Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Sales Pitch

A giant boat load of orchid plants for only HK$13,888
It's that time of year again -- the Lunar New Year flower market at Victoria Park. The madness began yesterday and I decided to check it out tonight with a friend.

Poking fun at the police banners used during the protests
While we entered from the Causeway Bay entrance, we didn't take the conventional route of going from the far left row to the other end, and instead headed to the middle in a bid to avoid massive crowds at the beginning.

We saw the usual stuffed toys, from sheep and Hello Kittys, to emojis and even pillows shaped like giant lollipops. There were a few Umbrella Movement-themed stalls, one with voice balloons that said: "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one" quoting John Lennon, and yellow umbrella-shaped  balloons.

One stall had a yellow banner that read: "Merchant warning: You are in Lunar New Year Fair. You may be approached", and the people manning the stall were selling water bottles that looked like tear gas canisters.

Check out Regina Leung and her tank!
The Democratic Party didn't have a large supply of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying-themed toilet paper and tissues on hand, but instead had face towels with his caricature on it looking wolf-like. They also had a cardboard tank with lobster claws on it and Leung's wife Regina in her military-like outfit as commander-in-chief of the Hong Kong Army Cadets. She even has a Hitler-like moustache...

And while there were lots of stalls selling flowers, mostly orchids, there was one selling potted cabbage -- sang choi which has the same meaning as prosperity. So maybe it would be good to grow one of these at home -- have fresh salad and hopefully the money will be rolling in too?

However we got sucked into one stall when we saw the guy handing out free stuff -- was it really free? First it was cloths for household cleaning, and then these plastic hooks that can hold up to 4kg of stuff. My friend and I got those hooks and were hoping to get our hands on those cloths.

But wait! There's more! The sales guy whipped out a chopping knife and showed us how sharp it was and told us each of us could have one -- and if you did, raise your hand! Of course we did.

Lots of cabbage for those wanting a richer Year of the Sheep!
He was very chatty and kept making us repeat the company name, that these products would be available from March 15, and that we were not allowed to sell these, but to try for ourselves and tell our friends about it. Would we do that? Yes! Who wants to try them? We do!

But that's not all! There's also a shaver that you add shaving cream to and it doesn't make a mess, and you can even clean it by dunking it in a container of water! And even the wire for charging it can be put in the water too even if it's plugged in! Very crazy.

By this time, my right foot went numb from standing there listening to him go on and on and telling us he would give us all these things, and at the same time teasing and cajoling us, making us repeat his words over and over. Was he going to give us the stuff or not?

Only 12 people would be able to get all these things -- including a cutting board too -- but wait -- it's not free. Would you pay HK$1 for it? How about HK$10? HK$100?

Some yellow umbrella balloons hanging around
In the end it turned out people had to pay HK$500 for the whole lot and there were many takers -- even a few who had already whipped out the money because they had been told the total value of all the items was under HK$2,000.

We had stood around for almost an hour... and left empty handed. But boy was he a good talker.

By this point we were exhausted and so we didn't finish the rest of the stalls and instead headed to the flower stalls so that I could buy my consolation prize of a pot of orchids...

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