Last fall, I wrote a blog entry about my Chinese friends’ reaction when I paid 50 RMB for a plug converter while I was in Beijing.* My friends were so outraged that someone would charge the exorbitant rate of 50 RMB for a plug converter, taking advantage of the foreigner, that they took the matter to the local police. Well, this little blog entry is a follow up, with the American sequel to the story. Because the same issue came up here on this side of the pond last week, when I needed plug converters to be able to plug my Chinese electrical things into American sockets.
My stuff arrived from China last week.** With the arrival of our lamps and other electrical stuff, came the problem that all of the plugs on our Chinese stuff are designed for Chinese or Hong Kong outlets. We needed a bunch of plug converters to enable those things to plug into American electrical sockets. I could use about ten.
I went to Circuit City (an American electronics store) to see if they had them. Yep, they did. They have plug converters that enable an American electrical appliance to be plugged into a European or Hong Kong plug. They didn’t have any designed to go the other way, to enable a foreign plug to be plugged into an American outlet. Except for one. It was a "universal travel" type plug that comes apart different ways so that it enables any type of plug to be plugged into any other type of plug. In Hong Kong this spring, I paid 80 Hong Kong Dollars (about $11 U.S.) for one. The ones in Circuit City were $20 apiece. I didn’t need all the fancy configurations, though, I only needed Chinese to American, so I went to Radio Shack to see if they had any of the more simple ones for a cheaper price.
Radio Shack did have them. They had exactly three of the type that I needed. They were priced at $10 apiece. Hmm. That’s about 75 RMB. One and a half times the price that my friends were outraged at my paying in Beijing. About eight times the price that it sells for on the street in China. Americans are being bled dry and scalped clean, when it comes to how much they pay for things.
I just plunked down the cash. As I walked out of the store, the thought flitted through my mind that I’m so American that it didn’t even cross my mind to bargain.
*Here is the link to the original plug converter story: http://xanskinner.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!F92952EA9124A41B!2258.entry
**Wow, our stuff was packed so well by the movers! Not everything is unpacked, but it appears that nothing at all was
damaged! I have no hesitation about recommending our moving company,
Unigroup Worldwide. They were prompt, responsible, professional, and courteous every step of the way. Our contact was Vieng Sayavongsa, and the local Guangzhou phone
number for the moving company is (8620) 8328-4681.