December 16th, 2007

Here’s something I’ve noticed about xiaomaibu in Beijing: Those located on a main road are run by cheats. Either their stuff is too expensive, or they don’t give the refunds on empty bottles, or whatever, one way or another they’ll do everything they can to get an extra kuai or two out of you. Those located in housing estates, alleys, lanes, markets, or generally off main roads are good. They’ll give you the right price first time, they give you the refund when you return your empties, or the discount if you swap your empties.

Recently I found a xiaomaibu just down the little lane north of here who sells Snow. Well, Snow is definitely the best quality beer I’ve come across in China (excluding imports, of course). It doesn’t give you that Yanjing formaldehyde headache, and it is just that little bit cleaner than Tsingtao. So I bought four bottles from them the other day, and handed over a ten kuai note. I said nothing about the price, and was given two kuai change straight away. Excellent, I thought, this is totally bullshit free, and they’re charging the right price up front. I just swapped my empties this afternoon, handed over six kuai and asked if that was right, and was told, yep, that’s right. Right price (5 mao discount per bottle returned) first time, no bullshit. So I feel a little bad about ditching my people in the market, but they only sell Tsingtao, and I’d rather stick with the better quality, cleaner stuff if possible. And this new xiaomaibu is also closer.

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