Friday, March 8, 2013

Once More Into the Breach

I'm feeling defeated. I'm trying, I'm really trying to make my way here. And I'm studying Chinese, so I can't be accused of being one of those foreigners who lives in a bubble.

But today really hit me a little hard. First I was proud of myself for finally getting an air purifier, particularly when it arrived on a day when the air veered from hazardous to very unhealthy and spring sandstorms were in the forecast.

The purifier (a whopping $960) arrived just before I headed out the door to lunch. I counted out a fat pile of 100-rmb notes and sent the courier on his way. It wasn't until later that I got the chance to open the box and wrestle the long machine out. I finally got it out without ruining the box in the process (always a good idea in this land where Murphy's law was probably created), and plugged the baby in, waiting to hear the whoosh that would tell me it was working. Nothing.

I sent a text to the sales rep who called me immediately. Did the filter beep when I pushed it in? Nope. Was the light going on? Nope. We had, sitting elegantly in our bedroom, a very expensive piece of modern art that -- with its lime green trim -- actually matched the odd wallpaper.

Adam, the sales rep, said I should box up the machine, which was clearly defective, and a courier would pick it up and deliver a new one. In China, things break a lot, but the silver lining is that there's always someone to arrive to replace, repair, reinstate, and restore.

My doorbell rang and there stood a young man, clearly in a rush. He started barking orders at me in Chinese, thrusting a form at me. Adam meanwhile had emailed instructions but between the courier barking orders, and Adam trying to explain how to fill out the form, I was lost.

The courier took a look at my hastily filled in form and handed me a new blank one. At this point he was close to shouting, a scene made even more odd by the fact that Smudge watched tranquilly from the couch, as if she knew this had nothing to do with her.

And then he was gone, leaving the old machine sitting in the hall.

An hour later he returned. I handed him the new form, which he perused as he shouted into his cell phone and paced up and down the hallway. Would I pass? I stood in the door of the apartment for ten minutes while the courier paced and shouted, occasionally handing me the paper and then taking it back. Finally he pointed to a place where he indicated I should write my name -- I understood that much at least -- and he took off with the form and the machine.

Right now I have no RMB and no air cleaner. You win this one, China.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa...Never say never..they have not dealt with the likes of DB yet....Seller Beware in this case :*)