Friday, September 21, 2012

A-Z Kids

Here's a weird one that really left us scratching our heads. I don't think it was a language barrier that led to the situation I am about to tell you about. Perhaps it was some kind of cultural difference we had no obvious way of anticipating. Anyways, you be the judge...

Desi had this great idea to meet up with friends who have small children at this place called A-Z Kids. The notion was quite simple...The four of us could see what a Chinese-style indoor kiddie play center looks like, and our friends would have an afternoon out. Win, win...right?

Well, first off, A-Z Kids is located way out in Shunyi, way out in the outskirts of Beijing where all of the expat villa complexes suddenly appear out of otherwise rural landscapes. It would take us some time and effort just getting there, especially because A-Z Kids is in a strip mall far beyond walking distance from the nearest metro station. No matter, we were able to take the subway as close as we could, and then get a driver to take us the rest of the way.

Now, as you might imagine, Desi did her homework before we left. This means that she had Z and I call the place up in advance to verify their precise location and operating hours.

So you can imagine Desi's surprise and anger when, upon getting out of the cab, we walked up to the door and were greeted with a sign announcing that A-Z Kids is...closed for summer vacation.

WHAT!!!???

OK, several questions are obviously begged here.

What was the phone number listed as the official A-Z Kids contact? Obviously, Z and I did not call a land line inside of the place, as it was all dark and shut tight. Was it an owner's/employee's cell phone?

Why did the person on the other end not tell us that A-Z Kids was closed for summer vacation? Sure, neither Z nor I asked this exact question, but wouldn't it strike you as obvious to alert potential customers, who are inquiring in real time about your hours of operation, that you are closed during this time of year?

Just when we think we've experienced it all...

~Steve

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