I’m A Baller - Chapter 7
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The factory that Wang Yan was looking for was small. It was located in a small industrial park, and the premises on which it operated were even smaller. The place was filled with all kinds of cardboard boxes, but the good thing was that they accepted odd jobs.
The person in charge was a man with a bulky build who introduced himself as Wu.
Boss Wu gave Wang Yan a once-over, his face showing a hint of distaste. He obviously didn’t think much of the youth before him, as he looked far too young and didn’t seem to have much money.
“What do you want, kid?”
“I need boxes for watermelons… You do have boxes that can hold watermelons, right?”
The man’s brows knit into a frown in response to what Wang Yan had just said.
There was a clear lack of enthusiasm in his response.
“You must be joking. What kind of boxes would watermelons need?”
Wang Yan didn’t understand. “Are you saying that watermelons can’t be packed in boxes, or that there’s no need to pack them in boxes?”
Boss Wu chuckled and pulled out a pack of Hongmei cigarettes, then took one out and slowly lit it. Glancing sideways at Wang Yan, he extended the cigarettes towards him. “Want one?”
“Thanks, Boss Wu, but I don’t smoke,” Wang Yan hurriedly declined.
Boss Wu drew back the cigarettes with a shrug, then pursed his lips. “Even if you don’t smoke, you should carry a pack with you. When you step into society, you’ll realize that no one is obligated to help you, so it wouldn’t hurt for you to extend everyone a little courtesy.”
Wang Yan’s face flushed in mild embarrassment, but at the same time, he felt a little aggrieved.
‘God damn it, I’m just a high schooler. How would I know about all this?
‘Can’t we just have a fair trade? I’ll give you the money, and you give me the goods?’
Wang Yan might have been immature, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew very well that the other party might not want to entertain his meager request even if he could pay for it.
Since he needed a favor, he had to show some humility.
“Ah, my apologies! I’m just a prospective college student who’s acquiring summer work experience, so please excuse my incompetence. And thank you for the advice!”
Wang Yan apologized right away in a sincere tone.
There were so many loose ends he had to tie up with regards to setting up his watermelon business. He knew that since he had decided to better himself, he shouldn’t be putting on any airs.
Otherwise, he might as well stay home and snooze, wait until he’d saved enough from his breathing wages, then go out and have some fun.
Bars, clubs, karaoke, malls, restaurants, and foot massage parlors—one could be treated as a VIP at any of these places as long as one’s wallet was fat enough.
However, a different set of rules applied in the working world.
He had to learn.
Perhaps it was Wang Yan’s seemingly sincere attitude, but Boss Wu softened at the mention of “summer work experience.”
“Ah, so you just graduated from high school? Which school?”
Wang Yan replied frankly, “Yes. I studied at Shi Yan High School.”
“Haha, my daughter is a junior at No. 2 High School. She’ll be taking her entrance exams next year… How did you do on yours?”
Wang Yan scratched the back of his head bashfully, feeling self-conscious.
“Got into a normal university. I’m not cut out for studying, so I figured I should get some experience during summer break, so as to become better equipped for the working world.”
“Good on ya!”
Boss Wu gave him a thumbs up, as if Wang Yan had given the right answer.
“Boys are indeed different from girls. You’ll have to take care of your family, so of course, you need to know your way around. Drinking, smoking, being good with words, and making money—that’s what makes a real man!”
Was it really necessary to drink and smoke?
‘But I’m a baller. After I cross this hurdle, I’ll have no need for those things. So your theory isn’t applicable to me,’ he thought to himself.
Since Wang Yan didn’t quite agree with his opinion, he tried to change the subject.
“Boss Wu, how were your daughter’s results? I have lots of notes. If you don’t mind, I could bring them over for you next time. It wouldn’t be very profitable selling them to be recycled anyway.”
“My daughter’s grades are fantastic! She’s always in the top fifty or sixty of her class. As long as she keeps it up for the next year or so, she shouldn’t have any problems getting into a good university.”
“Oh, that’s great! She’s much better than me then!”
