Saving face or flat out lying??

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Saving face or flat out lying??

Postby kjmillig » 18 May 2012, 08:44

I understand the concept of "saving face", but how often does it boil down to flat out lying in order to make a buck or just because someone doesn't want to be bothered? :bluemad:
Recent examples:
From my (former) mechanic: Oh, lot's of scooters run badly in the rain. It's OK. It'll run good when it's dry. :fume:
From the outdoor gear shop: (me) Are this jacket and pants waterproof? (sales girl looking at the tag) Oh yes. Very water proof. Very good quality. (note: as I type I have wet clothes from this morning's commute).
Bike shop: (me) Can I get these cycling gloves in a different color? ( them) No, for XL we only have red in the store. (as I see every other size in 3 colors)
Another scooter shop: (my daughter's friend) Her scooter broke down. Can you get it to run please? (them, after taking it 1/2 apart) Sure, it needs $2000 worth of parts. And you don't need this air filter thing. Lets just throw that away. (end result was $300 to replace the spark plug and wire)
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Re: Saving face or flat out lying??

Postby tommy525 » 18 May 2012, 08:52

Could be flat out lying (you are listening to a sales person whos job is to tell you what you want to hear) or ignorance of the truth (like a mechanic that actually doesnt know what the problem is).

Now im not the last word on mens suits and therefore when i walked into Macy's some months ago (not intending to buy anything) i really ran into a salesman ! Or rather a sales lady. She got me out of there with a suit from Tommy Hilfiger and a blazer from Macy's own club house brand for 350 out the door. I saved a reported 400 bucks !

The tommy suit is nice and I like it. But the blazer has sleeves that are too long. I wanted to buy it and was looking for expert opinion and she said it was fine. Well it was not fine. The sleeves are like 2 inches too long and i looked like an ape !

Well 28 dollars later at a tailors to get them shortened to a proper length they now fit fine.

The sales lady didnt do her job professionally enough and advise me correctly that the sleeves were too long > I liked the jacket and she sold it to me, just like a run of the mill salesman would do. But a pro wouldve done better.

She shouldve been more pro and suggested a better fitting jacket (and bumped me up a notch price wise, i wouldve gone for it).

Now i may still look like an ape wearing it, but at least I don't FEEL like an ape :)

So long story short (impossible for me) BUYER BEWARE for everything you do. For any product or any service. GEt a second opinion. REad up on what you need and the product reviews, etc.
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Re: Saving face or flat out lying??

Postby Tempo Gain » 18 May 2012, 11:50

Think of it as another language, or a code.

kjmillig wrote:From my (former) mechanic: Oh, lot's of scooters run badly in the rain. It's OK. It'll run good when it's dry. :fume:


Translation: I don't have the time to track down the electrical fault.

From the outdoor gear shop: (me) Are this jacket and pants waterproof? (sales girl looking at the tag) Oh yes. Very water proof. Very good quality. (note: as I type I have wet clothes from this morning's commute).


This is a bit different. Many salespeople here will lie through their teeth with a completely straight face to make a sale. Buyer beware. Though would any clothes hold up to a commute I guess in the rain, short of rainwear?

Bike shop: (me) Can I get these cycling gloves in a different color? ( them) No, for XL we only have red in the store. (as I see every other size in 3 colors)


XL is usually understocked with limited colors here. No surprise.

Another scooter shop: (my daughter's friend) Her scooter broke down. Can you get it to run please? (them, after taking it 1/2 apart) Sure, it needs $2000 worth of parts. And you don't need this air filter thing. Lets just throw that away. (end result was $300 to replace the spark plug and wire)


Repairmen :)

Well only the first example held up to my "code" analysis.
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Re: Saving face or flat out lying??

Postby Teddoman » 18 May 2012, 12:03

kjmillig wrote:From the outdoor gear shop: (me) Are this jacket and pants waterproof? (sales girl looking at the tag) Oh yes. Very water proof. Very good quality. (note: as I type I have wet clothes from this morning's commute).

