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Gift shopping in Kunming for a local

JanJal (915 posts) • +1

As a language-challenged foreigner, buying gifts for the other half (who is Chinese) is often a problem for me.

Buying for family and friends back home is simple, because she can always help, but it gets trickier when buying for herself.

And not the least because my Mandarin is less than elementary.

Cannot shop online, and even if I could, arranging the delivery while preserving an element of surprise would be difficult.

So I'm interested to hear any ideas.

For example, any nice shopping malls that offer mall-wide gift cards?

Living on the northside btw.

debaser (628 posts) • 0

Take her shopping? If you can't deal with shopping with the other half you could draw your own 'gift voucher' and/or pay the bill at the end - a universally accepted gift voucher. Hongbao? I mean who doesn't like cash, right?! How about you get a friend to order online for you?

tigertiger (5000 posts) • +1

I am not sure about Mall wide vouchers, but department stores like Parksons probably do.

Good gifts, always welcome in China, are foodstuffs or toiletries. The supermarkets are full of gift boxed foods at the moment, and Metro, Walmart, and Carrefour all have gift vouchers.

If it is clothing, then I am pretty sure that Decathlon, and Uniqlo do gift vouchers.
If your other half is a wife, then she will probably not want to spend much money on gifts/frivolities for each other.
If the other half is a long term GF, even then not a lot of money needs to be spent, because if she has not bought you an expensive gift, but you buy her one, she may lose face.

WayneCaoAus (10 posts) • +1

I think @debaser's DIY 'gift voucher' will be an excellent idea to go with if you are not 100% sure what kind of gift your other half will prefer. I let my wife pick her own gifts on the big dates every time, so far it works out every well.

Even for a local Chinese like myself, it will be impossible to offer you an actual advice on the gift, not knowing what kind of person your other half is.

However an extra advice, if you decide to go on with @debaser's idea, is that you have to 'force' her to pick herself a gift on the day. Since the money has not been spent when you give her the DIY 'gift voucher', she might tell you that she doesn't want any expensive gift from you or no gift from you at all and all she wants is you to be there for her. Not saying what she tells you isn't true, and probably she wants to save money for you, but trust me she will have something in mind, especially if she is that kind of girl, I'm sure there will be many things that she likes but hesitates to buy because of money.

Just get your money ready and persist to have her pick a gift on the day. Good luck with that :P

JanJal (915 posts) • 0

Thanks all!

To clarify, she is the wife and housewife at that, plus mother of a 1 year old.

However little I spend, she wouldn't be able to match (in money anyway), so that's not important consideration for me.

I'd like to give even a little of a surprise, and taking her out shopping wouldn't be much of such since we do that regularly anyway.

Gift voucher that she'll have to use instead of putting the money in bank would be ideal. Let her go shopping on her own, while I take the toddler to KTV or something.

I'll check the shops @tigertiger mentioned.

bilingualexpat (220 posts) • +2

A worthy gift would be to learn her native tongue... to traverse online with help of your Chinese friends/staffs to find her novel items nonexistent in Kunming.

You often take her out shopping around town. So whatever you buy in this city she has already seen, which dampens the element of surprise.

Taking the time and effort to learn simple Chinese online lingo would not only impress her, but serves a beneficial learning curve for yourself. A long-term investment to further improve relationship with your child in the 5G+ future. Especially if you intend to stay in China for the long haul. The Chinese internet isn't going anywhere in the decades to come.

You gotta start sometime, why not now?

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@Jan: "... arranging the delivery while preserving an element of surprise would be difficult."

Shipping and package retrievals have been significantly upgraded in the last two years. I'm sure you've already seen the green “Hive Boxes” (aka “feng chao” / 丰巢) placed outside or inside commercial & residential buildings.

All package delivery companies, even EMS, will use Hive Boxes upon customer request. Couriers will store your parcel in one of the container slots and send you a text password combination to open at your own convenience.

Retrievals are free for first 24 hours. If you collect your package within 24-hour time period and the Hive Box screen displays 1 rmb, it is just a misleading donation plea. Just skip (跳过) the message as the payment isn’t mandatory until after 24-hours. 1 rmb fee per day afterwards.

I’ve seen people open Hive Box by entering passwords after 30 days. The person was required to transfer 29 rmb via barcode to open. Convenient for those who’ve been out of town and needed long-term storage.

For maximum privacy. Don’t leave your frequently used mobile number for shipping contact info when making online purchases. This would cut down on annoying call solicitations and spam texts. Leave your seldom-used, secondary SIM card. Just follow Hive Box official account on Wechat. Register by verifying with said secondary number. When packages arrive, Hive Box passwords will be sent via WeChat message in lieu of text messages or calls from courier to your regular mobile phone. Granted you may need to answer their call if Hive Box is full.

To say nothing of convenience, the Hive Box not only maintains privacy and anonymity of recipient, but safety. Especially if recipient is a home alone, underaged female.

If Hive Box is absent in your vicinity, or if particular packages are too big for the Hive Box, there are plenty of package collection services around town. They are called “代收,” which may come in the form of mom & pop shops that charge 1 rmb a day to store your packages. Download Alibaba’s Cainiao (菜鸟) app to find these designated collection centers nearest you.

michael2015 (618 posts) • +1

Xmas brunch buffet (cheaper than standalone dinner for 2.5) at any 5 star international hotel. Make it an annual "special" event. Include the annual "group family photo".

dolphin (509 posts) • +1

i am buying a trophy for a special person for Xmas. And on it I am having “m.v.p. 2018” engraved on it. I expect at least a chuckle. And maybe even hopefully some appreciation for making a personalized gift and putting some out of the box thought into it. And maybe they will actually find it cool.

Personalized weird gifts are cool, I think. Practical stuff is good too. Buffets, etc... but once in a while you can get some weird thing that no one really needs, but is cute.

bilingualexpat (220 posts) • +1

@tiger

But the Chinese love the gambling aspect of drawing large raffle prizes at swanky 5-star hotel X'mas feasts, exorbitant entry fees notwithstanding. Thrill of winning holiday getaway villa packages, gift idea on its own merit.

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To piggyback off @dolphin's DIY gift idea for last-minute shoppers...

the annex across the street from NanYa (南亚) Shopping Mall's Starbucks features a bunch of DIY handicraft shops: from woodcrafting, leather satchel-making (w/ guidance from leathersmiths), jewelry assembling, to putty molding and oil/acrylic painting.

Encapsulating the Yuletide spirit sometimes entails the aggregate moments of joy. More than handing someone a gift card.

So with her company or without (for surprise), put on your craftsman's apron and get busy:

i.imgur.com/0navxOW.jpg

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Name: 玩物造志(南亚NEWMALL)
Map: www.amap.com/place/B0FFHG1JO0

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Also, HuffPo recently featured an inspirational, categorized gift-giving guide:

www.huffpost.com/[...]

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