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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Target and Chinese Cultural non-education

Target would be wise to have some cultural sensitivity in their pricing. I was in Target last night looking with my wife for a last minute item for our Thanksgiving Feast. And on impulse bought my daughter a DVD she had been asking for. I hesitated, because the price ended in double 44, the video was priced at $9.44 for Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (Interesting differences with the 1971 version I grew up with). Having that double 4 in the price, since the number 4 has a similar sound as death is unlucky in the Chinese Language in Mandarin, and even in the Cantonese Dialect. So Target is selling videos with a price that says double death or unlucky per Chinese Superstition. The reason they were doing this is local supermarkets were selling video's at $9.99 I am sure. Japanese has the same issue with the number 4. Some buildings in Asian Countries even skip the number and have floors 1235 etc. Just as some buildings in the US don't have a 13th floor. It's also harder to sell a house with a number 4 in it to people who have this belief. There was even a study out of UCSD saying more ethnic Chinese and Japanese had heart attacks in the fourth month.

I don't know if I believe in that, but it would have been nice if the price was $9.38 or at least $9.50. Not that I blame the issue I had with the sink last night, or with the pour turkey today on that, But I am not buying any more video's at that price - why chance it :-)

Since I live in a heavily Chinese area, it was a bit surprising on Target's pricing. I am sure they don't use 3 6's when pricing. Or may be they do. I think the local Walmart was ending some of the prices in 88. I know the local auto dealers and home sellers caught on to this finally a couple of years ago. I should re-phrase this, the successful ones have since it shows their cultural sensitivity in an area that has a large amount of people that believe in this. Cruise around are area and look at the license plates of Mercedes driven by Asians, you will often see a lot of 8's because that means Wealthy (and Father). Another example of this is phone numbers. ChildBook is guilty of this with our phone number of 909-595-8882 (my wife is great at getting the right numbers, the number for our first apartment years ago after we moved went to a bank). Banks are interested in being wealthy.

I also remember being in a hospital with my wife when my daughter was born, and the hospital staff wanted to give us a room with the number 4 in it. Luckily we managed to change the room. I hope things have improved since then. For any organization providing goods and/or services to a community that his heavily Chinese, this type of knowledge should be basic.

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