Condom highly sought after as gift for Chinese New Year
From New Express Daily
Right before Chinese New Year, a.k.a Spring Festival (tomorrow), shopping centers and supermarkets have geared up for people’s shopping spree. Condoms have been lined up alongside with other merchandise, such as health products and electric appliances, as red-hot New Year gifts and have found their way into people’s shopping carts. Some stores have even waged a war of promotion against one another on condoms.
Shipai village in Guangzhou of Guangdong Province has a large population of migrant workers. As non-native workers have returned to their hometown for the Chinese New Year, many small local businesses have seen a plunge in store traffic. However, sex shops are in full flourish. “It’s always like this at the end of the lunar year. We have a much larger turnover than usual,” Mr. Li runs a sex shop no bigger than 10 square meters (110 square feet) in Shipai Village. Ordinarily the number of visitors is by no means impressive. But at this time of year the little store is always packed. Mr. Li said it’s because many young men are out making a living by themselves and are reunited with their wives or girlfriends only during the New Year. Condoms that are rarely used throughout the year now sell like hot cakes for people’s quality time.
During the 10 minutes the reporter stayed in-store, six people came to Mr. Li for condoms, and four of them are young men ready to leave for home. “I simply need to use it. No other reason,” one young said tersely and soon left with two packs. “He was being shy. Maybe it’s his first time to buy (condom),” Mr. Li said. In the past two days, sex shops may be the only businesses that are seeing brisk trade besides shopping centers and supermarkets. “We make about 1,000 yuan (US$150) every day these days. Much better than usual.”
Unlike in sex shops, at supermarkets, condoms and other adult products are racked close to checkouts and therefore are more visible. Yesterday at a supermarket in Guangzhou, many customers coyly grabbed several packs right before check out and left quickly. Liu, who works in a software company, was one of them. He said he and several of his colleagues, all of whom are quite young, are leaving with on the day before the New Year (today) for their own hometowns. “We have a tradition in our department, which is giving one another condoms as New Year gifts.” The person in charge at the supermarket said many white-collar workers buy condoms in large quantities for Spring Festival shopping. In order not to let go the golden opportunity, they’ve kick-started “Buy 1 Get 1” promotion.
A sexology in Guangzhou said that compared with the inland, competition in coastal regions is more intense and stressful. Many migrant workers fight and live in boomtowns separated from their spouses, which poses a challenge to their marriages. As a result, the seven-day holiday for the Spring Festival has become the best “lubricant” to reduce family frictions and make things smooth for couples. “Don’t slight the seven days. If handled improperly, marriage can easily fall apart,” the expert says.