Sunday, November 30, 2008

Getting Scammed in Shanghai's Nanjing Lu (南京路)

Shanghai's Nanjing Road is the main shopping street of Shanghai. I mean it's one freaking long street full of shops on both sides, a wonderful place to shop.

It is also a place where it kinda sucks to be a tourist.

Why? Because it's full of touts who're looking to scam you the minute they know you're a tourist and heck it doesn't matter if you look Chinese like I do, they somehow know how to spot you even if you don't open your mouth to speak Mandarin in your Malaysian accent.

Maybe it's just the way we dress.

I was walking with Ming down that road just a few days ago and so many touts came up to us trying to sell us stuff or invite us to restaurants to eat.

I know what you're thinking
"What's wrong with being invited to a restaurant to eat? You're looking for food anyway right?"
Well ... WRONG.

Let me tell you one of a few stories that happened to some friends of mine who visited Shanghai not too long ago. To protect his identity, I'm going to call this friend Frank.

Frank gets stopped by touts a million times while walking down this street (probably because he's Caucasian and you don't look anymore touristy than that) but he knew about their scamming ways so he ignored them. Then suddenly a really pretty Chinese girl came up to him and randomly starting speaking to him in English.

Surprised that a girl there starting speaking fluent English to him, he paid attention for once. I mean heck, wherever in the world you are, if a pretty girl who looked something like this
came up to talk to you, you don't ignore her... instead you say
"Oh hai!!!"

So after a while she suggested that they got get lunch so Frank who was hungry himself said okay. She brought him to this Chinese restaurant on the same road. Frank upon sitting down took a look at the prices on the menu for fear that he might be getting conned into an expensive lunch. The prices were pretty normal.

They sat there to eat but throughout the lunch the Chinese girl started ordering a few glasses of wine for herself. One glass after another. By the time the bill came, it came up to be the equivalent of RM3,000.
Frank was shocked. He was like "WTF?!?"

And most of the bill apparently came from the 'expensive' wine she was having. Frank looked into his wallet and found only RM1,500 worth of Chinese currency so he said he can't afford it. The waiters and the restaurant manager gathered round his table and demanded that he use his credit card but Frank said that his card is not working outside his country.

After making some more noise, Frank finally told them that the only currency he had left was another USD 200 back in the hotel (actually a lie, Frank had much more but knowing he was being scammed he acted broke).

The restaurant owner sent two of his people to follow Frank back to his 5-star hotel just to get the USD200. So there you have it everyone. After hearing all these horror stories, Ming and I were even afraid to go eat anywhere around that area without our local friends showing us around. One morning we woke up for lunch and Ming suggested to have lunch at the Italian restaurant in our hotel.

I said
"WHAT? What for so expensive?"

And his reply
"Well if you go out and eat and get scammed, it's going to cost you a lot more for crap food so what would you rather do?

We had Italian food for lunch that day.


Mc_Bone said...

its not hard to guess who is the real "frank"... its kinda obvious

anyway, thanks for the experience sharing :D

~em~ said...

hm.. u already told us who Frank is in a previous post.. hehe.. :D

Homely Guy said...

wow ... like that also can ... i guess that is the beauty trap 自古以来,英雄难过美人关 .. heehee

Zephyr said...

guys....... =_=

It's so obvious that it was a scam in the first place.

My condolences for Frank.

Eric said...


Read up on

Please do reply. It would be really nice. Hahaha.....

Elise said...

Eh.. 2 friends of mine were once drinking with 2 ladies in China. When the bill came, it turns out that the drinks were for the most expensive XO something.. The bill came up to be really expensive and they didn't have enough money. But they didn't believe the ladies were drinking the real stuff so they tasted the "alchohol" from the other two glasses. Sure enough they were just drinking colored water (or something..)! Thus they demanded the bill be cut in half. hehehe.

KY said...

Frankly speaking he was a bit dumb to get conned in that scam

Boss Stewie said...

mc/em: HAHA!

homely: yah! pretty girls just make the best scammers

zephyr: ahh well I don't know, I might've fallen for something like that. I mean how would you really know right? Maybe people are just being friendly.

eric: will check it out when I have the chance

elise: HAHAH!! even half price is too much to pay! It was probably chinese tea or something

ky: pun intended huh?

MaN|acZ said...

we know who is "Frank" la... no need to hide la.

Ling said...

hey tim, thanks for replying my email on franchising. maybe i should just create my own business. =)) i know your busy, so thanks for replying me. hope you have a great time in shanghai.

Two Amateurs said...

WHAT HAPPEN AFTER THEY WENT TO THE HOTEL?Did the Ang Moh karate the two workers?lol..just curious