Now I go through the rest of my day feeling completely content, I saw an awesome tea show, met some awesome friends, but in the back of my mind I'm a little uneasy about how much it cost me. I mention it to my friend who lives here who tells me flat out he's sure its a scam. I log into my lonely planet forum and search Shanghai scams and come across a story from another seasoned traveler. He describes my EXACT experience down to the very last detail. I'll put the link below. Everything he says is spot on what happened to me, the nonstop chatter, the fascination with you, the constant questions and distractions when they hand you the menu so you don't look at the prices. The four students who "paid" do it for show, and get their money back later, plus commission on MY MONEY!
I've never really been scammed before, but this really put me in a shitty mood. I felt completely taken advantage of and so embarrassed and naive. However, after reading up on scams, I figured I got pretty lucky, because a lot of travelers have lost $100 or more. Its good this happened on my first day, so I can have my guard up the rest of the trip. Above is a picture of me with the perpetrators.