Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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Archive for November, 2009

How to place an order with a factory

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, November 26, 2009

Are YOU having delivery problems with YOUR Chinese supplier?

Deadlines missed? Delivery dates passing by with no sign of your goods?

Well then, listen up schmucks. This is how it is done…

1. Get yourself a piece of paper and a pen. After you’ve done this a few times you’ll be able to do it in your head, but for now let’s play it safe, ok?

2. Write down the date on which you absolutely must have the goods by. The latest possible date. We are going to count back from here.

3. Take off the number of days it will take for the freight people to transport the goods from the factory to your warehouse. For the sake of this exercise, we will assume four days, but it could be any number. Well, I say it could be any number, but in actual fact it could be any number except for the one you are expecting.

4. Take off two more days to allow for the fact that the freight people forgot to pick up the goods from the manufacturer as arranged.

5. Take off one day to allow for the fact that the freight people didn’t deliver the goods to you until after 8:00 P.M., when your warehouse is closed. You will need to have someone there all night, every night. This means you, because relatives of your local staff will simply use the opportunity to loot the place.

6. Take off two days to allow for the fact that the Chinese manufacturer has been repeatedly told it is of absolute urgency and that all future business rests on their shipping the goods on time.

7. Take off three days to allow for the fact that they had to produce some critical component. But not for you, unfortunately.

8. Take off the production days, however many that is. For the sake of argument, we will assume seven days.

9. Take off three days. Because this is China.

10. We now have twenty-two days lead time. This is how long it will take to actually receive the order which you can reasonably expect in eleven days. This is your secret, to be shared only with your client, but never with the factory. Place your order no later than this date.

11. When placing your order, specify in the first line what it is you want, together with the quantity and price. In the second line, state the last possible date of delivery to your warehouse to be eleven days. No one in China is capable of reading past the first line, so this detail will be lost, however they will acknowledge your order. When, in your correspondence, you repeatedly refer to the ‘delivery date’, they will have no idea to what you are referring, but they will happily agree regardless.

12. On the tenth day, call them up and enquire as to the shipping status of your order. You will be told it is “okay”. Ask detailed questions regarding the shipping documents and tracking numbers, then ask the same questions again. And again. And, possibly, again. Eventually, the person on the other end of the phone will be forced to answer your questions. They will answer with lies, of course, but now at least they have committed themselves.

13. Tell the manufacturer (who has, by now, started production and may actually have even completed it), you are cancelling the order because your clients cannot wait for even two more days. Point out that this was agreed to in all the correspondence. Tell the person you are talking to that this is coming out of their wages. Make the person you are dealing with cry – I mean it, really lay it on. Important point: don’t shout; remain calm and collected.

14. Keep this up until the person stops beginning every sentence with “Because…”. This is the moment when you have the knife to their throat, and they know it. Now allow them the briefest glimmer of hope: ask them when is the soonest date that the goods can be with you, and what are they prepared to do to compensate you and your client for your losses.

15. Remain silent yourself for four seconds (use a watch). Then crush their hopes and tell them that the date they have just specified is – and I quote – “completely unacceptable”. You get another day or so knocked off this way. Now you are down to the original twenty two days you calculated, perhaps even twenty one days if you are really sharp.

16 Compensation should be in the order of an additional twenty percent of the value of the order, free with your next order. You will in fact actually receive five percent of the value of the order free with your next order, but that’s better than a kick in the teeth. Plus then you can use the shortfall to demand further concessions in the future.

Congratulations. If you have followed these simple steps, you will receive your goods on time, or slightly before. Your client will receive a small incentive to give you further orders. And you, well you got to make some mutt cry.

Happy happy everyday. For any question pls contact me freely!!!

Posted in China | 48 Comments »

Dear China Eastern Airlines

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, November 16, 2009

Dear China Eastern Airlines,

I owe you an apology, and I can see from the expression on your face that you need an explanation, too. That seems fair.

I took one of your flights recently, and that’s where the trouble starts. You see, I didn’t actually make the booking, and by the time I realised on which airline I was scheduled to ‘fly’, it was too late to make any changes. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I may be slightly prejudiced when it comes to flying Plummet Airways.

I was so organised, so very well prepared, so efficient, that before I had even boarded the aircraft, I had composed an entire post in which I would describe the awfulness of the experience.

China Eastern Airlines, I was hasty, and I am sorry.

