Wednesday 10 February 2016

Would you pay $4.80 for teh during Chinese New Year? It seems I would

Yesterday, after jogging, I went to one of the few coffeeshops open during Chinese New Year to order a packet of "teh".

I spoke in Hokkien. The woman couldn't understand me. So I repeated my order in Mandarin. This time, she heard me and started making the tea.

Another woman came to collect my payment and she asked the first woman what I ordered. Both spoke in Mandarin.

I gave the second woman a $10 note. She gave me back $5.20 in change.

Wait, my tea cost $4.80?

What is this? Starbucks?

I gave the woman a surprised look. She smiled and said the price was increased because of Chinese New Year.

Sure, I expected that, but I'm used to an increase of maybe 10 cents or 20 cents. I certainly didn't expect the price of tea to jump from $1 to $4.80.

I was stunned. But since I had given the money and my tea was already being made, I felt I was committed. I just reminded myself never to buy tea during CNY again.

I couldn't believe I was paying $4.80 for a packet of tea at a neighbourhood coffeeshop.

Then I noticed something. The first woman was making a lot of tea and I was the only customer there.

Could it be...?

That was when it hit me. Somehow the first woman misheard my order and thought I ordered four packets of tea.

That was why I was charged $4.80. Each packet cost $1.20.

So the CNY incease was only 20 cents, not $3.80 as I feared. That's a pretty big difference.

True enough, I was handed four packets of tea.

On the one hand, I was relieved I didn't pay $4.80 for a packet of tea. On the other hand, I was now stuck with four packets of tea.

The picture shows only three packets because I drank one on the way home as I was very thirsty after my jog. I figured there was plenty where that came from.

I managed to finish three packets yesterday and saved one for today by putting it in the fridge.

Looking back, I'm amazed that I was willing to be overcharged four times for something just because it was Chinese New Year.

I'm a con man's dream.