China has been wonderful so far and I am excited to fill you in on my whereabouts.
Today, I visited the local market in Beijing with my best friends Lateef and Jamjoom. It was an outdoor souk consisting of local cafes, cool gift shops, and delicious eateries.
I bought a few souvenirs for my family because I miss them. But I had to bargain for all my purchases. The salespeople were quite difficult to communicate with and were unwilling to give me reasonable prices. However I learned the skill of bargaining and I think it's a valuable quality to have.
I visited Starbucks at the Market and it was incredibly different than the one in the states. It was a very high end cafe with fancy wooden chairs and antique-looking tables. Also, their flavors were very creative as they ranged from boba matcha green tea to tiramisu frappiccinos.
Needless to say, Starbucks used the localization strategy to tailor their products in order to meet local needs. I have come to the realization that Chinese people enjoy sweeter foods than those the US, and this was fairly evident when I tasted their iced mango tea. It had a lot of sugar, and it was a little too sweet for my liking.
In terms of customer service, the baristas were very calm and conservative in comparison to the upbeat and energetic servers in America. Due to apparent cultural differences and language barriers, I could not request for a smaller size because she didn't fully understand my order – it's all good though.
In America, the baristas have a more aggressive sales approach with their customers – asking questions such as “would you like whipped cream with that?” “Can I get you anything else for you today?” I wonder if Baristas in China do the same with their customers since they can speak the same language. Are salespeople more aggressive in America due to their overbearing marketing strategies or are Chinese people just conservative in their daily sales practices?
I'll let you ponder on that for while, but now I'll be heading to Shanghai.
See you soon