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Observe the Chinese Consumer Day

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Today was “Observe the Chinese Consumer Day”. As part of our research for our project for DQ – our professor thought it would be good to observe traditional Chinese consumer behavior. This was kind of neat since it is not something you would typically do when you visit another country. It was rather interesting and VERY different. We went to a couple of Grocery Stores (i.e. Trust Mart and Carrefour), Wal-Mart and Wet Markets.

In each one of these there is a wet market. The wet market is there to ensure that the Chinese consumer is getting things fresh. What is a wet market? Think of a bunch of buckets or fish tanks filled with water with the “live food” in them. So there were fish, BIG frogs, snakes, turtles, eels and many other animals. The consumer would pick out which one they want and then the butcher would “prepare” it. That would entail cutting of the head, peeling the skin off etc, etc. So needless to say, the smell was unique.
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In the wet market (which was not in a store – just an open air market), there were live, “non-wet” animals also. Chickens, pigeons etc. – where the consumer would do exactly the same thing and so would the butcher. They would do it for ALL to watch. YUCK!


For food today, I had lunch at a Japanese Restaurant and dinner at a Korean Restaurant. The Korean restaurant was a highlight. It was my first adventure out without someone who spoke Chinese. The good thing was the menu had pictures. We bought 5 plates of raw meat and 2 plates of veggies and then cooked them on the grill in the middle of the table. The amazing thing was we got all the food we ordered. The hard was getting a beer – they did not quite understand. Eventually we got it and all was good. It was a great dinner and a fun experience.

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Finally, there was a party at Cheung Kong students’ dorm (Cheung Kong is the MBA school we are partnering with while in China – they are helping us with our project) in appreciation for the Dragon Boat holiday. The Dragon Boat Holiday is a national holiday honoring a man from year’s ago who killed himself in protest of the government. The party was in the basement and it was pretty traditional. There was a Ping Pong table and the Chinese students were VERY good – especially the women. Unfortunately we did not play any beer pong though!