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roddy

The Beijing Tea Scam (and a few others)

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heifeng

Ok, I have officially received my first fake paper bill out here in China. Am I an official member of the gullible laowai club now?

The funny thing was it's a fake 20!!! I received change for a 100 after buying 1.7 yuan for 3 baozi (ok maybe they were really angry I had no smaller bills, but literally I only had a 100 or 5 mao!) I CHECKED the 50yuan note (and I recommend this to everyone anyway) but apparently didn't take it a step further to check the 20yuan note!

Hmmm, since I know which &*%#R&*(&$(# gave me the bill I might just have to go there to let her know that I know 哼!!! grrrrrrrr

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heifeng

Ok, day 2, story follow up: I was actually able to get a real 20 Yuan bill from the local baozi dealer after confronting them about their overall shadiness and sliping me a fake 20....so I hereby remove myself from that gullible counterfeit cash receiving club...

lessons learned:

-yes there are fake 10 and 20 Yuan bills, so start checking those along with the 50's, and if someone seems to be taking an excessive amout of time finding change, then they MAY be reaching for their fake money stash!!

-Still pick your battles but don't let yourself get walked all over!

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gougou
yes there are fake 10 and 20 Yuan bills, so start checking those along with the 50's, and if someone seems to be taking an excessive amout of time finding change, then they MAY be reaching for their fake money stash!!
In fact, I found that reaching for the fake money stash goes very quick, having myself received several fake bills already.

But I'd never bother checking 10's and 20's - since nobody does, they're extremely easy to get rid of again. (The same applies to a decreasing extent to 50's and 100's, if they're not very bad fakes)

And no, I don't print my own money, this knowledge comes from excessive use of Beijing's taxis.

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magores

Not sure If I'm lucky, or just part of the quiet majority, but I've never had a problem here in Beijing.

-No fake bills ever. Or, at least none that anyone else wouldn't take from me.

-Never had the teahouse scam happen.

-There was the 2 undercover cops at Tiananmen that one time. But, that wasn't a scam attempt.

I have dealt with the art students though.

-I had been in Beijing about 3 months or so, and I went to the Forbidden City. But not inside. I just wandered around the outside area to check it out a little. I had around 10 different situations where "Mongolian Art Students" asked if I wanted to see their work. (All pretty girls. All with excellent English.) But, I was sick and in a bad mood, so all I said was "Bu yong", "Ting bu dong", etc.

-About a month later, a I went to the F City again, to wander around inside. (Do the tourist thing.) The first time I was approached by a Monglian Art Student, I thought to myself, "I was kinda mean to these people last time. I'm here to see stuff, so why not?"

I told the pretty girl, who spoke in excellent English, that "Sure. I'll go look at your stuff. But... Wo zhu zai Beijing. Wo shi Yingyu laoshi. Wo meiyou qian. Wo bu mai dongxi"

We went. I looked. Some of the stuff was kind of cool looking. When asked if I wanted to buy anything, I told her... "I told you before we came that I would not buy anything. I like some of the art, but I will not buy anything."

At that point, I started to walk out. I saw some older lady looking at some things. Obviously a tourist. I said hello. And we chatted for a second or two. She mentioned that she liked some of the smaller things, but she wasn't sure if it was worth the 80RMB they were asking.

I told the tourist lady my honest opinion....

"Don't think about what it's "worth". Think about what it's worth to you. 80RMB? Sure, 80 sounds like a big number, but 80RMB is only $10 to you. Do you like this enough to spend $10?

80RMB too much for me, but that's becuase I live and work in Beijing. But, is $10 really too much for you, if you like actually like it? You're here to have fun, right?""

The Art Students looked at me like they appreciated my little speech. The tourist lady nodded her head like she was actually thinking about what I said. And, I walked out and enjoyed the next 4 hours wandering around the museum.

(And, besides... 80RMB was actually pretty cheap considering the situation.)

---

No point to this post exactly, other than this...

If you are a tourist in China, you will pay more than a local. It's true. You will. You can't avoid it. But, don't stress about it too much. You're a tourist. You're on vacation. Have fun. Don't negotiate over 8 kuai here and there... It's only $1. The 8 kuai means more to people here than the $1 does for you back home. Of course, the huge taxi/tea scams are a different story.

If you are moving to Beijing as a student, or whatever, things get a little more complicated. A lot depends on what you are buying, and where you are, and what kind of store/stall/kiosk you are in. You'll learn soon enough what price "feels right", or is at least "acceptable" to you. Use Ikea if you don't want the hassles.

My 2 cents

Magores

/I have the advantages(?) of being 6'2", 200lbs, being mean looking, older than the university crowd, and I live in an area of Beijing that sees many Westerners passing thru, but only a couple of us that are around every day. (Nice to be known?)

//Your mileage may vary

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gougou

No wonder you never had a scam happening to you, if you're actively taking part in them! :mrgreen:

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Ascendancy9

Another scam, that occurs commonly in China's larger airports is that 'luggage attendants' will grab your bags and carry them all of a couple hundred metres before demanding an exorbidant tip. It is extremely easy, as I found out, to be duped into this kind of scam following a long 12 hour flight, when your concentration is at a minimum.

I would just suggest hanging onto your bags for dead life.

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mrtoga

When taking a taxi from the airport to Beijing centre do not put your luggage in the boot (trunk). It puts you in a weak negotiating position when you come to pay. Leave it in the back next to you so that if the driver tries to scam you, you can just walk out with the luggage.

