Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sticker Shock

Last night one of the Directors here at the Shanghai office took us out for dinner. We went to a Cantonese restaurant near the office, located on the top floor of a nice shopping mall. We had to go up eight levels of stores before we reached the restaurant. Thank goodness for elevators – if we took an escalator and saw every floor we might’ve never gotten to dinner.

While waiting for the elevator I spied some lovely boots at a nearby store. I didn’t bring any winter footwear, and right now my warmest pair of shoes are my New Balance sneakers (I should’ve brought my flat brown boots!). I made a mental note to pass by the store on our way out, just to see if I could get something cheap to tide me over for the trip.

After a lovely dinner that included traditionally prepared Cantonese shrimp, pork, and duck (which was delicious), we made our way out of the restaurant and stopped by the store downstairs. After looking at several shoes on the floor, I pick up a boot that was simple in design and looked sturdy. After asking the saleslady for the price, I learned that anything resembling a name brand costs an arm and a leg here in China. The pair of black Clarks boots with a wedge heel and rubble sole costs 1580 RMB, or $205. $205! And that’s including the 20% discount! For $200 I better see a nicer name on the label like Coach, Charles David, or Cole Haan. Clarks? Are you kidding me? Clarks sounds like Charles David’s hick cousin.

What’s even more perplexing to me is that most of these boots are probably made in China, and you would think that because you are in China you’d be cutting out the middleman and paying a reasonable amount for these boots. But no – the price is even higher than the US. I would gladly pay $20 for a pair of decent-looking boots here but $200 is price gouging. And they weren’t even that cute!

No comments: