Knockoffs and Mandatory Group Shopping Tours in Beijing

Shopping trips in China

Mandatory Group Shopping Tours in Beijing

The Rebel in me talks a lot of smack about the high-pressure mandatory shopping trips the Chinese Government forces tour groups to go on. And shopping in Beijing can be intense. Yes, the Silk Market is high stress, a man-handling, chaotic swarm of knock off Gucci, Fendi, and Prada handbags, scarves, and jewelry. But there are some deals to be made there too.

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Mandatory Group Shopping Tours in Beijing

Camera and Electronics

You can find just about anything when you go shopping in Beijing. We actually purchased a real Canon manufactured camera lens for pennies on the dollar. We got a pair of Beats headphones, a beautiful jade necklace, ring, and earrings from the Jade Factory. The only thing I’d bet money on is the Jade.

The Asian counterfeit market is phenomenal. I need to become more of an expert in cameras or electronics. But they looked authentic to me. The only red flag is the price. Why is everything so much cheaper here?

We also bought some delicious teas, pottery, and other knick-knack paddy whacks.

Would I have preferred to see the Emperor’s Tombs instead of the inside of those factories and markets? Yes. Did I get a chance to alter the organized tour? No.

The Mandatory Part

Are you helping at gunpoint? No, you aren’t. But that bus is going to the Jade Factory, The Silk Factory, The Silk Market, and Teak Factory no matter what.

You can stay on the bus, but what fun is that? And they make sure they get you. Because they take you to the Silk Market, on consecutive days. In hindsight, that is a good way to do reconnaissance on what you want to buy. Check prices online and get the cash you need to purchase it.

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Economics and Politics

Because the two are so interwoven, it’s hard to tell which. the government uses private businesses to prop up the government and not vice versa. They set the prices and force tour companies to take tourists to these shops. And even though they don’t force you to purchase. They offer a lot of incentives when shopping in Beijing.

It’s not all bad. I enjoyed shopping in Beijing. Although bargaining can be tense, they do not take no for an answer. At the Silk Market, they will even escort you to the ATM. They will praise, lie, compliment, hug, and kiss your a$$ to make the sale.

The jade, pearl, tea, and silk factories are much more relaxing. They offer some knowledge of the industry before the sales pitches begin. You learn about the silkworm. The different types of pearls and jade. And they even give you a special tourist tea ceremony.

These places also sell some very expensive, high-end stuff. However, the ladies who work there are pleasant and more subtle in their sales tactics. But don’t be fooled, they want to make a sale too!!

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Tips for Shopping in Beijing

  1. Don’t stop unless you want to.
  2. Threaten to leave, they will actually block your exit.
  3. Don’t go alone, they will double, triple and quadruple you to get the sale. You need help.
  4. Don’t keep your money in a big wad.
  5. Get them to name a price FIRST, then go directly to 90% off that price.
  6. Don’t buy on the first day, most tours take you TWICE so you can get a lay of the land.
  7. If you use credit, be aware that the Chinese government is going to get their cut. So keep that in mind. i.e. a $400 sale adds an additional $29 if you use a credit card. So take cash.
  8. Tell them to stop touching you. My husband said he had never had so many women on him in front of me. After that, I never left his side.
  9. Don’t take their ferocity personally. They aren’t paid very well. My tour guide says the average worker makes about $600 per month.
  10. Bring a larger suitcase than normal for a 4-day trip to take back whatever you buy.

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