Articles

China Elevator Stories

“You Can Take Apples Right Out Of These Boxes”

I chat with a couple at a supermarket in Shenzhen.

26/04/2014

Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr

Author

One day in November 2013, I’m at a supermarket in Shenzhen buying fruit. I go to a shelf that is filled with apples. Not far from me, a supermarket employee who is busy unpacking boxes is surrounded by people.

A couple standing right next to me point their finger to him. They point there without saying a word, supposedly thinking that I don’t understand Mandarin Chinese. When I ask them what exactly it is they are trying to communicate, they explain:

illustration apples - Ruth Silbermayr

“You can take apples right out of these boxes.”
I say: “But I can also take the apples from here, can’t I?”
The couple says: “Of course you can, but the ones in the boxes are fresh.”

I finally understand. I wait until the guy has unloaded the apples and go over to take some of the fresh apples, just like anyone else.

Do you like the service culture in China?

Follow me on:

 Pinterest