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2. This is a fan work and the interpretation represents only the translator’s personal views without any input from the author.
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Once the door opened, Liu Xu’er entered and was pleasantly surprised. After renovation, this little shop was transformed.
Shi Cheng had obviously modeled the shop after modern-day boutiques. Instead of using the traditional tall, wooden counters, his were made of glass. The design of his counters weren’t the same as the ones used in the jewelry shop either. Those were square and had three layers, with everything placed inside. It was not easy to look at the displayed items nor was it easy to make selections.
The glass counters that Shi Cheng used had only a single layer. It was shorter compared to the traditional ones, and everything was placed on that layer. Customers could glance down and be able to clearly view all the products without having to bend over or crouch down.
There are maybe six or seven such counters in the shop. They were divided into two columns. Customers would walk along one column on their way in, and along the other column on their way out. Although the place was not large, with this arrangement, it didn’t feel cramped at all. At the back was a very tall counter. This was obviously the area that the shopkeeper and shop assistants could go and rest. Behind the counter, a large floor to ceiling cupboard abutted the wall. That should be the place where excess stock was stored.
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Liu Shu went over to have a look. “Is this book specifically for accounts? I’ve heard others mention it.”
Shi Cheng nodded. “That’s right. When you’ve earned some money, you should buy yourself a book like this too. It would make it easier to keep clear accounts.” With a few quick strokes, he had recorded everything needed down. Then he went to help them arrange their display. Liu Xu’er had noticed that on top of the counter were little wooden frames. At the bottom was a plate, with a round, rotating axle in its middle. On the axle was a ring made of wood. The ring had notches cut into it at equal intervals, and hanging from the notches were little hooks.
Liu Xu’er immediately knew that these were meant to hang little ornaments. So she took one of the hooks down and hung several five-coloured bands on them. Pressing it back onto the wooden ring, she gave it a push. The middle axis started to turn and the bands started to whirl around.
Quite a few people gave a surprised gasp. Senzi especially found it fun. Reaching out, he continued to push it round, while Liu Changgeng quickly went over to examine how it was made. How was it able to turn?
Actually, it was a simple contraption. Current handcrafts were very advanced. For example, current craftsmen could even make coloured glass lanterns that were able to revolve. Liu Changgeng only had to take a quick look before he understood the mechanism.
The hand-warmers, forehead bands, scent sachets, braided cords and such were all displayed inside the glass counter, while the rest of the items were placed on the counter top. For example, the crocheted little animals, the wooden fish were all hung on the little revolving wooden frames. Right now, it didn’t even require anyone to deliberately move it. The slightest breeze was enough to cause it to swing around. Seeing as this counter was right in front of the door, it should attract a fair number of passers-by when it spins.
Liu Xu’er could see that Shi Cheng had given quite a lot of thought to the shop. Also, she knew that he had purposely reserved for her the best counter in the shop to display her goods.
Given their relationship, this level of preferential treatment wasn’t anything much.
After arranging everything meticulously, they had a look again. The counter didn’t appear to be overly crammed with things, and everything was neatly laid out. He shi circled the counter, appreciating the display.
Shi Cheng looked through the prices that Liu Xu’er had set. Shaking his head, he pulled Liu Xu’er to the side. Liu Shu and Liu Lin immediately tagged along.
“Look, there’s a trick to how prices are set. For example, these five-coloured bands, you’ve set it to be 1 wen per piece. Actually, you shouldn’t do it this way. Instead, set it to be 5 wen for a set of three. Wouldn’t that be better?”
Liu Xu’er paused for a moment before abruptly understanding.
Liu Shu and Liu Lin hadn’t studied arithmetic before, so they didn’t understand his logic. They only knew that he had proposed a more expensive price than the one Xu’er had set.
Shi Cheng then explained it to them, “Imagine if a customer came and asked how much for one and I answered 5 wen for three, 2 wen for one. Wouldn’t the person think to himself – Doesn’t that mean I will lose out if I only buy one then? But if I buy three, wouldn’t I be getting a bargain? With that thought, wouldn’t they be willing to fork out more?”
Liu Shu and Liu Lin were a touch suspicious, “Really?”
Shi Cheng nodded, “Of course.” This was part of a marketing module taught at university. All buyers hope to be able to get a good bargain. Look at those who haggle over price – that is their way of trying to get a good deal. So long as one satisfies this little wish of theirs, the deal would be sealed.
Of course Liu Xu’er understood. She quickly said, “Let’s change all the prices now!”
Shi Cheng smiled and nodded. For example, those little crocheted animals were originally 3 wen per piece. Now, they set it at 10 wen for three, 4 wen for one.
As for the little wooden fish pendants, because they required more skill to make and had been decorated beautifully with braided cords and tassels, they were priced at three for 20 wen, while a single piece would cost 7 wen. Shi Cheng even went so far as to give it a more respectable provenance – If customers were to ask, these wooden beetles and wooden fish were made from trees in a particularly spiritual temple. It had even been blessed by the incense offered to Bodhisattva….
Liu Shu was an honest sort. His jaw dropped when he heard. After a while, he stammered out, “But, but aren’t we lying to people?”