Things were much better than I had anticipated. To begin with, we were only an hour late in taking off, and that wasn’t really even your fault. After all, one can hardly hold you responsible for the manner in which your passengers behave, can one? By the time most of them had found their seats (by looking at every seat number, one at a time), sat down, got up again, stowed their sacks of vegetables by the emergency exit, sat down, got up, discussed where to sit, sat down, got up, etcetera etcetera, we were so far behind schedule that we were in danger of missing Christmas, never mind your runway slot. Oh, and I’m sorry for scratching the window in an attempt to get it open for some fresh air – the breath of my fellow passengers is no responsibility of yours.

When we did finally make it to the runway, I give full credit to your pilots for being able to get us into the air on the second attempt, despite the rattling of loose rivets around every window frame and the drag caused by not having closed the cargo hold doors properly. In a way, the reduced weight of the aircraft after we had shed most of the luggage actually made for a faster flight. I guess thanks are in order.

Unlike my previous experiences with your flights, I was not pointedly ignored by your entire cabin staff, and I was eventually able to gain the attention of one brave Air Doris, who lowered herself in the eyes of her colleagues and the other passengers by allowing me some food and coffee. I’m sorry that I can’t tell you her name, but for her actions I feel she has already been made to suffer enough public ridicule. And yes, for the sharp-eyed amongst you, I did say food and coffee. The food was far better than the inedible and very possibly near-lethal garbage bin leftovers that I have come to expect from your airline, as it was in fact a sandwich. The bread, at less than fourteen days of age, was very fresh for a Chinese culinary creation, and there was a filling that was relatively inoffensive and gave me only a slight case of botulism. And the coffee, too, was wonderful. I’m not going to go so far as to say that I could taste that it was coffee, but it’s a fact that I could taste that it wasn’t recycled green tea. I could also taste the water you used, but this is not automatically a bad thing – as the Chinese saying goes, “If it’s black, send it back. If it’s brown, drink it down”.

The flight itself was uneventful, once the pilots realised their mistake and turned us around to the correct heading. They even kindly warned us of the turbulent conditions ahead, a mere four minutes after the turbulent conditions were behind us. And they botched the landing far less badly than is often the case. We didn’t even hit a single runway light, despite having one wheel on the grass verge.

So there you have it, China Eastern Airlines. I am forced to admit that my earlier article, in which I was critical of you, was premature. I apologise unreservedly, and have taken steps to ensure that it will never be published. Thank you for showing me that you have improved, and just between you and I, it’s delightful to witness the change.

China Eastern Airlines, you are now as good as all the other Chinese Airlines. Well done you.

Posted in China | 17 Comments »


Posted by MyLaowai on Wednesday, November 4, 2009

091104 ebay bike

I have a reputation for not putting enough effort into describing items I sell on ebay, so this time I’m going to be very clear in describing the item.

The pictures above appear to be of some type of small child’s motorbike, possibly a minibike, yes, that’s what it looks like. However, this is one of those very rare Chinese made miniature motorcycles of which only about 56,785,920 were distributed world wide last year. The total lack of spare parts for these things has now convinced me that each child born in China was tasked with producing one of these; from a roll of aluminium foil and an empty ice cream container. That explains why each one is different. Not just different colours, but every single one is unique in its dimensions and spirit. Some have even been made inside-out.

Some of them have wheels which are almost round, mine doesn’t. The frame appears to be made of bamboo, painted silver to make it look stronger. When they gave the Chinese made boats the name Junk, I can now see why. Surely, one of the five year old kids tasked with building these things could weld. Every weld on the frame of this thing looks like a passing sparrow has splattered semi metallic poo on it, badly. Every bolt is a different size and the fact that it doesn’t change shape if left in the sunlight has amazed me.

I rode it once, that was enough. It was about as comfortable as pouring a cup full of leaf-cutting ants down my undies. Even though I’m so short that my feet are actually above my head, somehow riding this thing saw me wearing my ankles as earrings and trying to steer at the same time. Making things even worse was that it was like riding a chainsaw with wheels. The motor can rev like a cat with a clothes peg on its tail, making this little bike go faster than standing still – which is already a stretch of its safety envelope.

Before I took it for its one and only ride, I had to fill it up with fuel. I couldn’t understand how such a small machine could need such a large fuel tank, but then fifteen minutes after I’d put the fire out, I worked out why. The fuel leak from the carby was that severe that by the time I’d travelled 12 metres with my feet behind my head, the grass behind me was on fire. The leaking fuel had some how caught alight and although I was hoping it was a trail of burning rubber from its tyre shredding power, it was merely a small fire, not unlike a burning pipeline in Iraq. Fortunately, the fuel leak was so bad that by the time the fire caught up to the bike, there was nothing left to burn.