“Hahaha!” Boss Wu laughed heartily.
“Alright, since you’re so earnest about bettering yourself, it would be cruel of me not to help you out. What do you need?”
Wang Yan perked up now that they were finally broaching the main topic.
“I need a box that’s big and tall. Doesn’t matter what it’s made of, as long as it’s sturdy and durable. It has to be able to hold over 50 pounds. I’ll also need the name of my uncle’s business printed on it.”
“That’s pretty troublesome. Your request won’t be easy to fulfill.”
Boss Wu furrowed his brows.
“People rarely pack watermelons in boxes. Cardboard boxes aren’t designed to withstand such weight. It might not tear with the weight of a single watermelon, but when the watermelons are stacked together, the bottom of the box is bound to collapse.
“Plastic mesh boxes work better but would cost more.
“Besides, the size of each watermelon varies greatly. You might not be able to fit the big ones, and for the small ones, you’ll have to add foam or sponge.
“It’s going to be an expensive hassle.”
Wang Yan started putting his bullsh*tting skills to good use, using the script that he had prepared beforehand.
“The watermelons I’m planning to sell are a new variety created by the Mine Province Agricultural Research Institute. Thanks to my uncle, I was able to participate in the soft launch and get my hands on a batch. I was hoping to test the waters.
“Think about how much of the Institute’s funding went into the production of these melons. The cost of the melons is high to begin with. The Institute may not be in a rush to recover its funds, but I am!
“How will I make a profit if I don’t sell them at a higher price?
“Since the original cost is already high, and I don’t have that many anyway, what difference would it make if I factored in the packaging cost? And sold them at a high retail price?”
Although what Wang Yan had said was overall pretty logical, it didn’t have quite the impact he was looking for.
Fortunately, Boss Wu didn’t suspect anything—but then again, there was really no point in suspecting a small business like this anyway.
“Okay, I know what you mean.
“It might work in Gujiao, what with the proliferation of the newly rich who love trying new stuff. As long as you limit the quantity, you’ll have no problems selling everything!”
Boss Wu slapped his thigh and walked into the factory.
“Come with me. What do you think of this one?”
It was the kind of plastic mesh crate that was used to store oranges in the winter. It came with a lid and could be sealed on the outside, making it extremely sturdy and durable.
“A customer entrusted me with ordering these from a plastics factory, and a lot was left over. They come in three sizes: the biggest is ten inches tall and a foot and a half in length. If you like them, I’ll give you a discount for them.”
Wang Yan mulled over it while carefully examining them.
The plastic mesh box was a cream color and pretty robust, but the texture felt a bit lackluster. It also didn’t look very classy.
But then again, boxes that looked classy might not necessarily be more suitable.
He had to come up with something, so he asked, “Boss Wu, I’ll print flyers and stick them on the lids. What do you think?”
Boss Wu touched the back of his head, his brows knitted together.
“It’s doable, but there’s no point. Who still looks at flyers in this day and age? People simply pick the melons from a pile, then take them with ’em when they’re done choosing. Who has the patience to look at advertisements?”
Wang Yan responded to Boss Wu’s doubts with a smile.
“They won’t get to choose!”
Wang Yan might have been young and inexperienced, but he was surprisingly self-assured for his age.
Boss Wu sized up the youth before him and was suddenly a little unsure.
Whatever jibes he had on the tip of his tongue were suddenly gone.
“Alright, you’re the customer. Laowu will do as requested. But no haggling for a lower price. Small boxes at two yuan each, medium boxes for four yuan each, and large boxes for six. Deal?”
Wang Yan was very decisive and immediately proceeded to list his requests.
“But for my first batch, I only intend to buy 100 boxes, 50 medium boxes, and 50 large ones. Payment will be in cash, and you’ve got to help me smooth down the boxes’ edges.”
“Damn. So much trouble for a measly few hundred yuan…”
Despite his grumbling, Boss Wu still decided to accommodate his requests.
The matter was settled. After agreeing to pick up the boxes in the afternoon, Wang Yan quickly made his way to the next destination.