Liu Lin’s mind was more creative and accepting. All he said was, “As long as we can sell them!”
Listening from the side, Liu Xu’er had a sudden thought! Dage was honest and reliable – it would be good for him to manage the accounts. Erge however was more lively and flexible. If there was a chance, she should let him come here more often and learn how to do business.
Noon had passed and Senzi was complaining of hunger. If it weren’t for the revolving frame amusing him, he would have started to fuss long ago. He shi took the buns out for him to eat, but the little fellow flatly refused. He wanted to eat what he had just seen – wontons at the alley entrance.
Shi Cheng asked them where else they needed to go, Liu Shu said they needed to look for a school.
Coincidentally, Xiaochen returned to the shop at this time. Carrying a large basket on his back, his head dripping with sweat, he saw everyone in the shop. Quickly placing his basket down, he came over to greet all of them. Xiaochen looked to be around 20, but he appeared to be quite sharp, and knew how to handle things. It was clear from a glance that he had had plenty of experience with doing business.
Shi Cheng greeted him, then he accompanied the Liu family to check on schools.
Xiaochen had actually brought him something to eat from the jewelry store, but seeing that he was going out with them, he didn’t take it out for him.
He shi was still trying to coax Liu Sen, but he was completely unwilling to eat the cold and hard buns. He wanted to eat wontons! Liu Changgeng felt his heart ache at the sight, so he gave in and said, “Let’s go over and see, if the stall is still there, maybe we can all share a bowl.”
Immediately, Liu Sen perked up and clapped his little mittened hands.
Shi Cheng knew of the wonton seller. He had eaten there many times. When they had arrived in front of the stall, Liu Changgeng asked, “How much for a bowl?”
“4 wen!” Seeing the large group of people come over, the wonton seller was delighted. “My wontons are stuffed with ground meat – if you try, you will know. The stuffing is purely of meat!”
He shi frowned when she heard. She was about to mutter that other stalls only wanted 2 or 3 wen per bowl….
Senzi definitely needed to be given some – that Liu Changgeng knew for sure. He exchanged a look at He shi, who finally reluctantly nodded.
Liu Changgeng then told the seller, “I’ll have two bowls.”
When the seller heard it was only two, he was surprised. Then he immediately caught himself and nodded. Two bowls was still business! Immediately, he smiled, “Please have a seat, all of you! The food will be ready soon!” Saying this, he quickly moved to prepare it.
When everyone was seated, Liu Xu’er was still a bit puzzled – why did they order two bowls? Surely they didn’t intend to give one to Shi Cheng….. Shi Cheng was still discussing the matter of school with Liu Shu and Liu Lin, so she could only wait.
When the wontons were ready, the stall owner came up, “Who are these for?”
Sure enough, Liu Changgeng pointed toward Shi Cheng, “Pass him a bowl, then the other bowl is for this little boy,” Saying this, he looked at Liu Xu’er and softly said, “Xu’er, Shu, the three of you can have something else later….”
Shi Cheng wasn’t having it though. He quickly said, “Aunt, Uncle, why are you doing this? I don’t need it either! I had a late breakfast, and am not yet hungry! Not even a little!” Saying this, he pushed the bowl back to Liu Xu’er, “You have it, I really don’t need it!”
He gave Liu Xu’er a stare. Liu Xu’er understood the clear warning. She wasn’t to try and refuse any further.
But this wasn’t a matter she could decide on for herself. She could only turn to her parents, “Dad, mum….”
Liu Changgeng and He shi were in a rather awkward position. He shi was in the midst of feeding the impatient Liu Sen. She looked at Liu Changgeng, but felt that since they had come to town, they really couldn’t justify not giving Shi Cheng a meal. After all, Shi Cheng had helped their family quite a lot.
Seeing He shi’s face, Liu Changgeng knew that she had agreed. So he resolutely said, “Then bring us another three bowls – all of the children will have their own.”
Liu Shu said, “Dad, I really don’t need it.”
Liu Changgeng was afraid that Shi Cheng would try and refuse again, so he vigorously shook his head, “All of you eat!” Then he asked He shi, “Do you want a bowl for yourself?”
He shi frantically shook her head, “No…. I’m not hungry.”
Liu Xu’er sighed, but didn’t say anything further. She passed her bowl over to Liu Lin, but over the course of the months, Liu Lin had matured a lot. He shook his head and indicated for her to have the bowl first.
Seeing that all of the children would be given a bowl, Shi Cheng mentally stuck out his tongue. He wasn’t sure if his action of forcing Liu Xu’er’s parents to fork out over 10 wen would…. Affect their impression of him?
After pondering it for a moment, he laughed at himself. He was still so young. Even if he wanted to propose marriage, he could only do so in 10 more years! Surely 10 years was more than enough time for him to foster a good impression!
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Aiyaaa~~~ these two alr planned for their future 😂
LOL! Shi cheng is scheming his future in-laws! XD And I’m definitely there for it. <3 Thanks for your tls again, Pawdles!
He’s a long term planner! Hehehe
LOL, we can definitely see that XD