This Xinmin Evening News story (in Chinese) tells of Mr. Zhang, a labourer from outside of Shanghai, who arrived in our blurry city to find work. He correctly thought it was pretty cool to be a security guard, even if there is an element of risk involved. The recruitment methods of one company caught his eye, which effectively rents out guard dogs to other security companies and guards. If you are an employee of this company, you can earn an extra 200 RMB by simply recommending other people to fill positions as security guards. (Our pal Mr. Zhang earned 600 RMB this way.)
Without using that dirty word “scam”, let’s just say there was a “catch”. Employees have to pay 1,000 RMB when they start work, for the uniform (those security guard jackets don’t come cheap) and training fees (stand at gate, sip tea, etc.) — and you may not leap out of your seat on learning the one grand is non-refundable.
The security guards also have to take care of the guard dogs allocated to them by the company, in good health, sickness, and ’til death do them part. However the dogs that the company provides them with are no spring-chickens. Mr. Zhang lamented:
“If the company could provide us with some help [to look after the dogs] it would be fine, but the most of the dogs are old or ill. Some dogs stagger, some dog’s fur falls off, some dog’s teeth are not firm … so how could it be possible for us to take good care of them?”
Every month, 200 RMB is deducted from their salary, and if the dogs are still alive and barking by the end of the year, the money is returned. However, the company always seems to be able to find reasons to deduct more money. For instance, if a dog loses weight, is not bathed, or if a dog is ill, and if the poor mutt snuffs it, then it’s temporary owner must pay “compensation” of 3,000 RMB. Mr. Zhang said that one of his friends had a rover keel over and enter doggy heaven, and his only option was to run away in the middle of the night as there was no way he could stump up the cash:
“If we are allocated old and ill dogs, we have to take responsibility for the illness and death of the dogs, and possibly pay compensation. Does the company make a profit from this? A security guard armed with a dog might do the job better, but now the dogs have become our burden. I’ve been asking myself whether it’s necessary to arm us with the dogs in the first place.”