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Born in the UK but now living in Australia, Paul Fox has travelled to many places throughout China. He has seen the lighter side, the darker side, both the gentle and the seedy sides. He documents his experiences and is willing to share them with anyone who wants to listen. He is not afraid to say things exactly how he sees them, and is quite happy to "name and shame" when necessary.
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You Can Check Out Any Time You Like........    

By Paul Fox
1944 Views | 12 Comments | 10/28/2017 4:27:35 AM

Shopping in China comes in a variety of ways, a variety of locations and a real variety of structures.

Those infamous words from The Eagles' song 'Hotel California' -

'"You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave"

Not even 2 months have gone by and here I am back in the Middle Kingdom.

It's only for a few days while I visit the Canton Fair, but I must admit that it's great to be back.

Sure, West Australia has its benefits - clean air; few people; wonderful beaches, etc, but it's boring compared to SE Asia - China, especially.

In my last blog, I wrote about the cost-of-living and how we're all totally ripped-off in our Western countries. I'm not a Coca-Cola drinker, but a bottle of coke in Perth is between $5 and $8 depending on where you go, but here, it's RMB8 - which is about $1.50.

I know that Barry has recently spent a small fortune on renovating his house in Australia, but he could have saved half of that if he had listened to me.

I've just spent $700 on a product (in China), that I was quoted $2331.00 for back in OZ.

I wouldn't mind, but the products are IDENTICAL ! In fact, I suspect that the $2331.00 product is imported from China in the first place - what a rip-off!

Before I came here to work in late 2014, I helped a mate get a kitchen over for the house he was building. He had been quoted $27K in Perth, and I got him a comparable one from China for $11K. By the time he'd paid for shipping and installation, it cost him $15,000. That's still a saving of $12K - ridiculous!

I'm here to buy windows, a kitchen, bathrooms, tiles, and lighting for a house that I'm renovating for a friend. I've already covered the cost of my flight and hotel just in the one product I mentioned above, and I haven't even done the numbers on the other products.

I've got to be honest, it's not easy buying stuff from China. I started back in 2008 and learnt the hard way.

For example, I was recently quoted $115.00 for a shower enclosure, but they wanted $500 to ship it over to OZ - and it's the freight charges that make it useless for most people, so they don't even try. However, once you learn the proverbial 'ropes' then you can save a bundle when compared to the prices we have to pay in the West.

Much of it gets back to what I said in my last blog. People here work for pennies, but the cost-of-living is 'pennies' too!

Factories work on a low profit-margin. You ask the price; they ask the quantity. You tell them that the quantity depends on the price; they tell you the price depends on the quantity. It's a 'catch-22'

Then they'll tell you that if you order 1000 pcs they will cost you $1 each, but if you order 100,000 pcs they;ll cost you 98c each.

Truth is that they probably only have 10c profit so they feel that they're giving you 20% discount, when in reality, it's nothing to us, is it?

Why would you buy an extra 90,000 pcs just to save 2 cents?

I had a little chuckle yesterday when I was visiting a factory that made glass shower screens. They had one product that was a fixed glass panel with a sliding door. The 'Wow factor' was that there was no door handle. You just waved your hand across a sensor and the door opened by itself. Once you stepped inside the shower, you waved your hand across the sensor inside, and the door closed by itself.

Not a big deal in the real world, but it was certainly 'novel'

"This is a new product', said the salesman - "It's VERY expensive!"

I asked what the cost was - expecting it to be a couple of grand - but it was less than half that !

It's obvious that their idea of 'expensive' is nothing compared to ours.

Then there was another sliding shower screen where the glass became obscure once the door was closed - clear again when opened.

'Switchable Glass' has been around for a few years now, but when I asked the cost I nearly fell off my was ridiculously cheap when compared to the 3K you'd expect to pay in the West - it was PENNIES by comparison....


A good-ole favourite of mine is razor blades - you know, the disposable type. Most of us guys need to shave every day, so razor blades is a 'must-have'.

A guy I know here in China owns a factory that makes them. He sells them in packs of 5 for 90c (US) a pack.

In Chinese money, that's about RMB6 for one pack of 5 razors. The 7/11 next door to my hotel sells them for RMB54 a pack, so that's RMB48 profit.

If I bought a container-load and sold them to my local retail outlets for $2.00 a pack, what will they sell them for? $7 or perhaps $8 at a MINIMUM?

The problem is that YOU wil happily pay $7 or $8 a pack, because you NEED them ! Yet look at WHO is making the most profit !!

