January 8, 2013
We must be crazy to go to the grand opening of the RT-Mart (a Wal-Mart type store), but that’s what we did and we took the kids. I guess we were curious to find a place to buy diapers closer to home. Or maybe we wanted to feel like a part of the community by shopping with the excited locals. Whatever the reason, we were there, cameras in hand. The only other crowd we’ve been in that compares to the almost-got-smothered-by-strangers insanity of the RT-Mart Grand Opening is the crowd we once experienced in a Chinese train station during Spring Festival. We no longer travel by train during Spring Festival, and I doubt we’ll ever go to another supermarket grand opening.
It was crazy. People were everywhere. Everywhere except one place: the import aisle was completely deserted. Want to buy a bag of spaghetti noodles? No problem. Just stroll down the empty import aisle and take your time looking at all the foreign goods the Chinese shoppers hardly notice. Want to buy a jug of cooking oil? Big problem. To successfully accomplish your mission, you would have to surrender to the crowd and body surf like Crocodile Dundee in the New York Subway hoping to be dropped off in the most popular aisle of the whole store. Next stop: soy sauce and rice!