Opening Day in the Neighborhood


            Chinese love openings of anything.  Crowds will gather  to await the grand opening of any department store, grocery, restaurant or even small snack shop along the street.  Everyone is afraid of missing out on the excitement of the rush to see what’s new and different, what’s cheaper and what’s not.

            Two weeks ago, one of our neighborhood shops finally closed up due to lack of business.  Within a day after removing all the items, workmen came in to gut the store and re-do it. Yesterday, I walked by to find construction still underway but this morning, huge flower baskets lined the entrance announcing opening day.  Shining glass was in place with banners and posters stuck up giving special discount prices for the grand occasion. Promotional pamphlets and company catalogs were being passed out by young people standing on the storefront’s steps.   A huge red sign announced in English “Ziyanfoods Chain-link”, above which read in Chinese "Ziyan’s Plain Chicken."  Already at 8:30, there was a long line of people waiting for the 9 a.m. opening. 

            The three-day special began today, 30% off all dishes, and everyone is taking advantage of it.

             This shop sells specially prepared cold roasted chicken.  You can buy a whole spicy Sichuan chicken or a non-spicy one, chicken legs and feet boiled in broth and brushed with sauce, or the all-time favorite which is chicken pieces (bones, skin, meat and all) stirred and tossed in your choice of condiments: soy sauce, spring onion, peanuts, sesame seeds, sesame oil, peanut oil, garlic, cilantro, salt, sugar and the list goes on. 

            According to the promotional flier, there are over 800 of these stores located in 20 cities around China.  Obviously, this fast-food take-out chain must be  well-known among the Chinese or they wouldn’t line up for hours to get it.

            One gentleman came away with 4 containers and he waited 50 minutes, spending 70 yuan ($10) instead of 100 ($14).  It’s a sizzling day today and without an umbrella for shade, standing in line must be mighty hot and sticky.  The man I talked to felt very pleased with his $4 savings so I guess for him, it was worth it. 

           Those getting their food now are the lucky ones, however, as they stood in line mid-day.  I’m just wondering what the rush will be like around 5 p.m. when people are coming home from work, hungry and thinking this is a good deal for a family dinner.

            I’m not sure how many Americans would wait in line so long, and under such conditions, for a mere take-out but I guess if the price is right, we might.

            As for me, I think I’d rather prepare my own dinner at home in the comfort of a cool apartment.  I like chicken, but not enough for a sweaty one or two hour wait in line, even if it’s for 30% off.


            From Chengdu, here’s wishing you “Ping An!”      



(Yes!  Money still needed for 5 million having nothing other than tents and donated supplies to live on.) 


United Methodists:    UMCOR Advance #982450, International Disaster Response, China Earthquake


About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 30 years as an English language teacher. 28 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my 13th year in Luzhou Vocational and Technical College. The college is located in Luzhou city (loo-joe), Sichuan Province, a metropolis of 5 million people located next to the Yangtze River .
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