Discrimination against foreigners? Snack vendors at foot of the Great Wall sell pancake at 10 yuan to Chinese but 65 to foreign tourists
One USD=one Renminbi, No? You may change your idea when you read the story that pancake is sold on the Great Wall at 10 yuan to Chinese but changed to 65 yuan (roughly 10 USD) for foreigners.
A Chinese woman with the surname Lin accompanied three German travelers to visit the Great Wall, when they encountered a price dispute with a pancake vendor at the foot of the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, Beijing Times reported.
One of her German friend ordered a pancake at a snack shop near the cable car ticket booth. When the pancake was ready, the vendor asked for 65 yuan. Ms. Lin and her friends thought it too expensive and wanted to cancel the order. But the vendor would not accept and asked several colleagues to come and forced them to make the payment.
Ms. Lin said that she could not accept the usually 3-yuan-priced pancake was 20 times more expensive at the tourist spot.
“The vendor did not tell us the price before we ordered and did not mark the price at a prominent place”, Ms. Lin added.
Finally, police was called in but the dispute was left unsettled.
An investigation done by a Beijing Times reporter reveals that not only snacks, but also other commodities are sold at different price to foreigners from to Chinese in many of the shops at the foot of the Mutianyu Great Wall section.
Food vendors sell their pancake at 10 yuan to Chinese tourists, while providing western-style pancake with banana and chocolate stuffing at the price of 65 yuan to foreign tourists. But they only charge domestic travelers 20 yuan for this special pancake.
Most of the vendors can speak good English but usually charge foreigners much more for their commodities. A cultural shirt was charged to a foreigner at 100 yuan but was sold at 30 yuan with the help of the Chinese reporter.
Mr. Yang, chief of the Industrial and Commercial Bureau of Huairou district, told the reporter that price of commodities was beyond their jurisdiction but they would require the vendors to mark the price at prominent place. The official advised travelers to ask the price before buying something.
Guo Xiaonian, a lawyer at Zhaotai Law Firm, criticized the practice of the Great Wall vendors as discrimination against foreigners. “And even if the price is marked clearly, selling same commodity at different price is still illegal”, he added.
While most Chinese netizens agree with the lawyer, others support the vendors to sell at higher price to foreigners as "they are richer".
Beijing Times user 傲视苍莽: It is normal practice. Foreigners earn more and do not care much for 10 USD. Why not make profit from them? Exchange is no robbery. But the pancake vendors in the report did something wrong. What they did is kind of price cheating and they obviously wanted to profit from the fact that foreigners do not understand the domestic situation well. It is a shame for our Chinese.
Beijing Times user 平凡人63: Doing business in this way is not fair.
Beijing Times user 与你同行: I support the vendors. They are not like some state-owned companies, and private companies, who try their best to cheat and exploit their countrymen and sell goods abroad at lower price.
Beijing Times user 老头子打麻将: Since Chinese and foreigners have different income, it is reasonable to sell goods at higher price to foreigners.
As there are bad guys all over the world and China is no exception, we would like to give some options to choose from to our foreign travelers:
1. Ask price before buying something.
2. Learn how to bargain with Chinese sellers on price, especially when you buy from peddlers, small shops. If you do not know the approximate price, you can directly cut the price by (at least ) half at first.
3. Learn Chinese before buying something in China.
4. Accept whatever price you are charged, considering it a way to help the poor Chinese.
5. You can add below.