They are back with a ‘vengeance’


Uplifting mood: Wuhan residents venturing out to a retail street after the end of the lockdown. — AP

After being stuck at home for months, the Chinese are letting loose, especially on shopping and eating.

FRIED chicken, hotpot, ice tea, fruits platter, braised duck, an assortment of grill meat and vegetables – these are among the food ordered by a woman just for lunch recently.

She ordered food delivery from 15 restaurants for herself and her brother in east China’s Zhejiang province.

Another man took a video clip of himself gobbling down a hot dog, a bowl of noodle, beef steak, some dumplings and fish balls in just one sitting.

It is the post-Covid-19 era. And it is payback time for many Chinese to satisfy their cravings for all types of food after the long “Covid-19 confinement”.

The Chinese called such psychological behaviour “vengeance spending”, a term to describe the attitude of consumers who are making more purchases than they usually do.

This happens when they suppress their urges for something for a long time.

Spending could help blow away their gloomy feelings and negative thoughts brought about by the pandemic.

And who says money cannot buy happiness – or does it?

In Yiwu city, a 20-year-old woman was rushed to hospital for diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain and fever. She was diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis, caused by excessive eating.

A private hospital in Zhejiang province told the local media that there was a surge in patients with similar illnesses recently.

“Our emergency department attended to dozens of such patients in three days, ” said a doctor identified as Yang.

“After a long time of eating healthy home-cooked food or fewer meals, their stomachs could not take in heavy stuff, ” he said.

At Weifang city of Shangdong province, a restaurateur revealed that a customer had placed a delivery order for everything on the menu when his shaokao (barbecue) shop reopened for business.

“We have over 50 types of grill stick on the menu and he ordered all of them, ” he said, adding that the bill came up to more than 1,200 yuan (RM740).

At another shop in the northeastern Shenyang province, all the dishes were sold out in four hours.

The Chinese have been leading a “boring” life for two months and it is now time to let “loose”.

They still have new Chinese New Year clothes that they have not worn, the unspent money reserved for said festivity and plenty of catching up to do with friends that they had not met for a while.

Humans are social animals and after being isolated for a long period, they are desperate to go out and binge on everything.

It is the beginning of spring and I went for a picnic at the park last weekend.

It was quite a sight to see a big crowd as I thought only my friends and I were the very few brave souls who roamed around even when the outbreak was at its peak.

There were hundreds of people, some gathering in groups, at the park.

“Wear your mask, do not stay too close to each other, ” the park workers shouted.

Such a reminder was also being played from a radio speaker from the park vehicles making their rounds in the area.

During the Qing Ming break (Chinese Tomb Sweeping Day or known as Cheng Beng in Malaysia), locals had flocked to tourist attractions.

According to the China Tourism Academy, the number of tourists this festival was 61%, lower than last year.

Even so, the number was still stunning. More than 43 million people went out for a short holiday across China.

The Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in some big brands and chain outlets scaling down their businesses and some retailers are hoping that revenge spending could somehow revive the economy.

A netizen proudly showed her online shopping records, which stated that she has 99 purchases awaiting to be sent out while 60 others were making their way to her home.

Shoppers are back at the malls, queuing outside branded stores and carrying bags of purchases.

However, medical experts have warned the public to remain alert to avoid a second wave outbreak after Wuhan reopened on April 8.

This means tens of millions of people will be on the road, travelling back to their homes or workplaces.

The first day has recorded more than 70,000 people leaving the city to various destinations across the country.

The government has restricted the number of people from Wuhan to enter the capital to around 1,000 per day.

Wuhan is the epicentre of the outbreak with over 50,000 confirmed cases and 2,500 deaths. It was placed under a lockdown on Jan 27.

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