Chinese Toilets and Niche Markets

There are many cultural differences between Chinese and Germans. Today I had to laugh when I went for the toilets at the Western furniture store IKEA. There was a queue in the lady’s washroom. But when a looked ahead I saw all the toilet doors on the right side and half of them on the left side were all open. Guess what? They did not use them because they were toilets with toilet bowls with seats. The 2 toilets they were waiting for were the squatting toilets. The toilet seat I wanted to use had footprints of dirty shoes on it. Somebody must have squatted on the seat. And that is not unusual in China. Normal toilets in China are the squatting ones having just a hole in the ground. Often in modern places they put up signs saying „no squatting on toilet seat“.

Another interesting thing was that when you walk through the aisles of the IKEA furniture pickup floor with some long packages on your cart that people would come up to you telling you that that will not fit into a taxi. For the very long packages I believe that is true. So these people were offering to drive us home and carry our stuff and they could even help build up some of the furniture. IKEA has a delivery service, but you have to pay for that. These people were all very friendly, not pushy or annoying, just offering their services in a nice way. So for us it was much more convenient (and cheaper) to discuss a good price with one of these drivers. These things just make life easy in China. You do not have to think about „oh if this does not fit into the taxi what do we do?“ as there will be somebody coming to you presenting a solution before you can think about it. The Chinese are very good at finding niche markets and doing good business.

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