Monday, January 04, 2016

Two Aspects of China I Don't Understand

Of course, there are more than two aspects of China I don't understand, but I'm only going to write about two today.

One is the dramatic turnover of inventory composition at Chinese retail locations. When you find something you like, don't make the assumption that this store now carries this item. They only have a shipment right now. Whether or not they are going to have a replacement shipment next month is anyone's guess.

The second item is the lack of reluctance to temporarily close a business for a period of time. When we moved in, we became regular customers of our local newsstand, but then winter came and the newsstand closed for four months. (It's not like all newsstands close in winter; all the surrounding newsstands stayed open all year.) We developed different shopping patterns, and when the newsstand reopened, we never really got back in the habit of shopping there.

This month, a full-on restaurant (with a sign and everything) in our neighborhood has been closed for at least two weeks now. It's not closed like "out of business," just closed like "we're quite busy at the moment."

I don't understand businesses with very little profit margins inviting their customers to get out of the habit of shopping there. In the U.S., it's a big deal when a business closes for repairs or remodeling; you do everything you can to make sure that you stay open. But here, businesses shut down on a whim and order inventory randomly. I don't get it.

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