Invitations for Coffee in Beijing
Replies: 17 - Last Post: Jan 30, 2012 8:48 PM Last Post By: PangJun
Jan 29, 2012 10:15 PM
Invitations for Coffee in BeijingI recently spent a couple of pleasant days in Beijing taking in the sights and it sure was a wonderful stay. Just one question tough...
On no less than 10 occasions during my short stay in Beijing, (particularly in the Tiananmen / Wanfujing / Forbidden City areas) I was approached by a number of youth, who would initiate a conversation in English, identify themselves as students or domestic tourists, and then invite me to join them for a cup of coffee. At first I found it flattering, then strange, then finally suspicious and scared that perhaps I was being set up, for I don't know what....
Has anyone else experienced this....and what exactly is the invite for. I hate to think it was at best to a Time Share Presentation and at worst a mugging of sort.
Any idea on what this is all about, or am I just being paranoid and those were really just friendly invitations to a cup of coffee
Jan 29, 2012 10:34 PM
Jan 29, 2012 10:37 PM
Jan 29, 2012 10:51 PM
3They are most likely trying to scam you. It works like this:
Scam artist finds a lonely looking tourist near a tourist attraction, makes him feel comfortable and relieved by talking to him in English and inviting him to tea/coffee. Flattered tourist accepts and is led to a tea shop associated with the scam artist. Scam artist orders a bunch of tea for the tourist and they drink and chat. Then the bill comes and it is 10x what it should be. The tourist is pressured to pay for it.
Jan 30, 2012 3:44 AM
Jan 30, 2012 4:13 AM
5Sounds like a variation of the venerable Beijing Tea Scam. I'm guessing if you had answered "Yes" to the cup of coffee, the two English speaking girls would have said, "Oh, actually lets have tea instead. It's more traditional and I know a great place just around the corner." These girls work on commission.
Google "Beijing Tea Scam" for more.
Jan 30, 2012 5:01 AM
6As long as you choose the coffee shop - lots of Starbucks in Beijing, then you should be ok. But I agree with the others - "students or domestic tourists" being friendly and asking you to go for a drink somewhere does sound like a new face on one of the old scams.
Jan 30, 2012 8:01 AM
Jan 30, 2012 8:39 AM
Jan 30, 2012 2:07 PM
Jan 30, 2012 3:30 PM
10889 is right that it isn't always a scam. When you've been in China long enough, it gets easier to tell what is a scam. Signs it's probably a scam:
1. You are near a major tourist attraction.
2. You are invited to tea/coffee/beer/art show within the first few minutes of talking.
3. There's no obvious reason the people should have approached you instead of approaching someone else.
In smaller towns, you might be one of the only foreigners, or might look lost, and a friendly local person will genuinely want to help you or practice their English with you. You will miss out if you avoid all contact with locals for fear of being cheated, but it's best to always have your guard up, especially if someone else approaches you. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Jan 30, 2012 3:45 PM
Jan 30, 2012 3:53 PM
12In Chinese parks and other public places away from the main tourist areas, I have had number of interesting and worthwhile conversations with Chinese who initiated the conversation. But they never suggested going somewhere else, no matter how long we talked, and they were never in a group. I've encountered plenty of apparent scammers, too; they always suggest going somewhere almost immediately.
Jan 30, 2012 4:03 PM
13"But they never suggested going somewhere else, no matter how long we talked . . . " Yes, because by Chinese social custom that could be regarded as an invitation, and by Chinese social custom the person extending the invitation picks up the tab. The scammers, of course, aren't bound by social custom.
Jan 30, 2012 5:20 PM
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