I was a victim of a cartjacking

Not a carjacking, a cartjacking. Let me explain.

I went to Ikea today. About halfway through the store, with a half-dozen items in my cart, I got a little lost, so I decided to consult a map of the store. The map was right next to a busy part the store. In order to avoid being That Guy and having my cart block traffic, I very considerately parked my cart off in a side aisle, and walked over to the map.

Silly me: I abandoned my cart for more than ten seconds.

I figured out where I was and where I wanted to go, and turned back to get my cart.

My cart was gone.

I looked around, and spotted a some people pushing my cart down the aisle, putting their items into it. I figured that it was an honest mistake. Surely they will soon look into the cart, realize that it isn’t theirs, and return the cart to me, I thought to myself. So I stood where my cart was, with a bemused smile on my face, and waited for them to return my cart to me.

Silly me: I forgot that I was in China.

They did indeed realize that it wasn’t their cart, but instead of returning it to where they found it, they started to remove my items, and to dump them into a nearby basket! Then they wheeled off with my cart! I was so dumfounded, I almost didn’t have time to react and take a photo of their crime.

Caught in the act!

Cartjackers: caught in the act!

After retrieving my items, I thought about confronting the cartjackers, but then I figured that it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t become a diplomat so that I could fight with Chinese cart thieves. I have bigger fish to fry. I could carry my items to the checkout area.

Silly me: I forgot that I was buying ceramic bowls and glasses, and that I was in the middle of an Ikea.

My arms are very tired now.

Ordering lunch online is so “easy” in China!

We had a special group training day today, so we thought it would be convenient for us all to order lunch in and eat together. There were six of us in the group. I volunteered to coordinate the lunch orders. Easy, right?

I had the “great” idea to order from Subway. What could be easier than sandwiches, right?

After the pain of getting everyone’s order (turkey breast, 12-inch, whole wheat bread, lettuce, tomato, honey mustard dressing), then translating it into Chinese, it was time to place the order for the food. This would be the “easy” part.

I asked one of my LE Staff to call and place the order. I figured that way, we could avoid any phone drama.

The nice Subway people told the LE Staff that they couldn’t take the order over the phone, we had to do it online. It would be easier that way, they said.

They actually said that.

We found the website, and then saw on the home page that there was actually an iPhone app that was recommended.

Turned on my phone, downloaded the app. This was going to be easy!

Wrong app.

Looked for the right app.

While I was looking, the LE Staff figured out that she could place the order on the website after all. Easy!

So I stopped downloading the app.

Then there was a problem using the website.

So I started to download the app again.

This was getting easier and easier.

Then she figured out the website. We filled out the order. But we couldn’t put in the details (bread, toppings, etc). So we left a note in the comments box that we would call to add the details.

Hit the submit button.


Then I got a text message from Subway: my order was cancelled.

Called the store again, asking what was going on. Oh yeah, they said. You’re out of our delivery area.

Can we go pick up the order?

No, you can’t, they replied. The order was cancelled, remember?

So I went out and bought Baozi for everyone.

Much easier.

Not Subway, but definitely easier!

Not Subway, but definitely easier!

Out of Hybernation

Spring must be here. I had my first sighting of the famous Power Walkers Of Shenyang yesterday!

You can see this all over the city. The leader carries a boom box and sets the pace. Everyone follows in paramilitary formation. You can see it in the early morning or evening. This sighting was at about 6:30 last night.

It’s probably a healthy exercise, but it’s a typically Chinese way to exercise (in a group, in formation, loud music). The best part of this sighting was that the song they chose to play was NOT “little apple.”

In Michigan, I’d get excited about seeing the first robin. In Shenyang, it’s this.


People Mountain, People Sea

That’s a Chinese saying for “lot of people:” 人山人海. I never appreciated the saying until I came to China. Now I know why they have that saying. There are a lot of people in China.

Here’s a subway junction in Shenyang, on a Sunday afternoon, where the two subway lines meet. The people just keep coming.

People mountain, people sea.