Thursday, November 23, 2006

Shopping Trip

I am told that workers at the Liquin Market (above) are paid very little-- perhaps 800 yuen a month. This is technically $100 in our money, though its purchasing power is about three times that. Still it's very little. Liquin is an upscale place. No way these women can afford to wear the clothing they sell. Their uniforms are provided by their employer.

The other day, I spent 500 yuen (about $65) on pullover sweaters at Liquin. The ones I brought from America are much too baggy. The fitting room was so tiny, I wondered if I could fit inside. I gathered I was expected buy any item that fit. But I shop like an American, so I tried on over a dozen sweaters while the salespeople hovered about. It took awhile to make my selections. Chinese women prefer clothing decorated with feathers, rhinestones, and bows, and I had to find styles I could live with. Size was not as much of a problem as in the past. I now wear a Chinese size large-- the equivalent of our medium. There were lot of things in my size. I selected four pretty wool sweaters. The sales people seemed shocked to see someone spending 500 yuen at one clip. Half a dozen sales people came out to watch when the ticket was written up.

My Chinese is better these days, so I understood the question one of the workers asked: Ni Lao-shi ma? (Are you a teacher?) When I nodded, she asked if I worked at "Shandong da-shi"-- Shandong University. I am beginning to get the hang of this!

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