Stuff Asian People Like

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#30 Cash

Posted March 10th, 2008 by everydayasian · 20 Comments

We’d like to thank everydayasian for their first post today on
Stuff Asian People Like #30 – Cash.

Money TreeAsian people love cash. I don’t mean they like “cash” as in, they like money in general. I mean that they like dealing only in paper money. Asians like paying for things in cash. Paying in cash is integral to many other things that Asians like. For example, bartering and bargaining. Asians can’t try to haggle with someone and expect to pay by debit! By carrying a variety of bill sizes, asians can pay for their bargains in exact change, eliminating the proverbial slap-in-the-face associated with talking the merchant down from $20 to $12 and only being able to pull out a $20 bill and then asking for change. After all, asians do want to come back to that particular store. Asian store owners grumble at having to pay a surcharge on credit card transactions, so they pass the savings on to other store owners by buying with cash.

Asians also like to give cash. From weddings to birthdays to holidays, Asians only give cash as gifts. Asians do this so that instead of buying a $20 gift for someone, they can give that person $20 and then go into a store and coax the owner into giving them a 2 for $20 deal. By giving cash instead of tangible gifts, the Asian person has doubled their cost-benefit. It also means the gift giver doesn’t have to waste time searching for a perfect gift. That time can be put to better uses, such as studying, karaoke or hand washing dishes. Plus, Asians are always late to a party. Can you imagine how much later they would be if they actually had to buy and wrap gifts? GiftwrapOn gift wrapping: Asians find ridiculous the idea of buying paper to wrap something, only so that it can be torn up and thrown away. That’s probably why the Japanese invented Furoshiki. Giving cash eliminates the need for wrapping paper.

Red EnvelopeHowever, asians throw their beliefs out the window when Lunar New Year comes around. The inevitable desire to give cash manifests itself into giving ostentatious red envelopes to their immediate, distant, or even disconnected family. This means giving money to cousins, nephews, nieces, daughters, fathers, and even children of their adjacent white neighbors who do not know them at all. The red colored envelop is very easy to spot, and can be seen being passed by hand over 30 feet away. By giving the red envelop, the asian is showing everybody that they are indeed cash-givers. When they have exhausted their cash supply, Asians still love a nice warm gift from the heart.

piggyBut don’t try to give an Asian person a real gift. He or she will appreciate and cherish the gift, sure. But it will never get used. The sandwich maker or the 5-minute instant terrarium will be so treasured that it will remain in its box, yet still on display for future guests to admire. My mother was using some busted up pots and pans, some with broken handles, so last year I gave her some decent name-brand pots, making sure to tell her that I got them on discount at Marshall’s so she wouldn’t think that I spent excessive money. A year later, they still sit on her counter, shrinkwrap intact. The lesson: Asians love cash. Don’t try to convince them otherwise.

- Written By: everydayasian

Last 5 posts by everydayasian

Tags: Culture · Customs · Environment · Finance · Habits · People · Social · Tidbits · Work

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 tony van // Mar 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    so true

  • 2 Justin // Mar 11, 2008 at 1:13 am

    i get red envelopes not just for new years…but for my birthday, graduation, christmas, and whenever my relatives feel like it. =)

  • 3 Eun-jung // Mar 11, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Oh my sweet Jesus is this true. Every time my brother and I go to dinner – he pays for everything IN CASH. And sadly, I have to say – I HAVE to pay for things in cash too. I get nervous when I have to pay with my debit card. Haha. And every birthday, my brother always gives me cash. Cash, cash, cash. Hilarious.

  • 4 YASPY Chick // Mar 11, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Yeah, cash is big, especially for older people. I don’t like carrying too much cash with me….I use my cards more often…but my grandmother always gives me $$$…

  • 5 fotofinish // Mar 11, 2008 at 11:50 am

    haha I’m not complaining about getting sweet CASH for my birthday/new year/Christmas! The thing about gifts is soooo true! It’s pretty annoying spending time and effort picking out a gift for someone, and then to find out they’ve never taken it out of the box!!! haha

  • 6 Urban Thought // Mar 12, 2008 at 11:27 am

    I’ve found that cash thing to be true. Every time I see Asians shop they pull out a roll of money. Doesn’t matter what it says on the register they have enough to cover the charge. So you’ll don’t believe in credit?

  • 7 Lifeinmotion // Mar 14, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    The US dollar is crap. The Reminbi is what’s happening!

  • 8 Anonymous // Mar 27, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    This is probably the most spot-on post for me, especially the part about the gift-giving. My mom still has the lovely set of Japanese teapot and cups intact in the lovely box wrapped in lovely Japanese wrapping paper that my boyfriend gave her when he first visited 4 years ago. And she was proud of that fact too since she brought it back out in all its unopened glory for him to see when he came back to visit them 2 years later! Not only that, when I first gave my dad a red envelope of $50 (has to be $50 since the note is red in Canada, and of course it has to be brand new straight from the bank) for his birthday, he kept it untouched *in the envelope* for at least a year! My parents also don’t believe in debit cards – it’s only cash or credit cards – and my dad mistrusts technology to the point that he refuses to deal with the ATM and only with the bank teller, even for something as simple as withdrawing and depositing. And I’m not completely free of this Asian infliction of “cash” since I always have to have some cash on me, even though I do mostly use debit and credit cards.

  • 9 gisl // May 20, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    This story you wrote is right on. Everything is so true, i have experienced all these things and then some with some asian relatives. Things and clothes will be used until ragged and broken and fixed but the new stuff just gets displayed or stored away. Maybe its an indication that the gift was so prized that the receiver did not want to use it. Anyway, after i read your story, i had to laugh because it was so rediculously true… everything! It took me awhile to figure out the culture and not wonder if they didnt like the gift or something else. But i have learned…and yes CASH is definitely the prefered thing for all occasions it seems.

  • 10 On Safety Planning « Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project // Nov 24, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    [...] carry a lot of cash on us as our preferred mode of purchase. One website, advertised as being “Written by Asian’s, About Asians” confirms this stereotype. Whether true or not, the fact of the [...]

  • 11 Shirley // Jul 31, 2009 at 9:14 am

    My family also has money fights at restraurants.
    There would be screams, shoving, money throwing, and a tug a war on the bill. They refuse to share the bill. Someone has to pay for the whole thing and the next time it’s someone else’s turn.

  • 12 Judy // Jul 31, 2009 at 9:17 am

    What’s wrong with getting cash?
    It’s better than getting something that you will never use in your life.

  • 13 meh // Sep 20, 2009 at 3:01 am

    my mother is just like that lol. however i’m a strict eftpos card person, i have ZERO cash on me… once I had to pay 20 cents by eftpos card lol

  • 14 Laptop Battery // Nov 19, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I’ve found that cash thing to be true. Every time I see Asians shop they pull out a roll of money. Doesn’t matter what it says on the register they have enough to cover the charge. So you’ll don’t believe in credit?

  • 15 Lala // Nov 26, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Sad to say that this is true XD
    Most gifts you give us Asians won’t be used; we give money to eliminate that problem. The person can buy whatever the heck they want now : D

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  • 17 Beijing Escort // Jul 14, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Most gifts you give us Asians won’t be used; we give money to eliminate that problem. The person can buy whatever the heck they want now

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  • 19 DK // Feb 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

    BS … Who doesn’t …

  • 20 ilovehorseyrides // Sep 26, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    We get red envelopes for our birthdays, Chinese New Year, and sometimes Christmas. Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to spend any of it…

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