Remember the old time medicine shows? The one where the medicine salesman would park his wagon and hawk his wares and offer to sell you this wonderful drug that would cure everything from dyspepsia to menstrual cramps?
Wel-l-l…the Chinese have figured out how to bring this to a whole new level! My second day in Beijing, the tour group and I were loaded on the bus and taken to a
medicine show tourist trap hospital / museum. We were told that this was one of the oldest and most famous hospitals in Beijing. We were led into a examining room, took a seat and then received a 15 minute lecture from a salesperson nurse, who proceeded to tell us the history of this hospital and of all the famous snake oils medicines that were manufactured there.
After the 15 minute lecture the door suddenly opens and now 2
high pressure snake-oil salesmen doctors come to the front of the examining room and invite any of us with illnesses, conditions, sicknesses, maladies, hen-flu-in-ways, lopsidoodles, etc. to come forward and to tell them “what’s ailin’ us” (as my dear old daddy would have said).
Well as P.T. once said “There’s a sucker born every minute” so several of our traveling group came forward like Baptists in a revival meeting and told the “doctors” of their problems. Of course all the cures were in these little bottles of medicine so conveniently displayed at the front of the room. Some folks bought, I did not. Finally after being exposed to these high pressure tactics for more than a half hour we were released. On our way out, we were shuffled into this huge shopping area and were given one more chance to be cured.
However, our tour guides did not come away empty-handed. They were both rewarded with free samples for diverting our little group to visit this
tourist trap famous Beijing hospital and pharmacy.