1 April, 2004
This is a remarkable day in an unexpected way. This morning as I was selecting
the pictures for this web site I discovered that the memory I bought for
my camera yesterday at a shop in one of the most vibrant markets in Shanghai
that is marked and sold as 256MB is in fact only 64MB. I feel like I have
Since I am not one to lightly accept the wrong product for my money, I decided
to return to the shop for a correction of the situation. In this case I have
enough clear supporting evidence that the product that I have came from the
store and since it is clearly marked as 256MB then that is what I should
expect to have received. Fortunately for me, this particular memory module
was used in the store either to test as proof of its working or it was used
to demonstrate the camera that created the pictures on it. In either case,
the pictures are undeniable evidence that the module in fact was present
in that store and the clerk in the picture is obviously wearing the uniform
of the business. It should not require a forensic laboratory to conclude
that I have not received the merchandise paid for.
These links show the raw pictures taken from inside the store before I bought
the module that I downloaded from my camera.
I went back to the shop today, first selecting the same product from the
display to see if another of the same item was misrepresented or if the one
I got was unique and accidental. It too was marked as 256MB but showed as
only 64MB of memory. I then explained my position to make clear my claim
and seek to have the deal corrected. It took some serious persuasion to convince
the staff that I had a legitimate claim and to show the clerk who sold me
the item that I had enough proof of my position to require action. All said
and considered after many phone calls to people higher up in the business,
I was persuaded that because they didn't have the 300RMB on hand to make
a refund, I would have to return tomorrow to reverse the transaction.
I intend at any rate to bring this matter to the attention of contacts that
I have made at the administrative level in the Shanghai Municipal Government.
It is definitely not good for the business of the community to have such
a clear violation of consumer rights, especially in such an internationally
recognized marketplace. Just around the corner form this section of shops
that are operated by staff all wearing the same uniforms are some of the
largest gold and jewelry retailers in China. It may be that the business
principals are known to each other.
Once I had proceeded on this mater as far as possible I set my mind to work
on another nagging problem that has plagued me since my arrival. The awful
magnitude of it is slowly dawning on me.
I had been assured by many before my departure from Canada that English was
widely taught and understood in China. To a degree this appears to be true,
but upon deeper consideration and reflection, I have concluded otherwise.
There is a language using english words and identified as English being taught
at all grades and levels of education including, apparently in universities
that is not the English the rest of the world uses. It causes a great deal
of consternation among the general public when other English speaking people
are encountered and there is such a fundamental inability to understand one
another. I believe most Chinese people are so sure that they know english
that they consider foreign speakers of English to be poorly educated and
incapable of conversing properly.
I'm not sure how this issue of language in China can be resolved. Surely
there are those in government and educational institutions who recognize
the situation. There are many who have gone out beyond the borders of the
country and been immersed in International English. What do they think when
they see the difference? Even though I have been here but one week, I have
already heard individual comment on the issue trying to explain to me that
they see the two languages as Chinglish and English.
I'm sorry, I didn't understand until I began to read official technical and
public promotional materials that it is not a poor attempt to use English
that I was reading but a widely used and understood language that to an English
speaking person appears to be poor and improper language but is in fact a
unique language being represented as English.
If you would like to take a chance on seeing the extent of the language
I haven't found any recognition that it is an established language but I
can come to no other conclusion at this time.