Thursday, July 10, 2014

Weird Queuing Culture of Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, people queue to buy all kinds of everything – houses, stocks, LV or Prada. Some people queue to buy these expensive or luxury items to speculate. What about queuing to buy cookies? When someone told me that people queue in Tsimshatsui to buy cookies and speculate for money, I was really unable to believe. This is the weirdest thing I ever heard. How much money people can make out of speculating cookies?

When I first pass by this shop with a queue of about 100 people, it made me wanted to find out what they were queuing for.  Cookies.  In fact, these are not celebrity cookies or luxury brand cookies.  I thought most of you may have never heard of this shop.  It is just a high street bakery with only two branches (one in Tsimshatsui and one in Central) and a 5-page website having only couple of photos on each of those pages.

Today when I pass by this shop again, it was midday around 34 degrees Celsius and the queue was as usual – LONG.  Each time only around 10 customers were allowed to enter the shop to buy cookies. What made these people to queue under the sun to buy cookies?  Certainly I’m not the only one curious about this weird scene.  Every time I pass by this shop there were many people taking photographs, although one of the shop posters says ‘photography not allowed’.

The legend did not stop there.  The shop had little to no decoration, having only a stack of cookie boxes at the entrance along with several posters.  One of the posters stated their rules of selling.

·     Accept cash only
·     Do no accept telephone or online order
·     Each customer can only make one purchase per day (not sure how they monitor this)

·     Each customer can buy a maximum of five boxes only

Top notice:  
Accept cash only

Middle notice:  
Working hours - 10am - 7pm Tue through Saturday, close on Sunday (What about Monday??!!)

Bottom notice:  
Price list in Chinese, Japanese and Korean

There were only two core products – 4 or 8 Mix Butter Cookies in large or small boxes.  Small box $65 (320 grams), large box $120 (640 grams).

I have an interesting calculation here.  Assume they can entertain 100 customer per hour and they work 9 hours a day, and each customer buy 5 boxes averaging $450 sales per customer, their turnover will look like this:

Daily: $450 x 100 x 9 = $405,000
Weekly: $405,000 x 6 = $2,430,000 (assume they work on Monday as well)
Monthly: $2,430,000 x 4 = $9,720,000

A cookie shop has a monthly turnover of close to HK$10 million is really amazing.  Would you consider quitting your job and learn to make cookies?  

Hong Kong Travel Blog
Weird Queuing Culture of Hong Kong

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