Chinese Way of Paying From Acrobatics to Food
By Harry Rossi on Thursday, November 27 2014, 09:26 - Permalink
I like to observe how in the world there are so many different ways of paying for your bills. I don't mean just the kind of brilliant ways humans have adopted in order to get a long with their daily consuming lives. But also, how society and culture can shape those methods.
It might be a surprise to some, but even in poor countries there are plenty of free options. Sometimes even more than in richer neighbourhoods that are sometimes too shut down, and closed from outside influence. I know that for many it seems crazy to eat for free in a country where people are starving. But this is really the reality of things, how people have been conditioned to just take it, or "eat shit" as I like to call it.
So I love to travel and observe the billing culture. There are many stories to share. But definitely one of my favourites is the Peoples Republic of China. Which is a huge mix of wealthy and poor. Middle class is also getting bigger and bigger. There use to be a lack of food in China during the "you know", times. Now, they have made a comeback and food is plentiful. As long as you can afford it. Yet still, there are many ways to getting things free. For example, all you need is to go to a market and pick up stuff that dropped on the ground. You can just ask the shop keepers there, and they will say it's fine to take them.
The advice I just gave you, is worth a life. You can support your life with it if you are in China and travel free. Of course, you are not probably going to do it. But I can say that I have, and it works. As an experiment alone it's interesting enough.
However China is much more complex than that when it's time to pay up. For example, Beijing is the land of commission. For any business, for every individual that is somehow in between that negotiation is going to take their own share. At times, it's enough that someone knows that you are making money, that knowledge enough entitles you to get yours too. Now that's a collective society!
And the reason I mentioned acrobatics, is that in theatres it sometimes seems that everyone is paying a different price for their tickets. From free to ridiculously expensive. If you just go to the ticket window, you will pay up just like a westerner. Prices can seem really high that way, when you don't know your way around.
So I went to see the world famous Beijing acrobatic show in the magnificent city nightlife. Naturally I knew that there was a special ticket policy for the show, so I started looking around for options. Turned out, there are a lot of travel agencies that give out huge discounts for the performance, which is already a really good added bonus. You just need to book your discount tickets in advance, and hand over a piece of paper at the theatre ticket window. Now this alone might seem weird enough for westerners, why should you be able to do that if you get the tickets from the same place as where normally they are much more expensive? Well. Because it's China. As I said, if an agency can in any way claim that they can be contributed for bringing that tourist to your door, then you are entitled to commission. Thanks to this, Beijing visitors can even enjoy a discount to go along with it.
I happen to know, just how much the acrobatics are working to bring that amazing spectacle to life. Every single day of the year to please tourists. For the price I am paying with a discount, it's just too little. But even if you would pay more, it would not end up in the hands and pockets of the acrobats themselves unfortunately.
Despite the convenience of a discount. I still decided to get my tickets for free. And for fee I got. Chaoyang Theatre is well connected to a lot of people in the city, so all I needed was to hook up with a person who had connections. In fact, I met this person at a restaurant nearby the theatre itself! All he needed was one call and I was in for free. Voila, VIP tickets.
Lesson learned: Just open your mouth and you'll do fine.
''Try your luck if you are in town, at: Chaoyang Theatre, 36 North East Third Ring Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing''
See you next time!