Dou­ble 11 was no more for me than a dou­ble dis­as­ter

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE - By Huang Lan­lan

It was 11:50 pm Fri­day, Novem­ber 10, just 10 min­utes be­fore the start of Dou­ble 11 – China’s once-a-year on­line shop­ping ex­trav­a­ganza. My alarm clock beeped, wak­ing me up for the forth­com­ing frenzy: “buy, buy, buy!”

I bounced out of bed, grabbed my mo­bile and opened Taobao’s app. The tick­ing of the clock and all the an­noy­ing ads on my phone in­creased my heart­beat and short­ened my breath. At that ex­act same mo­ment, tens of mil­lions of other Chi­nese cus­tomers were also wait­ing for the big­gest on­line sale of the year.

I per­son­ally hate this so-called “shop­ping fes­ti­val.” Some­one said that shop­ping can make a woman happy, but I’m the op­po­site. The rea­son is that the oc­ca­sion is filled with so many tricks and de­cep­tions, many or­di­nary peo­ple who par­tic­i­pate to save money wind up spend­ing more than they in­tended.

For the past week I have been con­sec­u­tively bom­barded with WeChat and Weibo ads such as, “Buy two get one free at my shop! Only on Novem­ber 11!” or “Get a 35 per­cent dis­count off at our store! Novem­ber 11 Only! Three days Count­down!”

Ev­ery sin­gle day lead­ing up to the big event I also re­ceived at least 10 text mes­sages from on­line re­tail­ers who “hap­pened to” have my phone num­ber. On Novem­ber 10, just hours be­fore the shop­ping fes­ti­val started, I was blasted with 36 mes­sages!

After be­ing lured into in­stalling and open­ing the Taobao app, I re­al­ized how I would suf­fer from its de­cep­tive pro­mo­tional tac­tics. For ex­am­ple, here was a pair of branded shoes I’d like to buy: the store claimed its orig­i­nal price was 999 yuan ($150.46), but the Dou­ble 11 price was only 399 yuan.

How­ever, to get this dis­count, I had to com­plete a se­ries of tasks: 1) share the link with five WeChat friends; 2) join the store’s “on­line cus­tomer group” and sign in for seven con­sec­u­tive days; 3) pay a 50-yuan de­posit be­fore Novem­ber 9; 4) pay the re­main­ing 349 yuan on Novem­ber 11 be­tween 1-2 am.

The shop­ping plat­form also of­fered me a “spend 400 yuan to get a 50-yuan re­bate” deal. The shoes I wanted to buy cost 399 yuan. In­ter­est­ing. As a re­sult, just to save 50 yuan I had to buy an­other item priced at least 1 yuan.

What’s worse, after a lot of ef­fort to get these dis­counts, I found that many were fake. In 2016, I spent 300 yuan on a branded coat dur­ing the Dou­ble 11 sale; its orig­i­nal price was 808 yuan, but when I vis­ited the phys­i­cal store weeks later, I found the coat was only 308 yuan.

There has been plenty of me­dia cov­er­age about on­line re­tail­ers cheat­ing shoppers on Dou­ble 11. In 2016, a woman sur­named Deng told Guang­dong’s Foshan Daily that a canvas hand­bag she wanted cost 75 yuan one month be­fore the sale. How­ever, as Dou­ble 11 ap­proached, she saw the same store run­ning a de­cep­tive ad claim­ing the bag’s “orig­i­nal price was 480 yuan; but only 75 yuan on Novem­ber 11.”

After get­ting caught up in the oc­ca­sion, this Satur­day my Alipay (Taobao’s on­line pay­ment sys­tem) ac­count bal­ance dropped from 7,000 yuan to 2,800 yuan. I have no idea how I spent so much money, but it goes to show that even the most aware shop­per can lose con­trol on Dou­ble 11. We are all vul­ner­a­ble to their psy­cho­log­i­cal tricks.

Sta­tis­tics show that Alibaba’s Dou­ble 11 sales hit a record-break­ing 168 bil­lion yuan this week­end. China’s e-com­merce growth in re­cent years has been amaz­ing to watch, but now it is more nec­es­sary and ur­gent than ever to de­velop an hon­est, reg­u­lated and cus­tomer­friendly on­line trad­ing com­mu­nity for China.

The opin­ions ex­pressed in this ar­ti­cle are the au­thor’s own and do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the views of the Global Times.

Il­lus­tra­tions: Lu Ting/GT

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.