, when paying for things with a fixed price such as food items on the street, it is expected that you already know the price. So sellers often give you what you ask for and say nothing. Every time you must ask, “how much is it?” Yes, a small inconvenience but imagine for every transaction having to ask the price of something because the owner is too lazy to simply tell you straight off.

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