That’s what it felt like when Christoph asked me to replace damaged buttons on his suit jacket. On one sleeve, two buttons had somehow broken off. Either when we moved or when we sent it to the dry cleaners; we have no idea. What Christoph thought would be very straight forward for me was not a fun exercise at all. Try going to an entire building that is dedicated to buttons and find a button that is exactly like the one you have in your hand and asking them for the price of a mere two buttons. No one took me seriously.
Of the seven stalls I visited, only one was willing to help me actually look for something similar. I was so relieved that I bought eight whole buttons! I know that I overpaid; I was eavesdropping on their phone orders and the vendor had just taken an order for 400 buttons at .40 RMB per button. I paid 1 RMB per button and was very happy about it. It allowed me to complete my search and get they hell out of the building! Phew!