Voucher Fever

Photo by MJ Klein

Voucher Fever

Recently, the Taiwanese government gave NT$3,600 worth of shopping vouchers to citizens and qualified residents. While my own personal experience with receiving the vouchers was rather unremarkable (with only 2 people saying anything to me while I was in line, and both times in “English”), there have been several noteworthy events in the news concerning the vouchers. Here is a list of them:

  1. Women fainted after receiving their vouchers. Apparently it was an emotional moment for them.

  2. A man in Chunghua was arrested for using a NT$200 voucher as a gambling stake. The vouchers are supposed to be as good as cash after all.

  3. According to police, 3 voucher grabbers are already behind bars as of Monday.

  4. In Lukang, a family of 41 took home NT$147,600 in vouchers. They really cleaned up!

  5. Carrefour, RT Mart and Geant reported skyrocketing sales, to triple their normal daily levels on Sunday, as locals swarmed the markets to spend their vouchers.

  6. How to spend voucher money is reportedly a hot topic for family discussions.

  7. China Airlines, Taiwan’s largest air carrier, kicked off an 85% off promotion on Monday. 100 specially priced tickets will be sold each day.

  8. Apparently, quite a few voucher distribution stations have reported being short tens of thousands of NT dollars in shopping vouchers. I’ve heard that some of the stations were just handing out the red envelopes, thinking that the vouchers were already counted.

  9. Hualien County reports that that more than half of the children in a orphanage did not receive their vouchers because they were claimed by their parents. If they have parents, why are they in an orphanage?

  10. A father and son were reunited after 20 years when they met each other at a voucher distribution station. I wonder if they vote too?

  11. Police sources are reporting that dozens of wanted fugitives have been nabbed at voucher distribution stations. They must have thought no one would be looking for them.

How will you spend your voucher money?

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  1. My friend in Taoyuan said something to me about getting some “vouchers” as part of some sort of “economic stimulius” thing that the Taiwan government was doing. Is that what these shopping vouchers is part of???

    I remember her telling me that the “stimulus” was something that had to be spent… you couldn’t put it in the bank and save it… like you can do here in the USA when the government sends their stimulus checks to taxpayers.

    1. the idea is to spend them in stores to stimulate the economy. in the US, people are so stretched that any such check from the government would just disappear into people’s bank accounts and get absorbed by their debt. it would be a blip on the radar screen. initially, the impression here is that these vouchers are working and are stimulating the economy.

      1. Well I worked it out… NT $3,600 is just over USD $107 (at the current exchange rates). When the US Treasury sent out checks as part of the economic stimulus package… single people got USD $600 (about NT $20,124) and married people got USD $1,200 (about NT $40,248).

        I know that not everything is cheaper in Taiwan. My friend in Taoyuan bought a new quad channel unlocked GSM cell phone back in October. She told me she paid about NT $14,000 for it (not signing a new contract) which isabout USD $417. I looked up the phone she bought and found places in the USA selling it for like USD $289 or about NT $9,693.

        Lots of people did spend the money they got some their checks from the government… some didn’t. I guess not enough people did… as Circuit City is going out of business here.

        1. as i recall, CC was over priced. i honestly cannot remember buying anything from that store, ever. i shopped at Best Buy instead.

          3,600 NT is 10% of the average monthly salary here. that’s how they arrived at the figure.

          you know, if the US abandoned their illegal income tax program to begin with, there wouldn’t be a crisis.

  2. “The vouchers are supposed to be as good as cash after all.” Not quite: you can’t put them in the bank. And you can’t buy foreign currency with them.

    We spent ours on baby toys and cosmetics a few hours after we received them. We stood in line for an hour at Costco in order to do so. We were jostled, bumped, plowed into (my daughter even had her shoes torn off by a passerby), but we managed to hang in there. There’s nothing like “free” stuff to make you want to waste an evening.

    Patrick Cowsills last blog post..My Cute Family to Receive Tawian Tax Vouchers

    1. well, they are shopping vouchers and as such they are as good as cash, only you don’t get any change back. HC and i haven’t spent ours yet. we’re not sure what we want to buy with them.

  3. These “parents” stealing money from the children they abandoned … Just makes me sick to think about it – how low can some people go?

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