It's time some of us got together and stopped ourselves from being ripped-off everywhere we go to buy stuff

So I revert you back to my previous blog entitled 'Who Has Got It Right?'

Cos believe me, WE certainly haven't !

Just as a PS, if anyone reading this wants help with purchasing products from China, I mentioned that I've been doing it since 2008 so just drop John Abbot an e-mail and ask him for my e-mail address. I'll help any of you to import goods from China - not necessarily to make a quid, but more in protest at the ridiculous prices we are forced to pay back home.

I'd much rather help Chinese families put food on their table than help rich Western businessmen buy their next Rolls Royce......and you know what....I'm determined to do just that !!




Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2017-10-28 04:26:02 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Paul, I agree with you that the prices in China, as opposed to "back home", whether that means the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most West European countries, and probably lots of others, are rediculously low.  

But I'm not sure we can lay the blame for all that on "local retailers". 

Let's look at your example of the razors.

After you buy them from your buddy in China for $0.90 per pack, you still have to pay to get them from the factory to the port, then loaded on the ship and hauled to your home country, then off loaded and then you pay the duty to get them through customs. By then, my bet is that you'd already be into them for close to $1.50 per pack.

You're now in the 1st world and paying 1st world prices, and the razor blades still have to be moved to, and stored in, somewhere  place local. And then you've got to get them distributed to your customers, after going through the costs of finding those customers and making the sales. I'm guessing you're looking at another $1.50 per pack of blades there before you're actually collecting any payments from the retailers, but let's say $1.25.

So let's be conservative and say you can get the blades from the factory in China to the retailer in Oz, on average, at a total cost to you of $2.75. You still need to make a decent return for yourself, so let's say you're not greedy and you'll settle for $1.25 profit per pack.  You're now wholesaling them for $4.00 per pack, which is probably still cheaper than your local retailer can get them  elsewhere.

But his costs don't stop there. He/she's still paying his/her employees in 1st world wages, paying rent and upkeep at 1st world rates, paying 1st world utilities rates, and paying for advertising, printing, accounting, legal and insurance, all at exhorbitant rates. Let's say that he is paying out another $2.00 per package to cover all those costs.

Now let's say he sells them for $7.50 per pack. He then has to pay income tax on that $1.50 profit he made of roughly 40% or $0.60, leaving him a take home profit of $0.90.

I may not have any of the numbers exactly right, but you get my point. The retailer is not to blame for the exceptionally higher prices, nor does he make much money out of it.

The sad reality is that the cost of having our own high standard of materially luxurious living while working as little as possible, combined with the cost of having incredibly excessive and expensive government imbedded in everything we do, results in a cost of living for our 1st world countries that far exceeds the cost of living in most of China.

If you consider that every single cost I mentioned above includes within in it roughly 40% government tax in one form or another, and that every capital cost or cost of labor involved is at least 300% higher than in 3rd world countries (which includes much of China), it becomes impossible to see the retailer as the bad guy.

We are all the bad guy. We are all responsible for the fiinancial burdens we bear in order to live the lifestyle we choose in our so called "wealthy" nations. Which takes us right back to your previous blog, "Who Has Got It Right?", doesn't it?

Just saying... 

#2017-10-28 06:48:53 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


Sure, I follow your logic, but there are ways and means. The biggest problem we have in the West is government tax. In the US income tax around 30% - 40% (so I'm told), so that means each worker is working 4 months of the year just to pay his (or her) tax. Why?

I'm not going to digress, but I find it interesting that if you break down the word 'Government' into 'Govern' and 'Ment', the meaning is quite frightening,

'Govern' means to rule or control, and the word 'ment' is Latin for 'mind' (it's the root word for MENTality, or MENTal)

Therefore, the word 'Government' literally means 'mind control'

So we all must go to work, be a good little boy or girl and concentrate on paying our taxes before we can even feed our family.

The USA has a high tax on everything, yet it's still 19 BILLION dollars in debt - it's crazy!

Back to the razors for a minute. You are old enough to remember when the first 'twin-blade' razor came out. Then there was the famous 'Mach 3' with 3 blades on each head.

Well guess what.....this little innovative guy is producing razors with a head that contains SIX blades!

I tried one, and to be honest, I was impressed. Closest shave I've ever had!. He's selling them on a 'blister pack' with a total of 7 heads for around $2.

Let's call it $2.50 by the time they are shipped. I'd sit on the beach all day, or drive round office blocks and sell them for $5 a pop. What's more, I'd do it in protest at the ridiculously high prices we guys have to pay for what is essentially a 'must-have' item.