Def not saving face.

A westerner might be more precise, maybe because we're more used to precise terminology in English generally, or because there are more specific meanings for terms like "waterproof" vs "water repellant" vs "just a wind breaker with no waterproofing" in English.

I think of it more as the least precise version of plausible that's convenient to them. Since they have no incentive to think hard about your question, they just give you an easy answer into which they've obviously not put any thought. So I usually ignore the first answer because I know they're just not bothering to really think about my question and I grill them some more.

This happens to me when I ask people for translations in Mandarin. Some random word pops out of their mouth, which they assure me is the translation, and they're ready to move on to the next topic because they simply have no investment in me having a proper translation. But their initial translation never survives further grilling. When I finally beat it into their head what I'm talking about, they give me their final answer. Which still might not be right.
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Re: Saving face or flat out lying??

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 18 May 2012, 12:23

tommy: I is finkin' you look like vis now. Is I right? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_G

Anyway, these people are all salespeople. You have to work out the incentives involved. In the case of the people just being employees, they're probably not on a commission, though maybe they are. In the case of people who are not on a commission, this boils down to them having no incentive to work any harder than to not lose their jobs. Any extra time they spend dealing with you is less time they have for chatting with their colleagues, updating their Facebook page, etc. This is not a phenomenon specific to Taiwanese salespeople. When they don't have a boss breathing down their necks or a commission, they tend to be lazy bastards simply because anyone who tends to have a better attitude to customer relations is either in another field entirely or is on a commission.

In the case of people who do have a financial incentive, it may simply be that they get away with providing poor service or ripping people off when dealing with the general Taiwanese public, so that's just how they do things. There is a lot of short-term thinking in many businesses, and not just in Taiwan.

In either case, people only do what's expected of them and what they get rewarded for doing. I tell people if they're behaving like dicks, and/or I take my custom elsewhere. That is, sometimes, I tell them I'm not happy and give them another chance, sometimes I tell them I'm not happy and don't, and sometimes, I just leave without telling them. Businesses that have their acts together tend to get a very loyal repeat customer in the form of me.
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Re: Saving face or flat out lying??

Postby Northcoast Surfer » 18 May 2012, 12:31

Taiwanese lying about everything is definitely not a new phenomenon and has been discussed many times over the years. I submit three past threads for your reading enjoyment and education. Taiwan, the land of no integrity, even when telling the truth is no big deal!

Taiwanese--Lying with a straight face - DECEMBER 2008

Are all businesspersons inherently dishonest? - JUNE 2005

The Face Thread - APRIL 2002
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Re: Saving face or flat out lying??

Postby PigBloodCake » 18 May 2012, 13:56

tommy525 wrote:Could be flat out lying (you are listening to a sales person whos job is to tell you what you want to hear) or ignorance of the truth (like a mechanic that actually doesnt know what the problem is).

Now im not the last word on mens suits and therefore when i walked into Macy's some months ago (not intending to buy anything) i really ran into a salesman ! Or rather a sales lady. She got me out of there with a suit from Tommy Hilfiger and a blazer from Macy's own club house brand for 350 out the door. I saved a reported 400 bucks !

The tommy suit is nice and I like it. But the blazer has sleeves that are too long. I wanted to buy it and was looking for expert opinion and she said it was fine. Well it was not fine. The sleeves are like 2 inches too long and i looked like an ape !

Well 28 dollars later at a tailors to get them shortened to a proper length they now fit fine.

The sales lady didnt do her job professionally enough and advise me correctly that the sleeves were too long > I liked the jacket and she sold it to me, just like a run of the mill salesman would do. But a pro wouldve done better.

She shouldve been more pro and suggested a better fitting jacket (and bumped me up a notch price wise, i wouldve gone for it).

Now i may still look like an ape wearing it, but at least I don't FEEL like an ape :)

So long story short (impossible for me) BUYER BEWARE for everything you do. For any product or any service. GEt a second opinion. REad up on what you need and the product reviews, etc.


