In the previous article, I was brought to a beauty store by an HQB beauty girl on the street after informing me about a “free” massage service. And now I have finished the service and all the beauty staff was waiting for me to pay for the “free “service.

I was trapped. As I said life is trouble itself, just like the situation I am facing in front of me.

I said I don’t have money.

“Oh okay. You can transfer on WeChat or Alipay or bank account.”

I said” I am all out. I am in that monthly-empty tribe (月光族). And plus you said it’s free. Why would I care if I have money for this.”

“But you must have something, right dear(亲)?” said Coco. 

I said “Fine, if you insist. Let me call a friend first. He should be able to help.”

They start to look a little shocked and anxious.

I picked up my phone, pretended that I was dialing, and pretended to talk on the phone, “Hey, Mike. I am at a beauty store here in HQB and I don’t have money to pay when these people told me it was free. Can you come over here to help me out? I owe you, man.”, “Oh, you can’t come over? Ok, I will go find you.”

Coco came up and said “I can go with you. :)” 

Sneaky. She just won’t give up.

I said “Cool. He is near a police station in HQB. You're welcome to join me.”

Coco looked bit hesitated and said “Okay, I will come later. “

I started walking out of the store with my phone in hand pretending to call “Mike” again, then I walked faster, then I ran as fast as I could. As I rushed out of the old mall and see the sun again I looked back in the building. Coco was never after me again. I finally got out of this trap.

It can be an exciting experience but quite nerve-wracking as well. They could have beaten me up. 

                          

These HQB girls are in a beauty industry pyramid sale. The more people they get, the more commission they gain. They will use almost any means to obtain this goal. Below might be some useful information about this kind of business:

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What are they?

 

They are salespersons in beauty industries representing different stores.

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How do they work?

 

Some called this the Beauty Business Trap (美容业陷阱). They will try to sell you crazy marked up products on a “discount” through a free service at the beginning. For example, their cream might be only 2 RMB wholesale price. But they packaged it in a counterfeit bag and marked it up 200% or more to RMB 200 or higher to sell. When selling, they will use the “discount” trick to give a psychological comfort to the customers to trick them into buying it.

Their marketing strategies on customers and even their own sales and staff are mostly brainwashed, physiological, and emotional, by continually talking about the “quality” of the products and services in order to make people believe in them. Usually their team of “experts” lack of professional experience.

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Some beauty stores will have Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), where the salespeople are paid little to no base salary and live only on commission from the number of sales they make. Sometimes they require salespeople to pay an “entrance fee” to become part of the company’s sales team for books, lecture, and a “certificate” to be “qualified” to sell their products. MLM used to encourage people to hold onto the belief that they will achieve large returns at the end, while statistically showed that it is mostly losing money.

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In 1998, China has issued “Circular of the State Council Concerning the Banning of Operational Activities of Pyramid Sales” (GuoFa [1998] No.10) to fully banned MLM within the country. 

                         

Knowing who they are and what they do is NOT enough to prepare you in a situation where you need to deal with these people. Check out the next articles for STRATEGIES to get yourself out of the trap!