Yesterday afternoon, the above college freshman in Changsha, Hunan province, handed out printed advertisements--a form of street marketing common in Chinese cities. During this first day at her new part-time job she was surprised to discover the challenges in convincing people to take a small piece of paper. She had already noticed, though, that if she could point out the coupon included in the advertisement, people were more likely to accept it.
For working at the job from 2 to 6 p.m. she could earn 40 yuan RMB. If she worked from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. she could earn a total of 50 yuan RMB. She thought the proportionally small increase in pay for doubling her working hours made no sense, so it was an easy choice to decline working all day. But working for about US $1.60 per hour during the afternoon made perfect sense to her, and she happily accepted the opportunity.
This brief account lightly touches on some themes that earlier appeared here in a series of posts including the story of a young Chinese woman's first payday in Shanghai. I will soon return to those themes to address some of the recent media attention and commentary on the conditions faced by China's factory workers.