Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Bring home the shopping sprees

By Fang Zhou (China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-07 09:15

Bring home the shopping sprees

Chinese people have long been renowned for luxurious shopping when traveling overseas, the articles they purchase ranging from jewelry and expensive clothes to luxury handbags and watches. So the expectation about reports of Chinese tourists coming back from overseas trips after their Spring Festival holidays was they would offer no surprises.

However, reports that a large number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan during the holiday snapped up non-luxury goods such as toilet seats and rice, along with the usual electronic products, left many Chinese bewildered by their fellow citizens' seemingly crazy behavior. It is reported that because of their popularity with Chinese buyers, one brand of Japanese toilet seats was in short supply for a time, and some Chinese tourists reportedly did not hesitate to buy rice at a hefty 150 yuan ($24) per 500 grams during their visit.

Commenting on the reports, some said such kind of indiscriminate buying is understandable due to the tainted reputation of many domestic products; others criticized the tourists' "excessive preference" for foreign goods. They became the butt of jokes after reports suggested that the toilet seats they bought in Japan, which are said to be equipped with a variety of auxiliary functions such as heating and sanitizing, were probably made in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, and the rice they purchased at such a high price was probably from Panjin of Liaoning province, Northeast China.

While laughing at the perception among some of our fellow citizens that "the foreign moon is rounder than the one hanging over China's sky", the buying of toilet seats and rice should also provoke self-reflection.

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