Upscale Beijing mall slammed for snobbery after denying entry to food delivery workers

Society & Culture

SKP Beijing, a ultra-luxury shopping complex in the Chinese capital, came under fire over the weekend after a video showing a food delivery driver being denied entry went viral.

meituan delivery riders

SKP Beijing, an ultra-luxury shopping complex in the Chinese capital, came under fire over the weekend after a video showing a food delivery driver being denied entry went viral.

The eight-minute video (in Chinese) was posted by travel influencer Director Cao (曹导 Cáo Dǎo), who documents her life on camera for her 1.7 million followers on Weibo. The video features her working as a courier for Chinese food delivery giant Meituan Dianping for three days. Describing the entire experience as “incredibly infuriating,” Cao started the video with the unpleasant incident at SKP, which she said was so humiliating that it almost caused her to emotionally explode.

skp beijing meituan delivery driver

In the clip, Cao can be seen arriving at the high-end retailer to pick up a customer’s order from a milk tea store inside the complex. When she attempts to get inside the building from the main gate, a security personnel blocks her, telling her that she needs to use the staff entrance in the back unless she does something about her uniform — either taking it off or using a coat to cover it.

“Apparently, you will be barred from entry at SKP if you wear a Meituan uniform,” Cao says to the camera. “SKP is so high-class!”

A few minutes later, Cao is denied entry again at the staff entrance while being told that an underground entrance connected to a nearby subway station is the way to go.

“Do you think they have legitimate reasons to reject your entry?” a cameraman following Cao asks, to which Cao replies: “Reasons? What the f**k reasons? I’m bothering no one. It’s not like I’m going shirtless. Why is my delivery uniform inferior to their SKP uniforms?”

In the end, a passerby volunteers to pick up the order for Cao. While waiting at the underground entrance, a SKP employee asks Cao to keep her distance from the doors.

Uploaded to Weibo on July 13, the video quickly gained attention on social media over the weekend. As of Monday, the original clip has amassed more than 31 million views and the hashtag attached to it, “My experience as a food delivery rider (#外卖骑手体验# ), has garnered around 110 million views on Weibo.

Many people responded to the video with fury and even called for a boycott against SKP for what they view as a discriminatory attitude toward food delivery drivers. “SKP would totally conduct a quick financial background check on anyone trying to enter the mall if it was allowed to. It only cares about its ultra-rich customers and everyone else is worthless to it,” a Weibo user wrote (in Chinese).

The video struck a special chord with delivery drivers and those in similar lines of work. “I bet almost everyone in the service industry has experienced discrimination because of their profession at some point. We probably work harder than anyone else, but we never get the respect we deserve,” a courier commented.

Not all reactions to the incident were negative, though, with some coming to SKP’s defense, arguing that as an upscale shopping complex whose main customers are the wealthiest in the city, SKP has to do what it can to make its clients happy. “If you were a customer who paid a lot of money for an elevated retail shopping experience, would you be fine with having delivery drivers covered in sweat walk freely around you?” a Weibo user wrote (in Chinese).

As the biggest shopping center in Beijing, SKP is home to more than 800 luxury brands, including Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. In 2019, SKP generated 15.3 billion yuan ($2.18 billion) in revenue, making it the best-performing retailer in China.