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Even buying a movie ticket involves drama

We went to a movie today. At the theater, there was a guy standing to the side of the ticket counter. We asked for two tickets, and the person working there said the tickets were 100 kuai. Immediately, the guy standing beside us said that we could get the same tickets from him for only 75.

Because we have been in China long enough, we looked for the scam. The person behind the ticket counter appeared unperturbed by the guy’s offer. The guy assured us that they were real tickets, he just “happen to have” a bunch of extra tickets that he was trying to unload. The ticket counter person indicated that yes, the tickets were real.

So I gave the guy 75 kuai, the ticket counter person asked us where we wanted to sit (movies are assigned seating in China), we went in and watched the movie.

Later I looked at the ticket more carefully. It was a group purchase for a local car manufacturing company. The scam was that the guy got hold of a bunch of tickets for 25 kuai each, then sold them for 75. He made 50 kuai on the sale to us. We paid 25 kuai less than we would have if we bought the tickets directly from the theater. The theater already sold the tickets, so they technically didn’t lose any money. The money that they lost was the opportunity to sell tickets to me at full price.

We are still confused about this transaction. I don’t think that we were cheated, but the experience makes my brain itch a little bit.

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