I sit here in the back of a sleeper bus headed from Shenzhen to Xiamen, China. There is an over powering smell off week old Parmesan cheese that overpowers all other odors on such said bus. The bus itself is random but I do feel we got ripped off but the best deal going. They wanted 200 each, we paid 280 for both, one for the good guys.
Today started like most other days, I woke up and thought to myself, wow, this place is a sh~thole. Even though I slept in what would be a condemned building back home, I had one of the soundest sleeps I’ve had since I can remember, dare I say on this trip?
Perhaps I knew mentally that I would have to argue to the best of my ability should I even dare entertaining any faint hopes of ever seeing my money back from that snake oil salesman fake iphone dealing, dark haired twenty something sales clerk.
On the subway ride over, my friend inquired if I believed I’d get my cash back, I immediately quipped “absolutely”. I arrived and the lady began using the translator saying there are no refunds and that wifi does work. The wifi DID NOT work, I tried it on countless networks and already knew I had been taken.
At this point, like a gentleman wishing for a mess to clean itself, I wrote “I’m leaving today, you sold me a defective item and I’d like a refund, I don’t want any problems and am willing to only take back 450 instead of 500 for the troubles”. She immediately replied “it’s not about the money, we don’t do refunds and I’m not the marketing department”.
As time went on I just began trash talking them as I could hear them talking and almost making a game out of this. Earlier I threatened security, found one and he gave me the “I don’t speak English” crap. Needless to say when the guy was trying to find sites I saw the tables turning, then realized this girl was never going to pay me without some divine intervention. She acted as though this was not her first rodeo and this stupid “farang” would sooner than later accept his fate and leave. Having an “all or nothing” personality definitely has its drawbacks but in circumstances like this, it’s an astonishingly effective asset.
Whether it was luck, fate or whatever this gent with a walk-e-talkie was walking near. I ran to him and informed him of the situation, he then brought me to another booth where a lady spoke both languages. Through the translator I informed him of the treachery, that i was lied too, sold a defective item and being refused refund. I also informed him this was more on principle than anything, I’ll buy a real one but this is horrible for business. As it turns out, he’s one of the managers of the building.
He went over and they began arguing, moments later a crowd starts forming and some security comes over. She’s yelling in my face while I lay low knowing that I had lucked out on landing the only card that would save me, on the river no doubt. He asked me again saying she claims it works, I simply say “have them show you” and obviously the could not. More words were exchanged and she began grabbing her cobweb written purse. It felt like I had been chiseling on stone for ~2 hours and finally drew blood. She gave me a glance filled with daggers as though “you won, I hate you”. I grabbed the money and she tried to rip it from my hands, I smiled at the manager and turned my back, never to return. I will note that I had to get “in her face” and all “irate” about this for it to work. Had I been a push over like most, this never would have worked and it would have been one more gullible foreign duded screwed out of cash.
After that most stressful yet oddly satisfying event we went looking for bus tickets, what a process. I’m not sure if the people at the desks don’t care, don’t speak English or a combo of both. Either way, I’ve never met less interested and willing to help officials in my life. when I say officials, I mean ticket booth people. We did run into a few cool security guards or police who were keen on helping us on our quest.
After a tiring search, ditching countless touts who were insanely relentless and visiting the most pirated mall of my life, we were still without tickets. At this point we decided “Screw Xiamen, we’re going to Shanghai”. Shanghai is booked solid until the 13th, great. We resorted back to one of those sketchy buses that are booked through an “agent” when in the terminal. We couldn’t find the ticket booth.
The bus I’m on now started with waiting around this agent, then being herded like cattle into this shuttle bus that was filled the brim like the back of a pickup with sweaty swine sold for slaughter. With a sudden squeal of the rusty brakes, we were ushered out and left on the side of a highway. Myself, King Chode and 10 Chinese dudes. King Chode said he got a bad feeling and I replied “yeah, this is the type of place where you wait for an hour before realizing you got screwed or just killed”. 10 minutes later this bus shows up and here I am, blogging in the back seat.
One thing I will note is going into a restaurant and having to order by pointing out what someone else has then having them show you the price is quite a process. Also as a result I’ve been living off Coca Cola, McDonald’s and countless ice cream cones and whatever other shapes they come in. I feel like a hybrid of “Super Size This” and around the world in 80 days, I feel like a sugar filled derelict working on diabetes.
What is the moral of this lengthy bloggery? Simple, there is NO WAY IN H3LL I’m having 1000 pair of anything made here. Imagine trying to get a refund or fix a problem when some factory made you 1000 pairs of crappy sub-par quaity shorts, can you say stressful? Also, I don’t know why people would get brands produced here, they will just make a cheaper version and sell them in the broad day light in massive malls. Truth be told, if they weren’t so cheap, they’d have a good game going here but why make a $7 pair of shoes and sell them for $50 to some insecure and ignorant foreigner when you can sell them a $3 version for the same price?
P.S: I try and be real with you, read 20 travel blogs or magazines and find one that talks about the cons of a place… I believe the travel industry wants you to believe there are never any problems. Talk to any seasoned traveler and you’ll realize it’s a mirage as fake as an oasis in the middle of the desert when you’d take on a deadly disease in exchange for a drop of water. That being said, King Chode’s left foot is leaking a dark vile bile of infectious goo.