Monday, November 10, 2008


Hello again,

The title of this post is Guanxi. You pronounce it Gwonshe. It means relationships.

The Chinese people are big on relationships. Business relationships are what we find everywhere we go here. But the business relationships turn into friendships - at least that is what we are finding. We really like the people we do business with.

When we had our two-day cross-cultural training, the Cartus relocation people spoke about it quite often. But you really don't understand it until you are here for a few weeks and then it finally sets in.

When you go to the markets you realize that the Chinese people really do remember you. They see Western people and remember who you are or what you bought at their shop.

When I go to the fabric market, my friends Ball (who makes my suits and pants) and Miss Shi (who made our coats) recognize me. I introduce each of them to more of my friends. Well, because that is what you do when you find a good tailor and they do good work - work that meets your expectations. The fabric is nice, the seams are straight and the lining is silky. AND the price is right! It's the BEST FRIEND price. The more friends you bring to them, the better the price and the better the price, the more things you get made because they do a fabulous job! Sometimes they'll give you a tangerine or a bottle of water. Other times, well, they deliver - like Domino's. . .
Last Friday, Mike was on his way upstairs from the gym after his workout and he sees Ball in the lobby of Shama, our apartment building. She was here to deliver some clothes she made for a friend of ours. Now, that is good service.
Another example, last week, I had some chinos made by Ball. She charged me a great price and when CeCe saw how nice they were and how great they fit - NO FITTING either, she had her make two pair for her. Then Mike saw how nice they were, he wanted two pair made.
Now Mike is a different story because you all know how tall he is. BUT she gave him the same price as me and that so impressed us. AND because he wanted a different fabric, we went to look at fabric around the corner behind the scenes; and he got to choose his fabric which was a little bit heavier than mine.
I love these pants - they fit great - and the fabric is so comfortable. When we went back to get Mike's pants on Sunday, they needed a little tuck in the waist and lengthened a wee bit - just about 1/2". Ball also made Mike's coat and he really likes it. It's long enough and he says it fits great, even with a suit jacket underneath.
Everyone is happy - CeCe and I are happy because we got new pants and Mike is happy too because he'll get new pants at the same price and they look just like the Dockers he bought back home at twice the cost!
Ball said she's got a gift for me next month - a cashmere scarf - gee, I cannot wait. . .

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