Sunday, October 2, 2011


China has a reputation for producing knock offs. Fake iPhones, fake Gucci bags, fake baby food, you name it.. There's also a lot of fake alcohol. Even a 60 cent bottle of 40% baijiu can be fake. Shots of tequila from the bar taste like tequila but they don't pack the same punch. Unless you're in a swank spot, it's always safer to stick to beer.

The other night i felt like drinking scotch, which i haven't had in a long time. So i went to buy a bottle from an int'l grocery store, but Qianqian advised me that the Russian convenience store would be cheaper.

It wasn't, but the selection was better. So i was able to choose a bottle of Glenfiddich single malt scotch, which was about CAD $40. Fine. My dad will be in BJ before long, so I don't want to disappoint him with Johnny Walker Red Label.

Upon returning home, I poured a couple glasses, toasted w/ my brother, and enjoyed. Mm good. But not that good. Sometimes i really enjoy my drink and other times not. But really. This should've tasted better than that. It tasted ok, in fact, but definitely did not taste like 40%. I was disappointed. Q said i should take it back and graciously offered to accompany me.

We went down to the store w/ a glass in hand, and said, “It's fake. We don't want it. You try it. Can we get our money back please?”

“No. It's real.”

“No, it's not. I've drank this before. It's not the same.” (Although my brain was actually struggling to recall whatever Glenfiddich tasted like).

A supervisor came in. Telephone calls were made. One converstion included suspicious information such as “He' a foreigner. In his 20s. Maybe a student.” I realized I shouldn't have dressed so casually.

We were told that the bottle would be sent for a quality control check up. It could take a week or so before we were notified of the result.

It was turning into too much hassle. I suggested to Q that we forget it and split, (to which she commented I was being a nerd).

She told them said we'd handle it tonight or she'd call the police. She said to me, “You're 100% sure it's fake, so why should you be worried?” To myself I thought, “Only 85% sure, actually.”

So what could happen? They send it off for quality check. Somebody says, “Sorry it's real,” and that's the end of it. I was scared that my tastebuds were going to be put to the test.

Five minutes later, a full refund was silently slipped onto the counter, which we pocketed before slipping out.

Success! I wasn't stuck w/ a $40 bottle of mystery scotch. We had beat the system. Or rather, Q had. She was admittedly annoyed that I had considered ducking out, after I had dragged her into the situation. But in her mind, of COURSE we'd get the money back, from this store which was totally loaded with illegally imported and untaxed goods. Well. What would the foreigner know about how things work?

The lesson: don't buy booze (cheap OR expensive) from the sketchy Russian store. Or other sketchy establishments, for that matter.

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