Welcome to China, where I am currently living for a year now! Guangdong province, Foshan city, Ronggui, in a big department store on a crowded Saturday afternoon.
-Hi, I just bought a tennis racket last week, I used it one time and it just broke, I didn’t do anything special. It just broke.
-(sighing) do you have the receipt? We’ll refund it.
-no only the proof of purchase on Alipay.
-Well that won’t work then.
-come on, it’s your own brand product! I used it only once, I didn’t do anything special to it, it’s the most expensive of the store, and it just broke, and you won’t do anything!
-(looking at the racket). Well, I’m just an intern, don’t get angry with me Ok. I can’t do anything anyway. I’m new here, let me ask someone else. He turns to a cashier. Hey, so you know what I should do if a customer wants a refund?
-just go to the original department, check the price and take a new one.
-But they don’t have a receipt!
-Ok so follow me, I’ll do the exchange for you.
… At the sport department.
-you want to do a refund, but you don’t have the refund request from the cashier? Go to look for it!
… The intern goes downstairs and comes back two minutes later. We proceed to the exchange.
-we used it only once!
-Haha, you know you shouldn’t buy stuff there, it’s not a very good shop here! I myself never buy something from our brand. Hey wait, how to do this refund? The sales guy looks totally lost with his papers.
-You know I don’t work for the sport department, I’m responsible for electronics so I can’t help you sorry, go back to the cashier, he will help you, maybe.
-There’s no but, I told you I don’t work him. Ask the intern instead.
-But you said you could help me, says the intern.
-Yes, but only for electronics. And you should know the process, by the way.
-But I’m new, and I don’t know how to do.
-I don’t care, bye-bye.
-What do you mean “bye-bye”? (To the intern) Hey what are you doing? Come back here, we’re not finished, help us solve this issue.
-(sighing) ok come with me downstairs.
We got to the front desk with the new racket. In the lift, I ask the guy if he has received a training.
-Well yeah I got a one day training, they said everything would be fine, I would have no problem. But there ARE problems, and no one can help me. You know, so many staff have left already…
-You mean, no one wants to work here?
-Why would someone want to work here, I’m paid only 1700RMB a month and nothing works.
-How many hours?
-12 a day
-How many holidays?
-no weekends, one day rest a month.
-In this case, if you want, I can offer you to work at the assembly in my factory, you could earn up to 4000RMB, work 6 days a week, have one day rest a week.
He looks at me strangely.
-But you know, they really need people here, everyone has left.
-Hey you, says the cashier, how can I do the exchange if you don’t bring the original racket? Go to pick it up.
-But… Ok, ok
He goes up again and comes back -slowly- again.
The cashier processes the order and gives me my refund-withou looking at me.
-is it ok now? I ask.
Nobody answers. The intern is playing with his phone now. I guess that means it’s ok. I will probably never know.
-You know, I’m serious, if you’re interested, call me.
He doesn’t raise his head, I take it for a no.
We leave the department store, with the new racket.