Friday, September 09, 2005

So Trusting!

Here's something that probably would never happen in China:

I'm browsing around craigslist again and see an FM transmitter for the iPod. My car doesn't have a tape deck (only a CD) so I've always considered this as a solution but always found it expensive ($30+). I have a CD burner so why don't I just burn CDs for those long trips? I've also heard lots of bad reviews about sound quality from these transmitters but I drive a convertible with the top down most of the time so audiophile quality sound is not what I'm looking for. Still, 4GB of music is tempting so when I saw a $15 transmitter on craigslist, I praised craigslist, made the usual sacrifice of the head of a pig wrapped in USB cables, and emailed the seller right away.

30 minutes later. Score! It's mine! Remind myself: "firewire cables next time!"

I reply with a suggested time for the illicit transaction but it seems the seller is busy the next two days. The only time slot he has free is Friday between 4:30 and 5:00. "I'll be busy slaughtering pigs for the sacrifice!" I think to myself so that's out. So the seller suggests (and this is the part that wouldn't happen in China) that he leave the FM transmitter outside his house and that I can come and pick it up. The plan is I go to his house, drop about .0336 ounces of gold (at today's market prices) into an envelope and slip it under his door, kill the cop on the stakeout, dispose of his body, and walk away with the transmitter.

What if somebody else takes it before I get there? What if I take it and claim that somebody else must have taken it? I wouldn't do such a thing and even if I did, the seller would be out $15 until such time as he hires the mafia to go after my knee caps (he does have my number), in which case he'd be out a favor, I'd be out some kneecaps and mobility, and nobody would be happy. Except for the mafia, those bastards.

So the moral of the story? People in America are pretty trusting (yay). People in China can't afford to be (oh well). And never get the mafia to resolve your issues(those irrefusible bastards).


Shryh said...

Not necessarily. I think it depends on the landscape (city, suburb or village) and socioeconomic levels (rich, poor, dead) rather than the country or culture. =)

Me said...

I agree with that. Though in general, I find the average American to be more trusting and honest [read also: naive] than the average Chinese, if there can be such a thing in either cases. I'm being slightly exaggerated in the post there but the difference is significant enough for me to notice every time I'm back from China. Even my relatives in China make fun of my sometimes "naive" American style thinking =P

Shryh said...

I think this has to do with personal space or the lack thereof in Chinese cities, really. Combined with crowded living conditions, it makes sense to be suspicious of other people when you have something that they don't possess. >)