Today we set out on another shopping expedition. Tired of the near-tectonic response time of the office wifi, I needed a Ethernet-to-USB adapter for my MacBook Air, and an ethernet cable to go with it.
Having been shopping in the electronics mega-malls before, I knew enough to prepare in advance.
I used Google Translate to get the phrases for "USB Ethernet adapter" and "ethernet cable", which I stored on my phone. I also looked up the Canadian price ($29) and snapped a photo of the component on the Apple website (leaving off the price because: negotiating). USB is a generic thing and I did not need an Apple-branded one, but I wanted a comparison point. No-name dongles can be had for $6 to $7.
Heading over to Huaquiang Rd., I saw many storefronts sporting the Apple logo with shiny iPhones on display. I recently read that even though China has very successful domestic manufacturers of mobile phones, like Huawei and Coolpad, iPhones are the status brand, and the market is responding by offering lots of them, in colors and designs that Jony Ive never imagined.
I stepped into one of the "larger" stores (meaning it was 10x12 feet rather than 6x8), which was fronted by two employees wearing what looked almost like Apple genius T-shirts. I showed them the Chinese phrase and the sales guy immediately pulled out exactly what i was looking for, in an unmarked plastic bag. Hmmm.
"How much?" I asked. 480 Quai was the response. That's over $60! I laughed and said no way! He immediately lowered the price to 380 Quai. Still way too high for me! We continued our search.
We headed into our fave electronics mall, Seg. Scouting the stalls on the second floor, we saw at least 40 stores selling all kinds of Apple connectors, but no one had this particular one.
We were starting to feel discouraged (although no way was I going to pay 380 Quai for it; I'd rather suffer with the slow wifi than be taken advantage of!). Then off in the corner, was a dim and dusty store -- perhaps they had one? YES! The salesclerk immediately pulled one out. I asked her the price with a bit of trepidation...30 Quai! That's $5, one-tenth the price of the original store. Sold! (Yes, I probably could have bargained it down to $3 but I don't speak Chinese and this price was OK for me). While we were there we also picked up two cheerfully-colored ethernet cables for $1.50 each.
Finally the big test - would it work or would it catch on fire? It works perfectly! Yay for a successful shopping trip and finding the item I wanted at a great price! I love shopping for electronics in Shenzhen!