Shanghai group purchasing coordinator considered neighborhood hero

Wen Xiaodong, 37, didn’t expect to be a group-buying organizer.

“I have no experience in this area,” Wen said. “My job has nothing to do with community management.”

The residential complex he lives in is home to more than 2,000 people and has been under closed management since late March following the resurgence of COVID-19.

Many locals were unable to stock up as shops began suspending operations. Some still failed to place an order on different food delivery apps even though they set the alarm to get up at five in the morning.

It was then that Wen decided to start arranging group purchases because he managed to contact an online wholesale platform.

“It was quite difficult when I started doing this. For example, the first time we received the supplies, I got completely lost in sorting and distributing. It took me five hours to complete the delivery of all packages,” Wen said.

Like most group-buying organizers amid Shanghai’s outbreak, Wen is not a full-time coordinator.

He has been working from home since the start of his quarantine.

“I have to work on group purchases during the day and then go back to my work in the evening. Fortunately, I have my wife as an assistant. But it’s still not enough, so we called for more volunteers. I spends a lot of time contacting logistics operators, as they are a key part of the whole process.”

Shanghai can get quite rainy in April, but that didn’t stop Wen and other volunteers from unloading goods in the downpour.

“We mainly bought chicken, beef, tissues, rubbing alcohol and milk – 100 packs of each item. This is the ninth batch of goods we’ve received through group purchases since we started on April 1,” Wen said.

Now, Wen knows the whole process better, from collecting orders to distributing packs.

“Wen is a very good coordinator. Some seniors may not be very familiar with group buying and may end up placing wrong orders. But he will help check each item to make sure everyone gets what they want. “He bought it. I can see how much effort he puts into it,” said a resident upon receiving the supplies.

Wen said that although the pandemic remains a crisis, he still cherishes the experience.

“I’ve lived in this community for about six years, but rarely had the opportunity to meet my neighbors,” Wen said. “To be honest, I could name less than 10 of my neighbors before the epidemic. This time, I made a lot of good friends. Besides group buying tasks, we also talk about travel, cooking and wine .”

Wen’s wife, Jiang Hanmin, who Wen thinks is the best partner both in life and in group buying, echoed his sentiments.

“If the pandemic were to leave us with a treasure, I think it should be the friendship and kindness of our neighbors, and of all the young people who never hesitate to dedicate themselves to helping those in need,” said Jiang.

The couple aim to continue their volunteer work even after the outbreak, especially for vulnerable groups in the city.

Community group purchases have become one of Shanghai residents’ main sources of food and necessities alongside government supplies since the megacity took strict control measures to combat the Omicron variant. end of March.