The diplomatic encounter took place on Tuesday when an American teacher, whose Chinese surname is Ma, stopped by a Chengdu market. According to Shanghaiist
, he wanted to buy something from the elderly vendor Li, who was selling random items that included second-hand clothes.
But before Ma was able to make a purchase, he knocked a bottle of red wine out of his bag, spilling onto some of Li’s clothes.
Immediately apologetic, Ma took out several hundred RMB from his pocket and offered them in compensation for the accident.
The wine reportedly messed up five items of clothing: two sweaters and three pairs of men’s trousers. The sweaters and pants sold for 25 RMB ($3.75) and 20 RMB ($3.00) respectively, and for Li’s makeshift store, this loss held some weight.
However, the 66-year-old was not even angry. She quickly turned down Ma’s money, saying:
“A few old pants aren’t worth much, there’s no need, Chinese people aren’t so cheap!”
Ma said Li brushed off the situation as a “small matter,” Sichuan Daily
noted. Still, the American teacher felt uneasy:
“When she didn’t take the money, I felt uncomfortable.”
In the end, the situation was settled when Ma bought a pair of pants and Li charged him 20 RMB.
Take that Russell Peters! Not all Chinese people are cheap! :p