Women's roles and consumerism in a Chinese village. The independent Ermo supports her son and disabled husband, rising early to make noodles she sells as a street vendor. A snooty neighbor has a TV, so Ermo wants a huge one. The neighbor's husband, Blindman, offers her transport to sell baskets she's made. After he gets her a city job making restaurant noodles and more money, their relationship becomes an affair. She's also selling her blood. When she discovers Blindman is subsidizing her pay, she throws the money at him and quits the job; he covers their affair and her reputation by getting beaten up over a woman in the city. When she has enough for the TV, she's exhausted.