Thursday, October 31, 2013

Methinks They Do Protest Too Much

I am having difficulty with this story from the SCuMPost. Headlined "Police with shields block mainland Chinese from Causeway Bay firm after rip-off claims", at first sight it looks like either a standard Hong Kong rip-off or a tale of aggressive and lawless Mainlanders. Which is it? Or is it neither, or both?
DCHL, a well-established group purveying the usual over-priced "luxury" wares but which recently got some publicity for alleged infringement of the trademarks of a European company whose goods it had previously distributed, is accused of ... err ... overcharging Mainlanders for so-called luxury goods. Where it gets complicated is that it is not just a case of charging a lot of money for something shiny or with extra diamonds stuck onto it, as every "luxury" brand seems to do nowadays in order to satisfy PRC perceptions of what is tasteful. The gullible tat-buyers, from Guangdong and Hunan provinces, actually wanted to pass the stuff on to their compatriots. In other words, they wanted to make a turn by charging Mainlanders for so-called luxury goods. Does the expression "hoist by one's own petard" come to mind?
Imagine their surprise when they found out that the French-sounding brand names, such as ED Pinaud, that they had assumed were well known because, well, just because they sounded French, actually just sounded French. And so they exercised their democratic right, outside the Mainland, to protest.
But what are they really protesting about? Yes, they are protesting that they didn't do their research and so paid more for something than it was worth. Goodness, if only I could use that argument to get back all the money I spent on second hand cars in my youth!
10bfd9736bc0277123c6102b81ff0d70.jpgBut they are also protesting because they, citizens and residents of the Mainland where pyramid selling is illegal, were able in Hong Kong to buy goods for the purpose of engaging in pyramid selling. You see, it is Hong Kong's fault that they had the opportunity to break their own laws at the same time as buying stuff without knowing what they were buying. Life is so unfair.
Their logic seems to extend also to their maths. One of the protestors said that the group of 150 had lost from $80k to $3m per person, "adding up to" HK$10 million between them.
OK, take out the biggest loss of $3m, leaving $7m between the remaining 149. That's an average of $47k, little more than half of the lowest claimed loss. And the losses claimed are based on the prices a pawnbroker was prepared to pay them. Yes, if I wanted a fair value put on something, a pawnbroker is exactly who I'd go and see. Or perhaps pawnbrokers were these gullible buyers' target market?
(Mind you, that one in pink looks quite doable.)
But look on the bright side, suckers. Think how much Chinese import duty and VAT you will save on these goods. (You were going to declare them, weren't you?) Not to mention the lower IIT you will pay. And at least ED Pinaud is a world famous brand now!


  1. Nice one. Perhaps the police should have stood back and let the two sides have a go at each other. Neither side sounds particularly savoury.

  2. "........Their logic seems to extend also to their maths......"

    They are using "Rhetorical Maths". The common rules do not apply. And ED Pinaud is French and is famous, sort of.


    The Queen's English on that page is rather 'French'.

    A French Columnist reacting to his compatriots being called "Cheese-eating, surrender monkeys" in the lead-up to the Iraq War of 2003:
    "After wallowing for eons as tailless amphibians, it's nice to see that we are at least now counted among the anthropoids."
    Funny guy!