The Amazing Fate Pet Shop had been taken care of by Zhang Zian’s parents without any extra help. Zhang Zian understood that taking care of the pets daily was a very troublesome task. Every morning at 5 o'clock, his parents would get up and clean the shop, including the cages and the feces in the display cases. They would comb the pets’ hair, feed them, and conduct a quick health check. This allowed the pets to meet the guests at their best state when the door opened.
Now, Zhang Zian was the only worker. If he brought in too many pets at the beginning, it would only make a mess. Therefore, he decided to take the "quality over quantity" approach.
His advantage was also obvious. He owned the house and didn’t have any other employees. He simply didn’t have to worry about paying rent or wages every month. In the worst case scenario, if the pets were not sold, it wouldn’t be a big deal for him to temporarily raise them.
After checking the map, he locked the store. He put an A4 paper on the door that read: "This store will reopen soon." He took a few more looks at the store and then, feeling satisfied, headed to the bus stop.
There were two breeding bases in town. One was located on the south side of the city, while the other was on the north side. Both were about the same distance from where he was, but he decided to go to the one on the north side simply because he wouldn’t have to cross the road from the bus stop.
After about ten stops, he arrived at the suburb and got off the bus. It didn’t take him long to find the "Love Lovely Pet" sign.
"This is quite a huge breeding base."
The long, tall walls separated a large area for the breeding base.
The sign for the Love Lovely Pet breeding base was an expression pack from a famous husky. It was really funny.
As he stepped inside, a man dressed in a nice suit, looking like a real estate agent, came up and gave a warm welcome.
"Hi, sir. How are you? Looking for pets?" the man said with a smile.
"Yes," Zhang Zian replied.
"Are you looking for a home pet?"
"I have a pet store and want to see what is available," he explained.
The man showed an even bigger smile after learning that Zhang Zian might be a big customer. "Great! Please come this way!"
Zhang Zian was taken to a meeting room that was divided into a couple of smaller areas. He knew the salesman would get a commission based on the sales; the more he sold, the more he would make on commission.
After they settled down, the salesman pulled out a pack of cigarettes named "Yuxi" and offered Zhang Zian one, but he refused.
"That’s great! Smoking is harmful to the health anyway. I don’t smoke either, but I always carry a pack of cigarettes for my customers." The salesman put the cigarette back and asked, "How should I address you, sir?"
Zhang Zian answered, "My last name is Zhang."
"Oh, really?! What a coincidence! We have the same last name! We must have had the same ancestor years ago."
The salesman was very excited and handed his business card to Zhang Zian with both hands.
The business card showed: Love Lovely Pet Breeding Base Sales Representative Zhang Wanguo.
Zhang Zian should’ve given his business card to the salesman in return, but he didn’t have one, so it was better to play the fool.
He thought to himself, "‘Zhang’ is such a common last name. What’s the big deal seeing someone named ‘Zhang’? If we were both named Murong, that might be worth all the excitement."
Zhang Wanguo realized he hadn’t received a business card from Zhang Zian. He smiled and asked, "May I know which pet store you own?"
Zhang Zian said vaguely, "Well, it is a new store. You may not have heard of it."
"Haha, well, you made a great choice, Mr. Zhang! You know, we are the supplier for most pet stores in the city, including the chain supermarket named ‘Stars Pet’."
Zhang Wanguo was a very experienced salesman and had seen tons of customers. It didn’t take him long to figure out that this customer was a newbie. If he gave an impression that everyone bought pets from here, he was sure he could get this deal done quickly.
There were quite a lot of customers like that. They excitedly wanted to open up a pet store, thinking that pet stores were an easy way to make money. As a matter of fact, eight out of ten new pet stores closed within a year, but that had nothing to do with him.
Zhang Zian had heard about the Stars Pet chain supermarket. It was a famous pet store that everyone in the pet business knew. It was a giant national chain, owning 153 direct-sale stores and 164 franchise stores nationwide. It covered almost all the small, medium, and large cities and often put out commercials on CCTV.
A deeper meaning of Zhang Wanguo’s words was: Even large enterprises bought pets here, so there should be no problem for others to do so too.
Zhang Zian had his own thoughts. Although he was a newbie in this business, his parents had run their pet store for over ten years.
"Can you show me around?" Zhang Zian asked.
The smile froze on Zhang Wanguo’s face. He frowned slightly and said to himself, "This newbie is not following the routine."
Zhang Wanguo quickly responded, "The breeding base is so dirty and smelly. It is not a good place to visit. After you walk around the base, you can’t even wear the same pair of shoes any more. Why don’t you tell me what you want, and I will have someone bring the pets out for you? You may review our quotes first; our price is very competitive. If you can find somewhere cheaper than us, I will pay you twice the difference!"
These words were said so sincerely that someone else might have fallen for them already!
Zhang Wanguo handed over a catalog with pictures and descriptions. The prices and pictures were all very clear in the catalog.
Zhang Zian took the catalog and glanced over it for a while. Then he got up, wanting to leave.
"My apologies, sir. I have an appointment later today. I will stop by another day."
"Oh, Mr. Zhang. Oh, sir, don’t leave yet. Please stay. If you are not satisfied with the price, it is negotiable."
"I am so sorry, but I do have another commitment. I will come back another day."
Zhang Zian left the store, disregarding Zhang Wanguo’s persuasion.
Zhang Wanguo watched him get farther and farther away. He angrily spat on the ground.
"Geese! Who do you think you are! You are only a piece of crap! A total waste of my time."
After venting for a short while, he saw a new target and immediately put a huge smile on his face.
"Hi, Sir, are you here to look for a pet?"
Zhang Zian walked to the bus stop and got on the bus toward the south side of the city.
He remembered that his parents had discussed this before, that if a breeding base did not want to show you around, there had to be some sort of scheme. You should not get pets from there no matter how low the price was. His parents must have been right.
He took a nap on the bus. After about an hour, the bus reached its final stop.
Zhang Zian got off the bus, yawning. He found the "Pet’s Home" breeding base through the map on his cellphone.
From the outside, it was a lot smaller than "Love Lovely Pet." There were a lot less trucks coming in and out.
The sign of "Pet’s Home" was an abstract outline of a cat.
Upon entering the door, he didn’t see any salespeople like Zhang Wanguo, so he had to stop a lady who was trying to go out.
"Excuse me, who should I talk to if I wanted to buy some pets?"
The lady was wearing a white lab coat, a mask on her face, and gloves on her hands. She was carrying a medicine kit; it seemed like she was a vet.
She looked him up and down. "You want to buy pets?"