February 13, 2012


Chinatown in Los Angeles has really changed. I haven't gone to Chinatown frequently since early 2001.

Today, Mum and I went to Chinatown to pay a visit to a shrine and ask for blessings. Afterwards, we went for a walk around the vendors to look for things for my trip to Korea. I wanted to get cheap, crappy quality items because the trip is costing me an arm and a leg. Also, I didn't take Mei's luggage while we were in Davis over break, so had to buy my own. Another thing I wanted to buy was a big purse that would fit my laptop.

The first vendor we went to had decent rolling luggages and purses. The zippers looked good and there wasn't noticeable damage. The saleslady said that the luggage was originally $40, but she was selling it for $35 for us because we were Chinese (hah!). The purse was originally $48, but she was selling it for $40, making the entire purchase $75. Then she said that she would make it $60 for us. Anyway, as you gathered, we didn't get the chance to haggle with her. All that price slashing was done by her. Since my mom was quite familiar with the way things work in Chinatown (because we use to live there), she felt the need to haggle. She was like, "How about $50?" The saleslady goes, "Sorry. No haggling. This is nonnegotiable." We looked at her weirdly (because that's not how things work). Mom persistently goes, "C'mon! $50! $55!" as the saleslady refuses. Then surprisingly, the lady goes, "Sorry, I'm not doing business with you if you want to haggle. Just get out." She said some mean things about how we were taking advantage of her (in Chinese). Pissed off, Mom and I decided to leave because that lady sounds crazy because she doesn't seem to want any business. I guess the saleslady does that a lot and usually the purchaser would just buy it at whatever price she set but we didn't. As we approached the end of the building, she started to shout, "Okay! I'll sell it at that price! Fine! You are the first customer of the day. But, I'll lose business!" and said more rude things in Chinese (that I can't translate literally here), but really pissed mom even more so we continued walking out. Then, she runs after us saying, "You won't buy it at that price? You are (fill in a lot of Chinese curse words)" Basically, she was screaming at us, calling us names, telling everyone that we were horrible (for not buying), and cursing at us. When I said curse, I meant, I hope you have a bad luck for the rest of your life (and I'm not saying what she actually said--it was so fucked up rude kind of cursing). Freaked out, I just wanted to go home, but Mom insisted that I looked at other vendors--"Not everyone is as crazy as her," she said. Boy was she wrong...

The second (and last) vendor we went to sold luggages for $30. He said that he'd sell it for $29 for us. I kept examining the luggage, but not committing because the first vendor still scared me. In the end, I kept trying to leave, but he was like, "Buy it. It's great quality--good brand. I have it too." I kept insisting that I'd come back another day, but he was like, "Buy it now at this price." In the end, I told Mom much louder, "Mom. Let's come back another day--like next week. I still have to look into my friend's luggage. It might work out." Mom said, "My daughter doesn't want to buy it now. Thanks for helping us." Looking at us angrily (like he was going to yell and hit us), the salesman calmly threatened us saying, "Fine. But, if you come back another day, it's going to be more than $30." After his nice little threat, we just walked out.

Oh man, Chinatown. Oh how you've changed! When we use to buy things in Chinatown, they vendors weren't as ruthlessly scary and rude as they use to be when we refused them. Did the economy ultimately made them into the people they are? I know they have to make a living, but still. Also, I know that these crappy quality items aren't worth more than $20. They should stop trying to tell us that faux leather is worth so much-- as well as the counterfeit items. I can't emphasize how the quality of things are so low--I should know, I own quite a few ripped up backpacks. Who did they take us for--tourists? Honestly, quality means a lot to me--which is why I barely own polyester nowadays. FUCK, I'm going back to quality again. I can't deal with this (scariness).

You know, I think this wouldn't happen in the weekends--when the vendors get busy. Maybe we caught them at the wrong time? They needed the money and I don't know. Fuck, why am I trying to justify their actions? I just can't help it. I feel like everyone is a good person and money fucks them up.

Ah crud, I'm just downright scared of going back now. Why was the first vendor so scary? Why did she have to curse and yell at us? I don't believe in this curse stuff, but at that moment, I felt scared for my life. It took me a long time to feel better. I just don't understand...


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