Yesterday was the day I really wanted to be a dairy farmer. The Chinese work, they work 6 days a week 12 hours a day no health and safety, no childcare (if you have a baby, baby comes to work in the shop too) hardly even a water break. Think dark satanic mill mills and geedy mill owners. But on Sunday they put on their Sunday best and they go out to the parks and recreational grounds. And what do they do there? Well, the poorest of them just walk, take in the sun, chat and maybe join in the singing. The better off however do all that plus they eat ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream. Every shop, even the poorest of them has an ice cream freezer. Not everyone can afford ice cream on a daily basis yet, but it is a status symbol to eat and an affordable one too. The Chinese have a sweet tooth so this market is only going to grow and grow. Mind you all these dairy cows will need grain from somewhere - suddenly I feel a lot better about not being a dairy farmer.
At the danger of turning this into a China shopping diary I am going to hand this blog to herself.
Yesterday I had the pleasure to visit Guangzhou wholesale market for children's clothes. I do not know how big it was. In the allocated two hours I visited three floors, but there were escalators going both underground and higher up.
The sales had three categories; open for all, wholesale only and order from samples. Outside each shop was a box of odds and ends, unwanted factory specials and samples, last in the size, poor sellers etc.
Then think typical British High Street: Next, Gap, Adams. Think America; Osh Kosh Catepillar. Canadian PettCoCo. Among the Chinese products I was picking up typical Western labels at prices unknown to the west. The most expensive purchase was a 3-piece outfit of a current rather exclusive American label. It cost me £5, it would sell in USA for over $150. The best bargain was an Osh Kosh pinafore dress, a factory sample at £1.
In two hours I managed to get one dress, six outfits made of 2 or 3 garments, four pairs of trousers and four cardigans for our little princess. I managed to spend just under £45. I haggled, bargained and was still robbed at the till. Lesson of the day: No matter how cheap the sales in the UK, the retailers are still making a staggering profit.