Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Comments, Links

At 5:30 today I got off work, jumped onto the subway and headed to Walmart.

Yes, you heard right! Shanghai now has a Walmart. Not the first in China—there are three already in Kunming—but the flagship store in my present hometown. I don't feel like writing a real long post, so I'll do my favorite thing and summarize my notes in a few lists:

How To Get There

If you're a cheapskate like me, you'll be interested in how I did it. First, take the metro to Lujiazui Station, and then ride to Longyang Rd on either...

  • Bus 119,
  • Bus 785,
  • Bus 陆周专线 (best option), or
  • Bus 795, make a right at the light, walk a block towards the bridge, and make another right (this is what I did).

What I Didn't Find at Walmart

  • Baking pans.
  • Plain, single-colored mugs.
  • Ajax/Comet-type cleaning powder.
  • Quality chocolate.

What I Did Find at Walmart

  • People picking up these strange ceramic objects that were on sale and wondering "what the heck are these things for"? (they were butter dishes)
  • Victorinox Swiss Army knives (though they were out of my favorite model, the Executive)
  • People shopping in pajamas, lots of them
  • Parents carrying babies in split-bottom (or no-bottom) pants
  • An in-store Baleno outlet
  • Lots of pre-packaged processed fresh-foods, like salads and ready-to-stir-fries.
  • Philadelphia cream cheese (RMB 25)
  • Eight ounce Land'o'Lakes cheddars, Monterey jacks, and pepper jacks (RMB 30)
  • Stuff priced per 500 grams (the standard farmers' market weight is the jin, equal to... 500 grams!)
  • A deli-style cheese case (with a bottle of wine in it, for people who like that kind of "cheese, wine and caviar" thing. Shanghai Walmart is classy!)
  • Baked-in-store cheesecakes!
  • McCormick cinnamon (RMB 5.3)
  • Watermelons priced at RMB 1 / 斤.

Wait a second, you say. Watermelons for RMB 1 per jin? That's the same price I get from Xiao Wang down the street! So much for "天天平价" ("Everyday Low Prices"; yeah yeah, I know what it actually means, I'm just not gonna miss a chance to poke fun at Walmart).

I'm not kidding, I actually did take notes in my pocket notebook. In fact, at one point I actually had two employees sidle up to me and say a friendly "hi". Were they suspicious? Hooray for the citizen press!

The store looks really small from the outside, but the inner floor space really is bigger than my local Carrefour (Wuning). Overall, the atmosphere is pretty much what you'd expect from Walmart: open, white, simple... but the range of goods stocked is pretty much in line with what you find at any other large superstore here in Shanghai (with small differences here and there as noted above). And what about that famous Walmart neighborliness? Well, I'm disappointed to say that all that the intensive customer service training has amounted to is the customer having to hear the usual monotone 欢迎光临 more often than usual.

2 Comments:

At Aug 5, 2005, 10:08:00 AM, Anonymous Lawrence Sheed said:

Ah, I thought I'd seen you around Wuning Lu.

Maybe next time I'll say hi.

Now how do you post your blogspot stuff - via the wubi proxy?
Seems painful.

Lawrence - Shanghaiguide.com

 
At Aug 5, 2005, 10:20:00 AM, Blogger Micah said:

While Wuning is not actually my 'hood (I live one short light-rail stop down the line at Jinshajiang Rd), I'm often up there getting off the bus at Wuning Xincun or shopping for batteries/orange juice at Carrefour. Please do say "hi"!

Luckily, Blogger is not blocked, so posting is painless. It's the viewing afterwards that needs a proxy.

See you around.

 

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