We only have ourselves to blame if we continue to allow TPTB to walk all over us and squeeze every tax dollar they can - and I don't just mean with razor blades, I mean with just about everything!

We're force-fed 'convenience', and so we have become lazy. It's far too time-consuming to tap in a 4-digit code to open your smartphone, so now you just swipe it with your fingerprint. It's far too difficult to mess around with a car key, so you just press a button to start your engine. Perish the thought of cooking dinner, just buy a frozen one and pop in in the microwave, or better still, take the family to McDonalds for a nice 'healthy' dinner.

I've been paying $30 a night is a small, but pleasant, hotel some 20 minutes from the Canton Fair. Hotels that are much closer are ten times that!

They only charge $300 a night because idiots are prepared to pay it rather than take a $5 taxi-ride.

In Vietnam I was paying $25 a night (including breakfast), at a hotel on the beach!

The rent on my Chinese apartment is $300 a MONTH, yet I must pay $400 a WEEK in Perth.

We all just accept this crap as being 'the norm', but it's ONLY 'the norm' because we are all so stupid as to allow it to happen in the first place.


#2017-10-29 11:49:17 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

Sorry, my bad.....I should have said 19 TRILLION dollars in debt, not billion !

#2017-10-29 12:44:22 by RWByrum @RWByrum


A really minor point but the 'ment' in government did not derive from mens, mentis meaning 'mind' but rather the Latin suffix -mentum meaning "accomplished".  The ancient Romans liked to derive nouns from their verbs by adding suffixes to the verb stem with the resulting noun carrying the action of the verb modified by the meaning of the suffix.  An example of this would be argumentum which was the suffix -mentum meaning 'accomplished' being added to the verb arguere meaing 'to prove'.  Thus an argumentum was an 'accomplished proof'.  Hence government does not mean 'mind control' but 'accomplished control'.  But I doubt that this will make anybody feel any better.

#2017-10-29 23:16:06 by anonymous16593 @anonymous16593

Enjoyed your response to John, your comment on the cars  now equipped with push button ignitions made me think back and remember my Mom's 1956 Plymouth had push button ignition so laziness is nothing new :)

#2017-10-30 16:56:01 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


Thanks for your feedback. Moot point though, lol. Accomplished Control or Mind Control - either way we are still being 'controlled'.

It's just a shame that most people (sheeple) don't understand, or don't WANT to KNOW, how deep it goes. I won't go on about it here because I've been chastised before, but a LOT of people are going to be very sorry they ignored all the warnings. That's all I'll say for now. Thanks again, my friend.

#2017-10-30 16:56:48 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


Hi, yeah my Mum had one too. However, one needed a key to put into the ignition first, then the button was pressed.

#2017-11-11 07:37:28 by anonymous16603 @anonymous16603

When you say know the "ropes" you mean greese the hands of some bureacrat with a bribe right? "The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil" as Proverbs states.

#2017-11-11 20:15:45 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


I follow your logic and I know exactly where you're 'coming from', but No!

People who take bribes are nothing short of 'whores'

#2018-10-09 18:34:20 by anonymous18232 @anonymous18232

A high percentage of Americans, pay no taxes. The top 1% pays a high percentage of the overall tax burden. But they also take advantage of the loopholes. I paid 30% including FICA, Medicad (withholdings, which are taxes), capital gains etc. It's a real rip off. The tax laws are better, but need to be greatly improved. That's why I've been advocaing the FairTax for 18 years ( It's a national sales tax on new goods and services. Eliminates the IRS, Federal Income, corporate, capital gains taxes etc. No filings, no need to hire an accountant. I pay my accountant $500 to file my forms every year. The underground economy is taxed. eg. Chinese restaurants, drug dealers, mob et al. Doesn't hurt the poor or elderly as everyone gets a prebate to cover essential goods like food. Illegal aliens wouldn't be able to get the prebate. It would create more jobs, bring more overseas companies and investment back to American soil and could even save Social Security and Medicare. Studies to be foiund on their website demonstrate that it would bring more income for the US government. But we Americans would have to lobby them to cut the budget and eliiminate wasteful spending per Citizens Against Government Waste's recommendations. It also includes companion piece of legislation to eliminate the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution. When I run for office, if still hasn't been passed I will do whatever I can to get it passed through Congress and on the President's desk to be signed into law. I continue to lobby Trump and others in Congress to pass it..

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