If you’ve ever dreamed about hiring someone to fight your battles, Taobao just became your favourite online marketplace to do just that. Imagine getting a proxy to argue with a stubborn colleague, a frustrating family member, or a jerky friend, totally without context or explanation... for some, the very idea is a thing of beauty.
When you think about it, “substitute quarrelling” seems like an elegant solution to resolving problems without expending any emotional energy of your own. The actual quarrels are done done via phone calls or WeChat messages, because let’s face it: nobody wants the liability of a face-to-face fight.
China’s Red Star News sent a reporter to solicit these services, revealing that “for a fee ranging from 5 to 20 RMB”, you can hire someone to yell at a target over the phone or via messaging. Of course, you’d only expect the finest fighters from a paid arguing service, which raises questions about whether you get a refund if your fighter loses the argument. If you have enough money, you can splurge on all-day harassment, which might involve spamming your target’s phone with calls and messages to the point of no return.
Buying these services on Taobao is a little sketchy: first, search for “代骂架” or “代吵架” (basically “substitute quarrel”). Some sellers have a short screening process before you get into the nitty-gritty: what kind of argument you want, what you want to argue about, what dialect you need to use, and how long you want to argue for. Once everything is agreed upon, buyers can use WeChat or QQ to pay for the service — mostly because harassment is criminal behaviour that violates public order (a big deal in China), and nobody wants to face the wrath of Alipay’s legal team.
We’re not sure how long this sort of service will survive the many, many legal and ethical issues involved, but hey, if there’s a demand, substitute quarrelling isn’t going away any time soon.