Taobao throws up some strange gift ideas

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - PAGE TWO - Craig McIn­tosh

The best re­sponse I think I’ve ever re­ceived af­ter giv­ing some­one a gift is, “I wish you hadn’t both­ered.”

I’d got­ten a house­mate in our “se­cret Santa” and — mis­tak­enly, it seems — opted to get him a nov­elty door sign that flashed the words “sex in progress” in red lights. It never left the pack­ag­ing, and he spent the rest of the day in a mood.

Giv­ing gifts is not my forte, as my friends and family will no doubt con­firm. My wife cer­tainly can.

With it be­ing our wed­ding an­niver­sary, I de­cided to browse Taobao, the on­line mar­ket­place, for ideas on what to get the mis­sus. It’s too early for any­thing made of gold (if I say it of­ten enough it be­comes true,

This Day, That Year

Item­fromDec15,1997,in Chi­naDaily:Peo­pleusepub­lictele­phonesinQing­dao, Shan­dong­province,where the­mu­nic­i­pal­go­v­ern­men­tis in­stalling­morethan120 pub­lic­phone­booths.

The­p­hones,ei­ther­car­dor coin­op­er­ated,are­pro­tected by­plex­i­glass.

At the end of last year, China had 1.54 bil­lion tele­phone cus­tomers, al­most 1.3 bil­lion of them cell­phone users, ac­cord­ing to the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice.

The use of fixed phones, or land­lines, has been right?), so I set out in search of the weird and won­der­ful.

As ex­pected, I found much more of the for­mer than the lat­ter. So, here are the best op­tions so far:

A jar of fart

Sev­eral ven­dors offer such a prod­uct on Taobao, with prices rang­ing from 1 to 20 yuan (14 US cents to $3), not in­clud­ing de­liv­ery. The jar is sent to your tar­get’s door, and some ven­dors al­low you to in­sert an en­ve­lope con­tain­ing a note, giv­ing you the chance to say some­thing that might mit­i­gate the fact you’ve just as­saulted them with a nox­ious gas.

Per­haps even stranger is that one trader, who goes by the user­name Lit­tle Mei’s Dream, of­fers fla­vors in­clud­ing strawberry, goose liver and “braised hem­or­rhoids”.

Go­ing by the num­ber of trans­ac­tions and com­ments left by cus­tomers, these gassy gifts aren’t pop­u­lar. Sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing so many

the calendar that you use through the year. As cul­tural cal­en­dars are be­com­ing more fine and ex­quis­ite in China, var­i­ous date­books are com­ing out to meet dif­fer­ent needs. These sched­ul­ing or­ga­niz­ers pro­vide more knowl­edge and fun than sim­ply record­ing a date. Visit our web­site for a look at the seven top cal­en­dars pub­lished this year.

de­clin­ing steadily, and pub­lic tele­phone booths are vir­tu­ally aban­doned across the coun­try.

One city, how­ever, is try­ing to give them a sec­ond life — in Shang­hai, 500 pub­lic tele­phone booths have been equipped with Wi-Fi hot spots to en­able the city to go wire­less.

The booths will also pro­vide a va­ri­ety of com­mu­nity ser­vices, in­clud­ing tele­phone bill pay­ments. In the fu­ture, the booths might even func­tion as photo print­ing stu­dios.

The idea was in­spired by peo­ple were keen to send a trump* to the right house this year. (Or have I mis­heard that?)

A dead mosquito

Yep, that’s right, and it’s yours for just 1 yuan, al­though de­liv­ery is an­other 12 yuan. Why so ex­pen­sive? Well, as ven­dor Mr Zhou ex­plains, each one is wild and has been hunted and killed per­son­ally, by hand, which isn’t easy. The spec­i­mens are good for aca­demic research, dec­o­ra­tion or col­lec­tion, he adds.

For or­ders of more than three corpses, buyers are urged to get in touch three weeks ahead of the de­sired de­liv­ery date. the mul­ti­func­tion in­for­ma­tion sta­tions pro­vided by China Tele­com’s Shang­hai branch dur­ing Expo 2010 Shang­hai.

Once these Wi-Fi hot spots start to work, the ma­jor part of the city will be cov­ered seam­lessly by wire­less sig­nals.

In Beijing, a group of young peo­ple painted phone booths in the city to re­sem­ble Bay­max, the ro­bot star of the Dis­ney an­i­mated film Big Hero6.

In all, 30 phone booths were painted.

“Tele­phone booths are a

Ever wanted to have your face, or that of a loved one, crudely painted onto a small piece of rock? I know I have. The ven­dor in ques­tion, whose name is too long to in­clude here, will make such a trea­sured keep­sake for 52 yuan. I’m pre­sum­ing the artist finds the peb­ble.

As you can see, I’m no good at gifts, so if you’d like to weigh in on which of these three op­tions is least likely to see me kicked into the street on my an­niver­sary, feel free to get in touch.

*For non-Bri­tons, trump is Bri­tish slang for break­ing wind.

Con­tact the writer at craig@chi­nadaily.com.cn bit like dreams. Peo­ple walk past them ev­ery day but have for­got­ten about them,” one of the group mem­bers told China Daily in an in­ter­view.

LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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