chinese shops

21-VI-2018 18:53

Completely different from what they are in the US - they don't sell oriental food and small household items.

They sell everything that's small enough. Tools, garments, flatware, footwear, small appliances, electrical plugs and cords, eyeglasses, garden furniture, office chairs, desks.

The quality of it all is quite shoddy. The footwear doesn't last more than few months; the tools are made out of very inferior material, the flipflops unglue in a few weeks (unless you're lucky), and the garments may split at the seams. Cables are outright dangerous - the ground wire may be completely missing, even though the plugs and outlets have the contacts; the wire may be ridiculously thin (I had one that couldn't power a 1500W appliance, it just wouldn't start). The knives and cleavers have handles that look normal, but the metal goes only about 20mm into the handle.

The tape measure may refuse to roll back in after a few months. The socket wrench set may have decent bits, but the ratchet itself may refuse to operate in one of the directions (no big deal - with a 1500 dinars for a 40-bit and two ratchet set, you later buy a 800 dinar ratchet when the original ratchet falls apart and you're still fine). A multivoltage DC adapter may change voltage at random under one polarity and work sort of regularly under the other polarity. The casters on a chair may survive two years, but the tubes into which they fit may unweld from the chair's base.

The reason these guys survive and, more important, keep good locations is that they are very cheap, that not all of the stuff they sell is junk, and that the same junk may be found in regular shops at higher }. If not identical, then equally low quality.

OTOH, they get you to think that everything is cheaper there. Not always true - some pieces of garment, for example, were found actually cheaper and yet better in a local shop on the same square around which there are at least five chinese shops.

The Chinese shopkeepers generally learn just enough serbian to know their merchandise and can communicate at the cashiers, and with the local personnel they sometimes hire.

Don't expect a {A 0574 "receipt"}, they all register at flat rate tax (allegedly making less than 2 million RSD a year, which is about 18000€) so they don't have to produce proof of charging you the VAT (aka PDV). The prices may change at a whim, but as they are generally low, nobody complains much.

What you can't buy there: anything {A 0527 "larger"} than a blender; food (specially not asian food - I tried to ask them where do they buy rice, didn't get much of an answer), chop sticks and asian style dishes. The shops being generally crammed to the rims with as much merchandise as can fit and then some, you get the feeling it's dirty. The ventilation is very bad in some places, the concentration of evaporations from plastic and textile may be stronger than in a Walmart shoe or detergent aisles.