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How We Got (Almost) Scammed in Shanghai

I had lots of thoughts if I'm going to write about this or not? Maybe it is my pride that's telling me not to post this because I have this feeling that most of my friends, readers and followers would say "Huwattt sa style ni JLo na daming research muna bago mag travel e na scam pa? Ang pride ko 'teh!"

Don't get me wrong, everything was perfect. The food was great, we love our hotel, we love our itinerary except for the 3 mandatory visits to the following stores (silk, herbal medicine and jade stores) which are actually waste of time. (more stories on my  next blog)

So here I am after gathering all my strength and a lot of sighs! 

BACKGROUND
Since my friends and I availed the tour package, I did not make a thorough research on what to expect.. I decided that I'll just follow whatever it is on the itinerary. I needed a break in DIY-ing my travels, so I am really excited that we got a tour package in Shanghai.Yes!

THE WARNING
It was the last day of our tour and visited Shanghai Tianmai Jewelry. Although my friend who's with us already told us about the same thing happened to her in Beijing, we just continued with the tour because our guide said that it is mandatory and we just need to stay in the store for 1 to 2 hours. Knowing a little bit about the "story", I am confident that I will not be persuaded in buying anything from the store.

THE SET-UP
Tianmai Jewelry is a typical Jade Store where you can see jade statues and carvings lining the walls. My first impression is that it is a high-end specialty store and you can only expect authentic jades that carry a hefty price tag.

A saleslady approached us and led us into a sort of a training room. She said that the speaker who will teach us about jade and pearls is still not available and is quite busy. She repeatedly asked us if we can speak Chinese even a little, to which we repeatedly say No we don't speak and we don't understand Chinese. We were immediately served with hot tea while waiting for the speaker. 

She also informed us that we need to clap once the speaker enters the room because the speaker is the daughter of the store owner ("wow big time!").

THE STORYLINE
Now enters Fiona. She's wearing a nice dress that looks pricey and how can we forget that Chanel earrings of her. She actually looks like a real daughter of a wealthy businessman. She always blames herself for not speaking good English and too young to handle such big responsibility. She keeps on saying that her father sent her to the store as her training because they will soon be opening another jade store in Cambodia.

Aside from teaching us how to spot fake jade and pearls, she keeps on reiterating that she does not like what is she's doing and how she was being pressured by her father to excel in handling the business at a young age of 22.

She's actually charming and the room was filled with laughter and "trust".

After 45 minutes of discussing jades and pearls, we were immediately sent to the VIP room. (drum rolls please!)
Fiona, the daughter of the store owner kuno. 

THE SALES TACTICS
At the VIP room, Fiona leads us to a jade pendant with a zodiac gold design on it and asks the sales lady for the price which says "1,800 RMB" (14,000 pesos). She said that it comes with an authenticity card. Since my friend already has this, we did not fall into her trap. 


Surprisingly, she showed another box which is a smaller version of this pendant. She then asks the sales lady how much is the price, to which she replied that it's 120 dollars. Without any hesitations, Fiona said that she is going to give the jade pendant for only 80 dollars. The sales lady was shocked and made comments that the price is too low to make profits. We showed no interest in buying.

the  cheaper alternative 

To lure us, Fiona gave each one of us a circular jade pendant for free. We already knew that it was fake so since it is for free, we grabbed it.

At this point, we noticed that her English is getting better and better.  She then makes another decision to sell us the jade pendant for only 50 dollars because "we are friends already and I don't need money", she said. 

The sales lady shook her head and unwillingly followed Fiona's instruction.

This is the time when I opened my calculator and converted the 50 dollars to peso. After more than 45 minutes of being a prisoner in this VIP room, I gave in and showed the sales lady my credit card and I'm hooked! :-(  Another friend bought the same thing so ayun na! The other two friends, meron na sila which they bought in Beijing. 


Once is Never Enough
Knowing that we have credit cards, she led us to the pearls section, she then rubbed two pearls to show that the pearls being sold were real and not fake. We discussed this earlier during her talk.

At this instance, nahihimasmasan na ako. I actually love the craftsmanship of the pearl necklace and earrings and besides, I really need to have one. I said to my friend, if am going to get 2 pairs of earrings and 2 necklaces for 20 dollars, I'll take it.

And yes Fiona agreed with my proposed price. I noticed that they are showing me another design and obviously pinipilit ako on this particular design nalang kasi its nicer daw. This time, nakatunog na ako that the ones I'm holding were the real stuff or of with a higher quality. Kahit hindi partner partner I said that this is what I want. 

I also noticed that they were shaking their heads. Nakabawi bawi nadin kahit papaano.

from Left to Right :
Circular Jade pendant (Free)
Jade with gold zodiac design (50 dollars)
1 set of necklace with a pair of earrings (Not in picture is the other set of necklace and pair of earrings) (20 dollars)

Reality Bites
Our total purchase was 120 dollars.

Fiona, the owners' daughter was fake, the sales lady was trained to act as supporting actress following a storyline. The jade and pearls were either fake, of low quality or just a fashion jewelry which you can buy anywhere at SM or Landmark accessories section. Although I find the craftsmanship really good, so ok na din

Looking back, I had no interest at all in purchasing jades since I already have elephant jade pendants bought in Bangkok years ago. But humans are humans, and we Filipinos really have a hard time saying No especially if it will hurt our pride. We are also trusting in nature and that irrational fear of hurting that person you trust or who trusted you may lead to spontaneous purchases.

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7 Most Instagrammable Places in Shanghai, China

Instagram addict? A trip to Shanghai will make a photographer out of you. If you are visiting Shanghai for the first time, check out my version of my seven most Instagrammable places in Shanghai.

The Bund
The Bund is a waterfront area in Central Shanghai. The area along the river faces the modern skyscrapers of Lujiazui in the Pudong District. The Bund usually refers to the buildings and wharves on this section of the road. It is one of the most famous tourist destination in Shanghai.



Enchanted Story Book Castle (Shanghai Disneyland)
This castle is the centerpiece of the Shanghai Disneyland Park which opened in June 2016. The castle is the first to represent the Disney Princesses, contrary to other parks. It is also the tallest Disney castle ever built.



Yuyuan Garden
Yu Garden is composed of six scenic areas: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall, and the Inner Garden. The highlights of the garden are classical Chinese architecture, exquisite sculptures and carvings and the busy Yuyuan Bazaar.



Yioulai Shanghai Shopping Village
Shanghai takes shopping to a new level. Ready to shop 'till you drop? 
Yi Ou Lai is China's first luxury shopping tourism destination of its kid. With more than 80 boutiques spanning over the huge area where you can find the best deals for luxury brands and unexpected discounts during final reductions.



Transparent Observatory (Orient Pearl Tower)
The only all 360 degrees glass panels observatory in the world. You can also challenge yourself by walking through the 150-meter long corridor while keeping your eyes looking down through the transparent glass floor.



Chenghuangmiao Market
This market is located in Shanghai's old town surrounded by ancient Chinese buildings. The complex consists of tourist and shopping areas and is known as a "paradise for tourist" to get handicrafts and Shanghai local snacks.


Xintiandi
Located in the center of Shanghai City, it has become an urban attraction that holds historical and cultural legacies of the city. It is a fashionable pedestrian street composed of Shikumen and modern architecture style.



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