6/12/2011

North Face's Face

The occasional person asks me why I blog. The main point is to put up posts about Taiwan's history, as I feel it is misrepresented at times as well as under-represented. There also seems to be an effort in the media to color Taiwan as something that is Chinese. I guess I am not the only person in Taiwan that finds this problematic. The reason I can't get on board is I come from the US, via Canada, and I don't see myself as Chinese in any way. There are a couple of other concepts that inspire me: 1.) I'm interested in writing about the local history of the places I visit in Taiwan. This could mean simply translating something a taxi driver has told me. Or maybe I'll hit the books to create something bigger. 2.) I'm deeply interested in amusing myself. The next tidbit falls into the latter category. I think I'll get my kicks running over something annoying with the hope of a personal resolution. I suppose I'm being petty, but here goes anyway. It's about the shitty customer service I received at a store called North Face. Ever heard of these guys? 

My wife, daughter and I were killing time and working up an appetite for dinner this afternoon in Gongguan (公館). We wandered into the North Face store on Roosevelt and I saw a satchel that was me. After asking for, and getting, the customary 10 percent discount on the fixed price (NT$3800 = US$125ish), I asked the salesman where the garbage can was. I had my daughter's empty yogurt bottle in my left and an equally light Asahi can in the right. I wanted to inspect the cool pockets of the satchel, try it on, etc., but couldn't because my hands were full. This is where the b.s. started. The salesman said: "We don't have a garbage can. You'll have to go out to the street to find one."

"How do you throw things away if you don't have a garbage?" I asked, looking around.

"Oh? Well, we don't provide this service for our customers," was the reply.

A couple moments later, after his words had sunk in and I had realized what I was dealing with, I said, "And I was just about to buy a bag from you." 

"I'm sorry. There is nothing I can do -- mei ban fa (沒辦法)!" Actually, the salesman just shrugged me off. He couldn't care less.

To make a long story short, I didn't get the bag. The salesman had made his point; he was King and we were pretty lucky to be admitted to his store. In Taipei, the store owner is quite often King. 

6/06/2011

Monkey Business



I took this video on my iPhone near my office the other day, on the corner of Bade (八德) and Dunhua (敦化). There were some officials out directing traffic. When I asked them what was up, they ignored me. From what I can make of it, they were special forces practicing rappelling head-first down a Taipei building. The guy on the right (far side) was having a hard time of it too. He did a pretty mean face plant in going over the ledge. Then he froze for several moments before making his descent. Both guys made it in the end and seemed pretty exhilarated upon putting boots to solid ground.

*****
On a different note, I'm plugging a video made by a fantasy baseball compatriot. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/pcowsill#p/f/39/Y-IJkT5XCl0