‘Fartshion’: the joy of shopping in Hanoi
At any given moment on Tạ Hiện street, Hanoi you’ll find a tourist photographing this window for the Creative Oriental Crafts Kingdom (aka COCK). This sign is clearly no accident, but an excellent business strategy, as confirmed by the store-owner in this blog. As it reported:
“As it turns out ‘COCK’ stands for ‘Creative Oriental Crafts Kingdom’. Inside we meet the owner, Miss Huong. She greets us with perfect English and after brief introductions; she proceeds to tell us about the story of COCK… According to Miss Huong, the ‘COCK’ is part of her business strategy. Her front window featured large text ‘Try COCK today please’.”
It plays to an already well-established practice of tourists taking photos of Vietnamese signs, usually featuring the words “hung” and “bong” and “dong” and “dung” and “phuc”. Once you become familiar with Vietnamese pronunciation, these signs sadly become less amusing. But rest assured, I’m not entirely above it all:
You’d think that after 2.5 years of enjoying Vietnam’s premier ice-creamery, Nathan would have gotten sick of “Fanny” gags, but no, he hasn’t. Every time we go there — yes, sometimes for all-you-can-eat Fanny — I have to hear about how he’s going to put his dong into Fanny, etcetera. Never gets tired.
Maybe these stores all buy their signs from here:
Shop names in Hanoi seem to run along a number of themes, much like the hotel names. There’s the straight-talking ones, pretty unambiguous in promoting their products:
Or their sales channel:
Hmm, not actually, though.
Or the kind of customer they’re after (presented in ascending order of nattiness):
If you’re wondering what “men on TV” wear, it’s this:
Damn straight, that’s a leopard-print tuxedo jacket.
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