Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Flocking with the Chinese

I just returned from an overnight trip to Seattle with some good friends where we shopped, ate, and saw a few sights.

Yesterday morning we headed out early to avoid long waits at the Peace Arch border crossing, but many others had the same idea as us. However we were lucky with a relatively short wait and we were soon on our way.

Our first stop was at Seattle Premium Outlets which features many brand names such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Swarovski, DKNY, Michael Kors, Coach and Kate Spade.

What was most interesting about this indoor/outdoor outlet was that periodically there would be announcements broadcast in Putonghua, welcoming visitors to the outlet to shop. The message was not translated into English or in any other language.

And pretty much everywhere you looked, there were mainlanders in many of the stores. The vast majority of customers in Burberry were from China because the clothing and accessories here were priced at over $100, from blouses to handbags to raincoats.

At Lacoste a somewhat stylish Chinese woman made her son or nephew do all the simultaneous translation for her, asking about polo shirts with the ubiquitous crocodile logo.

Then about 20 minutes later I saw them again at Tumi, where she and her friends were interested in buying some suitcases, where they were served by a young Chinese American man who didn't speak Mandarin.

Again the son or nephew had to translate again, and they would ask such inane questions as, "Is Tumi one of the best luggage brands?"

What else can the sales person say?

Perhaps the funniest part of visiting this outlet was bumping into my good friend from Hong Kong. I knew she was in Vancouver for the holidays but had no idea she would be in Seattle too!

Seattle Premium Outlets
10600 Quil Ceda Boulevard
Tualip, WA 98271
(360) 654 3000

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