You should get a receipt that will show the mileage and cost on it, if you have paid more than 80 RMB (ie driven more than 40km) it is likely you have been scammed. Make sure you get this receipt.

P.S. This does not include the 10RMB that the taxi driver must pay to use the airport highway - he should give you the receipt for this as well.

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gougou
if you have paid more than 80 RMB (ie driven more than 40km)
80 kuai do not correspond to 40 kilometers. First of all, the first three kilometers cost 10 kuai, then you have the waiting time (5 minutes being counted as one kilometer) and you have a mark-up for long distances (i think an additional twenty percent on any kilometer beyond the first twenty?)

Oh, and of course you might have the night-time markup if you arrive late/leave early.

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roddy

Yeah, I don't know exactly how it would work out, but I'd fully expect to pay over 80Y for an airport run unless I was starting in the north east already. Even getting from one side of town to the other can easily cost 30Y these days.

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imron

The last time I went by taxi from just outside Beijing Station to the airport, it cost 99 yuan, including the 10 yuan freeway toll. That was in July this year, and I'm familiar enough with Beijing and the airport run to know that I wasn't taken a roundabout long way.

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becky_uk_kiss

I have been living in China now for just short of 3 months in a very small town in the Shandong Province and i can thankfully say i have not yet once been scammed.

My question to anyone out there is - does this Tea House scam only get directed to men?

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roddy

I'm sure they are equal opportunity scammers :mrgreen:

Can't remember any specific stories about women traveling along being scammed, but it wouldn't surprise me. Perhaps men are just a bit more gullible - "well, of course these two young ladies want to have tea with me. For am I not charming?"

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aimei

I cannot tell you how many times I have been approached by the "art students." Everytime other time I am in Wangfujing or Chaoyang, it happens, and once they realize I'm not an idiot I see them giving their spiel to some other laowai like a minute later. When my parents came to visit me a couple weeks ago, we once had them approach us three times in one day. Once I got kind of pissed off because this girl came up to us at Wangfujing and very friendly like asked if she could practice her English....I've had ppl genuinely ask me this before so my dad and I spent like twenty minutes talking to her in nice slow non-idiom English for her benefit, and right after we said we had to get going we got the art gallery invite. What a waste of my time! Are things so bad for students here that they have to target laowai this much with this stupid scam?? Sorry sometimes it really pisses me off.

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got_no_jaffas

no it's just that foreigners are just so gullible. it happens everywhere, not just china. you get scammed, you wise up & another hapless foreigner will take your place next time. the income differential is pretty wide for many normal chinese people where a typical foreigner earns more in a day than a typical chinese graduate in a month & the chinese know this.

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billiardsmike

Is it getting worse? Did I pick a bad time? Maybe I just look incredibly gullible. I went to Wanfujing last night to load up on English reading materials and I was approached five times in less than 30 minutes. I'm thinking of making a shirt that says I hate tea and art. (I don't really.) I was so amazed that I forgot my usual trick of saying something in German - that usually works.

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aimei

Lol that's a great idea billardsmike :lol:

In response to the guillability of foreigners, I have been to Europe twice and I have never had these kinds scams tried on me. Part of it has to be because the people are pretty desperate, (could be totally wrong though, not like like I'm a China expert.)

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HashiriKata
I have been to Europe twice and I have never had these kinds scams tried on me.
That is maybe because you don't look very much different from others in Europe, and if so, consider you're lucky. I have been living in Europe for more than half of my life and as I look very foreign compared to others here, so I could say almost the same things as you're saying about China. The thing is, I don't consider continually bashing other cultures in public very tasteful and I hope you agree with me on this.

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aimei

Certainly not, did I offend you some how? My apologies if so that was not my intent at all. I don't know where you are in Europe but I have been to the UK a few times and there is a ton of diversity there, (at least in London for sure.) A couple of areas I stayed there I was the minority.....most of the people there were Asians. At least in my opinion foreigners stick out A LOT more in China than in the US or Europe....(Austraila also seems to have a fair amount of diversity too but can't say for sure because I haven't been there.)

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HashiriKata
did I offend you some how?

Not personally (you/ me). It's just the general atmosphere of "China bashing" that makes me feel a little ambarrased: many good-willed Chinese frequent this forum to give us a helping hand with our language learning when we need them, but on the same forum we keep bashing them as if they don't exist or do not have any feelings. Just as China has given us a place to earn a living and to feel superior, and yet we keep biting the hands that feed us...

Yes, I'm in the UK, the wonderful country that has recently been reported in the media as one with the highest rate of teenage delinquency and teenage pregnancy in Europe. Anyway, no UK bashing, please! :wink:

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billiardsmike

I hope I've offended none of our Asian members/guests. Sometimes it is very easy to slip into larger generalizations when talking about individuals or small groups of them. If that has or does happen, it is certainly not my intent. Discussing unpleasant events or types of individuals should not tar a larger group.

I have met no more, and probably fewer, despicable people in Beijing than I met in Chicago, L.A., Phoenix or Atlanta. I would never characterize all Americans as bad (although that is a popular hobby) and hope that I never give that impression of any group of people.

I think that a great deal of perceived bashing on all sides is a case of speaking faster than thinking. I've occasionally been accused of opening my mouth only to change feet, so I'm not immune. If someone says something illogical or plain ignorant, call them on it. As you see by recent posts, it's often perception more than intention.

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