China miniblog 6. Paying for stuff

There is one peculiarity in most of Chinese shops, even in large shopping malls. The way you pay.

In most countries you walk around, pick up the stuff you want to buy, bring it to the till, where it will be scanned. After that you’ll be presented with a bill, and your bagged new belongings.

In China this process is completely different in most of the places. Instead of standing in line once, you stand in line three times. The first time you hand in everything you have collected to a smiling young lady, who will take it from you, compile a list, and give you a receipt, which you will take to the next queue: the till itself. There you will pay for your items, and get your receipt stamped, which you promptly take back to the original young lady, and once it’s your turn, receive your bagged brand new whatever it is your little heart desired so much you just put up standing in a queue for. (That is something else, which will be the topic of the next post.)

This is a very peculiar system. It is a throwback to the old Communist customs, but it certainly makes an interesting shopping experience.

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