The bodywork on the bike isn’t even attached. I don’t know how it ever could be. There must have been a fight at the child labour factory when this thing was made, obviously the stronger five year old stole the bits that allowed this bike’s bodywork to be attached to its silver bamboo frame. So it just sits there making this thing even more ridiculous. You would expect that motorcycle bodywork would be made of plastic, true. But given the fact that this stuff a) didn’t burn and b) is as flexible as a Viagra induced erection, tells me that it is something from another planet, possibly China. I suspect that it may be some super organic, self regenerating rice paper or something.

Starting this bike is about as easy as getting a table of six for Yum Cha at 12pm. Despite the fuel gushing from the poor excuse for a carby, this thing has a pull start which has a cord about as long as a primary school play lunch. With the amount of fuel flooding from the carby, it requires full throttle to start. The first time I got it going it rode off with only the ghost of Chopstick Creek at the controls. I later learned that the best way to start it was by holding it under your arm and acting out an ACDC guitar riff before putting it back down, placing your ankles behind your ears and hoping that the thing stayed upright long enough for someone to get a photo.

On the bright side, this thing would make a fantastic garden ornament, because it has a miraculous ability to convert itself to important soil nutrients, like iron oxide, very quickly. You will notice that one of the front fork stanchions is all rusty. I didn’t do that in photoshop, it really is rooted. You will also notice that the steering is out of alignment, but what do you expect from child labour?

When the Trike of Death saw this little bike, it turned around in a very large circle and looked the other way. You have to feel sorry for this little machine, it’s like a puppy in a pound. Surely someone out there must have a good home for it? Lets face it, you can now buy something that has trodden the same ground as the legendary Trike of Death for less than the cost of a Trike of Death T shirt. You may even be able to convert this little thing into a candle, a hearing aid, a belt buckle or something else useful.

This monstrosity needs to go. Even if you buy it just for something to kick your toe on it would be worth it. You could paint it black and leave it on some stairs one night. You could create an artificial reef out of it, for one small and selfish fish. Whatever you do with it is your own business, just don’t tell anyone where it came from.

In response to some anticipated questions, here are the answers:

No, I don’t have a buy it now price, but if you can convince ebay to refund my listing fee, you can have it.

No, it doesn’t have a seat, the manufacturer didn’t design it to last long enough for your arse to make it to the where the seat would normally be.

No, it ran out of warranty on the third day, which was when it was somewhere in the middle of the Sea of China, on its way to infest the world with a good dose of unquality control.

Yes, I will deliver it to Anaheim California, it will only cost a return airfare ex Sydney and a Disneyland pass.

No, the brakes don’t work. It wasn’t designed to make it that far.

Yes, it is crap.

True, it does look good. So too do most celebrities until you see them in the flesh.

No, it wouldn’t be a nice gift for a six year old, or any other number between 1 and 1000.

No, there isn’t any spare parts available for it. They were designed around the same concept as disposable razors and toilet paper, not much good after the first use.

Yes, you are welcome to take it for a test ride after you buy it and then sell it to someone else who advertises it for sale and offers you a ride of it.

Questions and answers about this item

Q: Is the starting price a typo ? I’ll offer you 67c for it and you pay the postage.
A: The starting price was $6.99, which was my payment for writing the silly ad. Serious ads cost $12.80 so you should be thankful.

Q: Is the lead paint job in good shape? Are the plastic parts the same material they use in the dog food they export to the U.S.A.? How far are you from N.J.
A: The bike is painted in blue asbestos, cheaper than lead. The plastic in the dog food is far more nutritional than this rubbish. I’m a long way from NJ, but if the sale falls through, I’ll take in on a world tour.

Q: Serious suggestion Hollywood. Withdraw from sale and relist in eBay Nigeria. When the scammers win, send them the bike with a hefty postal charge. Should cure them of ever scamming again. Thanks for the laugh.
A: Thanks Chris. I just received an email from Nigeria where they have recommended that I invest in shares in this thing. Far out, I own it, how much more investment do I need.

Q: I was thinking this would be a good gift for my Ex-wife. However I am concerned about the gas mileage that her F@tA$$ would be getting. Could you tell how this will perform on fried rice? Also is a fart regenerator available?
A: The fuel economy will be improved once her r’s catches on fire and the fat starts to drip into the carby. It may just blow a little more smoke. The only modification this thing really needs is to be put on a train track.

Q: I am 73 and have a busted leg- does this qualify as a mobility device under Medicare? You must be the reincarnation of Mark Twain. I laughed until tears ran down my face. Thank you for making my day so enjoyable!
A: Enjoyable day – with a busted leg. You wait ’til I list my boat for sale, that will make you happy and it may just be what you need for your rehab. Good luck with straightening out coat hangers to scratch those itches.

Thanks to Whackingday

Posted in China, Guest Post | 6 Comments »