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Your first experience with cultural difference   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2013-7-9 13:19:11 |Display all floors
Hi girls and boys from the CD forum.

I want to start up a lighter thread that will maybe raise a smile or two. This is the thread where you explain the first real time you feel you experienced cultural difference while living in China (if you are a foreigner) or while living abroad (if you are Chinese).

For me it was a couple weeks after arriving in China. I like to eat toasted bread for breakfast so I bought a couple of packs but they were sweet and made with milk and I wanted the natural one with no milk. I went to a Lianhua supermarket near my apartment and, as I couldn't read Chinese characters at the time but could speak a little, I asked one of the staff if the bread I had in my hand contained milk. She replied "yes it contains milk" so I said "oh I want bread with no milk" and then she replied "the bread you're holding doesn't contain milk".

I believe it was the very first time I was really confused and, to this day, I still don't understand why she would tell me there is milk if there isn't (I wouldn't know I ended up not buying any bread at all as I couldn't be sure if it had milk or not).

Just to be clear, we are not talking about the BIGGEST cultural difference of your life but about the first time you were really left speechless.
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Post time 2013-7-9 13:32:49 |Display all floors
I have to say it's not cultural difference, maybe she didn't get what you say.

Since you ask something made me speechless, I once stayed in US for several months, when I buy groceries in the supermarket, the cashiers made mistakes in the bill for several times, it rarely happens in China. So, I get an expression that Americans are not good at maths. {:soso_e113:}

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Post time 2013-7-9 13:44:38 |Display all floors
linlinlinlin Post time: 2013-7-9 13:32
I have to say it's not cultural difference, maybe she didn't get what you say.

Since you ask someth ...

That's true, it is very rare to see a cashier making mistakes when counting the money in China

Maybe this is because they will use a calculator ALL the time ! I remember once I bought 48 CD's at 2 RMB a pop and handed a 100 RMB note to the cashier. She took out her calculator and typed 48x2 to get the result. I actually told her "do you really need a calculator for such a simple operation" ? To which she replied "no but it is just a reflex to avoid mistakes".

I also noticed the Chinese cashiers will often say "cost is 98, you give me 100, I hand you back 2", which, I guess, is also a way to avoid mistakes.
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Post time 2013-7-9 15:10:22 |Display all floors
This post was edited by WhiteBear at 2013-7-9 21:07

My first cultural differenece is not the pleasent one.

My first time in China, first week. Summer 2006, Zhejiang, one of the biggest cities in the Province.
I was walking at the evening with my Chinese friend/host, we had a snack, and then He just dropped the remains at the sidewalk, even if the trash bin was few meters away. I asked Him "why You did it?", He replied "What?", "You just dropped the garbage on the sidewalk", "Yes, of course", "Why?", "Somebody are paid to clean it...".  I was speechless...

I don't know what is the origin of this custom?
Emperial times - when the people who had the money feel themselves superior over the poor people who clean after them?

It still happens everywhere.
This is one of the very few things that I don't like in China.

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Post time 2013-7-9 15:15:50 |Display all floors
When I went to a Home City supermarket and asked for deodorant!  They looked at me like I was crazy.

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Post time 2013-7-9 17:59:30 |Display all floors
This post was edited by MisterPanda at 2013-7-9 18:00
grb Post time: 2013-7-9 15:15
When I went to a Home City supermarket and asked for deodorant!  They looked at me like I was crazy.

When I take the plane, I get a luggage check about 80% of the time because I have deodorant in my suitcase...

I once took the bus to Hangzhou and the security guard litterally asked me what was deodorant for.
However, it is much easier to buy deodorant now than a few years ago. I still buy it abroad though (I usually will do one year stock) since it is much cheaper.
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Post time 2013-7-10 02:40:33 |Display all floors
MisterPanda Post time: 2013-7-9 17:59
When I take the plane, I get a luggage check about 80% of the time because I have deodorant in my s ...

Same here.

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