Foreigner for rent

3 Nov

Profiling is an interesting science – one that most of us normally encounter when we go to the airport and get selected (or not) for an extra-special pat-down or a luggage search.  Living abroad, profiling occurs all the time.  For example – I am not Chinese, therefore I do not speak any Chinese.  Or, I am a white face – I must drink Coca Cola.  Or – I am a foreigner, I don’t like spicy food.

At work – I am a foreigner, I understand the situation of another foreigner, even if their background is completely different than mine.  The next step then is that the client will trust me, because we are both foreigners.

Normally it’s not that explicit, just a phrase or two, but still every once in a while I know that the reason I am asked to attend a meeting is not because I run the Shanghai office and can speak intelligently about the differences in the employee benefits market between China and the US.  Specific events will remain nameless to protect the innocent but the next time I see you, I’ll be happy to supply some stories that will have you groaning.

As I was writing this post, I googled “Rent a foreigner” and actually found a story that CNN did a little over a year ago and an official company that arranges foreigners to go to second tier or third tier cities and act a part.  Luckily I’ve never had to pretend to be the head of an Italian jewelry store chain or an oil company executive.  I’ve attached the link below – it’s another one that makes me smile and after living here for four years is totally believable.

Rent a foreigner – CNN

If you were to be “rented” – what part would you like to play?


2 Responses to “Foreigner for rent”

  1. Tex November 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    the Marlboro cowboy, of course. Tex


  1. The second quarter review « 中国 Jumble - January 17, 2012

    […] favorite – Foreigner for Rent – This video that I linked too is from CNN.  It includes interviews of westerners in China […]

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