Dude, she's making a bit more than Cali's minimum wage working at Macy's. Whaddya expect?

Would you like cheese with that?
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Re: Saving face or flat out lying??

Postby formosaobama » 18 May 2012, 14:14

I was keeping my wife company on a Saturday when she went into work to finish up something. I noticed a couple of young boys chasing each other, opening doors and carrying around boxes, all the while making a loud ruckus. After a while it became obvious that there was nobody supervising them and they weren't going to stop with their crap, I went out and asked them to be quiet. They ignored me. Then my wife went and asked them who their mother was. They ignored her, but ran off and were out of earshot. About ten minutes later, they were back, carrying on like before. So this time I approached them and told them to shut up. They ignored me and continued their yapping, sticking their fingers into an industrial grade paper shredder. I raised my voice, thinking they were so preoccupied with getting those little strips of paper out, they didn't hear me. Didn't work. So I yelled ("BE QUIET!!!") as loud as I could, which finally got their attention. Then my wife and another woman whom I assumed was their mother ran up to us. My wife explained to the woman what they'd been doing, they boys feigned innocence and she lead them away.

15 minutes later, they were back. I remarked to my wife what a negligent mother they have and she said that's not their mother. Their mother was there for a conference and had asked her to keep an eye on her boys. I said that's a pretty terrible babysitter...well beyond "chabaduo" but my wife didn't seem that surprised or outraged by it. She said the woman's job was to sit at a desk and tell visitors what room that conference was at. But she agreed to watch them, I protested, that means she accepted responsibility! My wife said she probably didn't see it that way because the mother didn't pay her and they weren't close friends.

So, the woman who was trusted with keeping a stranger's children out of trouble may have saved face by agreeing to something she didn't feel like doing. The mother may have saved face by entrusting her children to "someone" before going off to her conference. The boys saved face by ignoring people who were telling them to stop misbehaving. I lost face by yelling.

Under this "face" system, we should have handled it by closing our office door and locking it so the kids couldn't barge in and run off with things. Out of sight, out of mind. Now if they had hurt themselves in their unsupervised rampage, it would have been attributed to "bad luck" and maybe addressed by visiting an especially "li hai" temple or burning ghost money.
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Re: Saving face or flat out lying??

Postby finley » 18 May 2012, 15:04

To be honest, any of the stuff the OP mentions (or formosaobama's story) would happen regularly back in the UK.

Salespeople never give a shit as long as they make the sale. Mechanics will always rip off a girl who doesn't know anything about machines. Bad parents and retarded kids are everywhere. I don't think "face" really comes into it.
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Re: Saving face or flat out lying??

Postby mike029 » 20 May 2012, 02:13

finley wrote:To be honest, any of the stuff the OP mentions (or formosaobama's story) would happen regularly back in the UK.

Salespeople never give a shit as long as they make the sale. Mechanics will always rip off a girl who doesn't know anything about machines. Bad parents and retarded kids are everywhere. I don't think "face" really comes into it.


Agreed. Especially with mechanics. Evil the world over.

The ONLY scooter mechanic I trust is at the base of Chongyang bridge in Shilin on the north side of the road next to the LED shop. I crashed my bike (after a Taike cut me off and jammed on his brakes) and messed up the front steering column and the front tire was jammed. Mechanic 1: $4k. Mechanic 2 (across the street and watched me walk over): also $4k. Guy that I trust, quoted me $1.4k then afterwards told me he found the part in the back of his shop from a junk scooter and it was only $800. He also sent his worker down the street with a handtruck to get my scooter, AND he told me he doesn't give a shit about mianzi and likes to run a fair business, that's why he is so busy--people respect him. He was explaining to me how he likes to use second hand parts and just admit to the customer they are second hand parts, and for scooters, most people just want "keyi qi jiu haole", so he fixes it up cheap. I appreciated his honesty and quick repair, and I don't begrudge anyone money for a service as long as I don't feel ripped off. I've been going to him ever since. Is there a thread to add approved mechanics?
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