You live in China. Very soon you’re forced to face one of the unavoidable challenges of everyday life. You have to go shopping. You don’t speak Chinese. What to do?! Well if it’s just supermarket you want to visit, there’s no problem. Prices are written so you can simply see how much something costs. Problem starts when you want to buy something at the market. The prices are not only not given, but you also have to haggle for them.
Don’t panic! You anticipated this before leaving Europe. You’ve prepared “Survival Chinese Dictionary” for this very purpose. You’re well prepared.
So how to go shopping?
- Print “Survival Chinese Dictionary” and put in your bag.
- Take notebook and pen.
- Go shopping.
- Point at the thing you want to buy.
- Show a vendor your “Survival Chinese Dictionary” and point the field “How much does it cost”.
- Let the vendor write the price in your notebook. Normally you would expect that the vendor can simply show you the price using his fingers. You’ve been there, done that. Now you’re wiser. You know how short-sighted your anticipation was. Chinese body language is not something to be taken lightly. (As for why, check the chapter “Body Language Translator”).
- Depending on what you’re buying:
- Pay the price (only when you’re buying food)
- Haggle (point filed “Too expensive” and write your price – possibly half of what you were told). – it’s a must if you’re buying anything except the food (especially clothes).
Now you’re the owner of a new T-shirt (or whatever else you wanted to buy). You manged to pull this off and even haggle a bit. You’re very proud of yourself ... at least until next day when your Chinese friend tells you that you’ve really overpaid for this. Eh, there’s always next time.
p.s. “Survival Chinese Dictionary” works also in a restaurant. It can give you at least vague idea of what you’re eating (sometimes it’s better not knowing too much). If you’re planning to go to China and might need some help, you can download your dictionary from the link below.