Getting Your Money’s Worth
If you spend even just a few days or a week in Taiwan, there are a few things that you will probably do. If you are in Taipei, you will most likely visit Taipei 101, even of you don't make it to the top. And wherever you go in Taiwan, I'd be surprised if you don't visit a night market. But the one thing I can guarantee is that you WILL visit at least one 7-11 during your stay.
7-11 practically runs the island, and there are so many services offered at each one of their bazillion locations that really set the chain aside from the other big players in the convenience store biàn lì shāng diàn 便利商店 biz, such as Family Mart quán jiā 全家, Hi-LIfe lái ĕr fù 萊爾富, and OK Mart. You can pay your bills, taxes, order items online or mail packages, print, scan and fax your documents, drop off your dry-cleaning, book an HSR(high-speed rail) ticket or even a domestic flight. Heck, they even have a phone and internet service! Just try doing any of that in your local 7-11 back in the states! Though you can't gas-up your car like you could in the states, but I won't hold it against them, will you?
There are often special promotions and discount prices on items in the store, and you can collect stickers when you make a purchase of a certain value and save them towards half-priced, or even free items! But I feel that a lot of foreigners will miss out on these deals, so today I wanted to bring one of them to your attention.
(Beverages with a certain price sticker pair up with food items, like bread or sandwiches with the same sticker. It's cheaper to buy them together as a set.)
This is just one example of a possible deal you could take advantage of. Another common one are discounts when you buy two of the same type of drink. The staff may ask you to pull a number out of a box to get your discount price (the largest discount is 1NT!), or the discount could be automatically deducted.
Another useful thing to know is that discount percentages are written opposite from the way we write them in English. Where we say "20% off" they say "8 zhé 折", but they are the same thing. The difference is while we advertise the percentage that you get discounted, they advertise the percentage you pay after the discount. So if you ever see a sign that says "79折", for example, it means that the item is 21% off, not 79% off!
I hope you found this article useful, now go and get your money's worth!
Chinese phrases of the day:
折= discount (by percentage)
便利商店= convenience store(s)