Paying Bills in Shanghai

With the help of my team members, I was able to pay my bills yesterday. To pay bills, I’d been told that you just take your stack to a convenience store (there are a billion of them here) and hand over the cash. Almost, but not quite. I walked in to the Lawson’s after lunch at the bottom of Metro Mall with my gas and telephone bills. Upon handing the telephone bill over the women at the counter looked over at me, shook her finger and pushed it back at me. Okay, no dice. The gas bill was met with a lot of very fast Chinese to which I took the bill back, turned around and walked out, totally confused.

After conferencing with my coworkers, it turns out that every bill except the telephone bill is payable at a convienece store, while the telephone bill can be paid at the post office. I left work, went to the post office that’s on my walk home and handed over a couple of RMB and the bill and presto magic the bill was paid. The lady at the desk took it without a word, processed it and sent me on my way. Next stop was Lawson’s on the walk home, only this time I had the cash ready and counted, so I walked up to the counter and the bill and the cash on the desk and nodded my head until the bill came back to me stamped and done.