Forget the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. According to my boss there is only one ‘must-do’ for anyone traveling to Beijing, and that one ‘absolute must’ activity is shopping. Not the haggling with vendors that China is known for. No, what my boss insisted I experience was the “Knock Knock” shop.
It mattered little that I told her I wasn’t much of a shopper. She asked me to pick up a Chanel purse for her while I was there, despite the fact that I had no idea what Chanel purses look like. I was concerned that I’d be ripped off, and might return with just about anything they tried to pass off as Chanel. My words just didn’t compute. I don’t think she could comprehend that I have no interest in purse shopping, and wouldn’t know a Chanel from a K-mart brand of purse. She armed me with a picture of the one she wanted and these instructions:
Go to the Pearl Market – face the entrance and turn left. Walk down the street and take the first road on the right hand side. Walk down this street, about 50 m or so until you see a shop called “Glasses World”. Go down the alley way on the left side of the shop, follow to the end. A door will open up at the end of the alley way. The good stuff is in the back.
Her other endorsements of the place included the words “no haggling”, “only for tourists” and “they take credit cards.” For me, these were red flags. Didn’t she know that tourists are usually charged WAY more for things than locals are?
Regardless, it was her money (in theory). I promised her I’d go, but couldn’t promise she’d like what I brought back.
But when I got to the Pearl Market, two things happened that prevented me from keeping my promise.
First, I couldn’t find this secret doorway. I saw several eyeglass shops and didn’t have a clue where I was supposed to go. And secondly, it didn’t matter anyway since my credit cards were stolen while I was in the Pearl Market. Right out of my non-Chanel purse. 😦
I did recruit another colleague to finish the job. She was a much more savvy shopper than I am anyway and was excited to go. So my boss got her purse, and eventually, I got new credit cards. What I didn’t get was the Knock Knock shop experience, which I wasn’t sorry about at all.
Apparently, Knock Knock shops are one of those well-known secrets. Have you heard of them before? Would you go?