But unlike e-shopping, these folks turn up in person. A summary:
Tuangou, roughly translated into group purchasing, is basically a smart mob who arrange the meet up over the internet and show up at a retailer at a specific time and use their number to negotiate a discount with the retailer. In the story, a Tuangou group of 500 show up in Gomei (largest home electronic retailer in China) at 4pm on June 16th and negotiate a 10 ~ 30% discount for the group. Gomei not only closed the door to the normal customers but also prepared goody bags for these Tuangou shoppers. Now, that’s Power to the People!”
Haggling and bargaining is standard in the PRC, putting consumers up close and personal with the free market. “Reward knowledge, punish stupidity,” as they say. A snarky comment on the prospect of doing this in the States:
If you got a couple hundred people to go down to your local Best Buy, they’d probably call the cops. Even if they didn’t, the iron-fisted corporate policies of most retailers would probably preclude getting any kind of deal.
Congratulations, you just discovered the difference between a free market and USA-style capitalism.