Snagging a seat on the subway or crosstown bus ain't always easy, especially in China's crowded cities. That's why, according to The Beijing News, "pregnancy pads" are supposedly hot sellers.
People with good manners give up their seats for elderly people and pregnant women. Hence why some Chinese women (apparently!) are shelling out between the equivalent of fifty to a hundred bucks for "realistic" looking pregnancy pads.
Online retailer Taobao has several pages of "fake stomachs" ("jia du zi") for sale. There are some variations, such as different trimesters, and even "twins type" stomachs, which are larger. You can also buy used fake stomachs. They are supposed to be used as stage props or as special effects, and not to get someone to give up their train seat.
While the media in Asia is saying these are selling well, let's put that into prospective: One internet retailer has sold 529 of these total, selling 59 in a single month. Which sounds like a lot, I guess, until you consider just how many people are shopping online in China.
That isn't to say these silicone stomachs are incident free. Late last month, for example, South China Morning Post reported that a woman, who had been trying to have passengers give up their Beijing subway seats, was discovered after the belt came loose and the fake stomach fell to the ground. The woman was mocked by her fellow passengers, and then actually complained to the Commercial Bureau about the product's quality! The complaint was largely condemned in the Chinese press.
So if you are in the market for a pregnancy pad, be sure to get a velcro one.
Woman discovered wearing false stomach on Beijing subway [South China Morning Post via ShanghaiIst]
電車で席譲ってほしい！"偽妊婦"パッド、中国の女性に人気―中国メディア [Yahoo via Rocket News]