Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CULTURE : Delivery Hotline 101


            For those who are thinking about investing in “girlfriends/boyfriends for rent” business (more information please check out my previous article on girlfriends rentals), here comes the great news. Taobao, the Chinese version of E-Bay, is hiring good looking girls to deliver packages that specially demand “Hot Girl Delivery”. When there is no major festival or family reunion coming up, which means you have no desperate excuse to have a pretty girl around, you can always order a 60-cent pen off E-bay and pay $60 extra to have a hot girl deliver your pen for you. As this system is developing, you may also make specific requests for these girls: what they are supposed to look like, how tall they should be, or even what kind of dress they should be wearing. Everything in this service guarantees that, when you open your door for the package, you will surely feel like you have found “the One”... for thirty seconds; or if you are a loyal customer, you may find “the One” multiple times a week.
            Most of these special delivery girls are models or so they claimed to be. You can see their faces lining up next to the little button called “payment option”. We are all familiar with the magic of Photoshop which can basically transform Jabba the Hutt into Princess Leia. For this reason, there might be some surprises, not necessarily pleasant, when you open the door and claim your package. But come to think of it, this is a very clever move for Taobao as the biggest online shopping website for China. Currently there are around 40,000 members who are hired as regular “Hot Girl Delivery”, most of whom are from the major cities of China where e-commerce is much more developed. Before this service was launched, there was a competition among hundreds and thousands of girls who post photos of themselves in different poses and dresses, participating in Taobao’s show, and hoping to be hired. This phenomena generated a lot of internet stars and promoted Taobao at the same time. After all, who doesn’t like pretty things?
            Long before Taobao, KFC in China launched the “Hot Guy Delivery”. Customers, when ordering online, can specify what type of delivery men they like. Shy? Emo? Sunshine? Athletic? Bookish? They have got them all. Girls started to order more and more Colonel Sander’s fried chicken, took a picture of the hot delivery guy, and shared them on the internet. I remember there was one episode of Friends in which Rachel asked the pizza delivery to send a very “Abercrombie & Fitch” guy to deliver her pizza---I always thought it was too good to be true. I’m very well aware that I sound extremely bitter in this article, that’s because the only personalized delivery that I’ve ever got is a special pizza box with a drawing of Nyan cat puking rainbow at a unicorn. Well in retrospect, that doesn’t seem too bad after all. 

The Woman Behind the Cultural Perspectives Section:
Asheley Gao is an extremely creative young woman, currently attending UC Berkeley as an undergraduate, a long way away from her home country of China. She is double majoring in Political Economy and History of Art. Her interest in life and exuberance is evident, not only in her work as an artist and academic, but also a friend and co-worker.

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