Knock Knock

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.

The pearl in front of the Pearl Market. From there, I was lost.

The pearl in front of the Pearl Market. From there, I was lost.

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?

12 responses to “Knock Knock

  1. Sounds like a typical shopping experience in China. Get to know the shopkeepers and they’ll show you where all the good stock is.

    Sorry to hear about your credit cards. Westerners can often be a target for thieves.

    • I guess I’m just never really looking for the “good stuff.” But that’s a good tip to know.

      I was shocked that my credit cards were stolen while I was wearing my purse across my body. I’ve never had that happen and was completely unaware when it occured.

  2. I’m not sure I like the idea of looking for a ‘knock knock’ shop, whether in Beijing or anywhere else. Though at least I no longer have a wife to answer to 😯

  3. There’s this Chinese phrase that likens shopping to doing battle and going on a full-frontal assault. As a result, you have to be super prepared and have a full battle plan ready (aka know your shops and shopkeepers super well). This is why I usually stick to online shopping. Hope the thief didn’t do too much damage with your credit cards!

    • LOL! That’s perfect! I usually don’t mind engaging in the battle of shopping in China. I know to expect it. That’s why going to a shop where you just pay the price without haggling seemed a little crazy to me.

    • Yes. It was a humbling experience and took quite a bit of run-around trying to call the States and get them all cancelled. Luckily, my husband still had his, or I don’t know how we would have paid for the hotel!

  4. I am no shopper either, but I went ‘knock knock’ shopping in Shanghai with a local college student who walked us around town one day, and watched open mouthed as she haggled down to one tenth the starting price!!! Not surprisingly, the fruit of that labour didn’t quite last a couple of months 😀
    Hope the credit card incident didn’t cause much damage.

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