Storage unit 102 was opened—a pile of paper boxes was displayed for all to see.
Someone looked into it on tiptoes and saw that some of the paper boxes were damaged. They caught sight of the chinaware within it.
A young woman quickly shone her Wolf Eyes LED Flashlight into the damaged paper box. Glimmers and flashes of light shone back at her. It was definitely chinaware.
Li Du knew that it would be almost impossible for them to get the storage unit.
When everyone had taken their turns to look at the storage unit, the auctioneer raised his hand and yelled, his words rapid like gun-fire. "Come, come, come! Come over here. You all know what's in this unit. I must raise the starting price. Let's start with 500 dollars! 500 dollars, 500 dollars…"
"How do we go about this?" Hans asked quietly.
Li Du smiled wryly. "I think that it's worth quite a bit. We won't have wasted this trip if we can get it for 5,000 dollars."
Hans's eyes glowed green. "There's an antique in there?"
Having earned a large sum from the antique clocks, he was especially alert when it came to anything related to antiques.
Li Du shook his head. "That I can't tell. All I know is that this storage unit is worth quite a lot."
With the rising popularity of China's antique chinaware around the world, the chinaware in the storage would no doubt spark a bidding war. The starting price of 500 dollars wasn't high. The treasure hunters fell over each other in their rush to bid.
"Five hundred dollars. Me, Old Charles, look over here!"
"I'll pay 600 dollars! This storage unit is mine!"
"The Cerci Family will pay 700 dollars—Okay, 800 dollars! We'll pay 800 dollars!"
"Here, look here, 2,500 dollars! I'll pay 2,500 dollars!"
The price rose rapidly. It rose from 500 to 2,500 dollars in less than twenty bids, and the auctioneer hadn't even said a word!
The auctioneer drank in the sight greedily. His earnings were based on commission, directly related to the selling price of the storage units.
Hans was stunned by the mad rush of treasure hunters. "What is this? It's just some chinaware. You can find cheap chinaware for a few dollars in any general store. Anyway, it might not be Chinese porcelain."
Li Du shook his head. "It's not Chinese porcelain."
The porcelain they were referring to wasn't the chinaware mass-produced by China nowadays, but antique Chinese porcelainware.
By the time the price reached 2,500 dollars, most of the treasure hunters had calmed down. Many shook their heads, pulling out of the auction.
Hans felt that now was a good time to join in. So he raised his hand and tried his old trick of raising the price drastically. "Five thousand dollars!"
Hearing his price, the auctioneer was overjoyed. He pointed at Hans and said loudly, "5,000 dollars 5,000 dollars 5,000 dollars! The price is now 5,000 dollars! Very good, very good! Can I have 5,100 dollars? 5,100 dollars! 5,100 dollars…"
"F*ck, 6,000 dollars!" The woman who had shone her torch to confirm that it was chinaware cursed and raised her price.
The treasure hunters who had calmed down grew agitated again.
"Sh*t. It's those two from Flagstaff. They never miss a good unit."
"Cunning China Li, and that idiot, Big Fox. They're willing to pay 5,000 dollars? What's in that storage unit?"
"Let me take another look. Maybe there's something we didn't notice earlier!"
"8,000 dollars! I'll pay 8,000 dollars!" someone bid. Li Du shook his head. This wasn't just raising the price—it was absurd!
Hans and Li Du's participation added sparks to the auction's already heated atmosphere. The price had already exceeded the storage's value. Many of treasure hunters seemed quite mad.
All they did was place a bid at 5,000 dollars. The treasure hunters rushed to place their bids, quickly bringing the price up to 10,000 dollars.
At this, Li Du shook his head. Picking up Ah Meow, he said, "Let's go. It's meaningless to stay here."
Someone next to them glared at the two provokingly. "Hey, king of the treasure hunters of Flagstaff, come on. Go on, bid! If you pay 20,000 dollars, then this storage unit will definitely be yours!"
"The storage unit is the Cerci Family's!" a black-haired youth cried out arrogantly. "Don't even think about taking it for 20,000 dollars!"
Li Du flipped the middle finger at them. "I could spend 50,000 dollars today, but I'm not going to on these worthless storage units."
They pushed their way around everyone. The price of the storage unit was still climbing. By the time they made their way out of the crowd, the price had reached 14,000 dollars.
The treasure hunters seemed convinced that there was antique porcelain ware in the storage unit, but they would definitely regret buying it at that price. It was true that the storage unit contained porcelain, and a lot of it, but not a single piece of it was an antique.
Li Du had wanted to buy it for the quantity. Perhaps each piece could sell for a few dozen dollars, and a few hundred pieces of them could definitely bring in more than 10,000 dollars.
At a price over 10,000 dollars, they would be buying the storage unit at a loss.
Leaving the storage company, Hans sighed. "D*mn it. We came to Phoenix for nothing."
Li Du shrugged. "Who says? Let's go to a BMW dealership."
Hans was confused. "A BMW dealership? What for?"
"To buy a car, obviously," said Li Du. "I know what I'm looking for. Let's call a cab."
"Shouldn't we be buying a new pickup?" asked Hans.
"Yes, yes, we need a pickup, but now, I need a BMW," said Li Du. "Trust me, Big Fox. I need to buy a BMW."
"Even so, we can't go to a BMW store—do you want to get ripped off?" asked Hans. "Let's go and look for a regular car dealership."
Buying cars at 4S stores was the norm in China, but not so in America. America also had 4S stores, but here, they were known as flagship stores—these sold one specific brand of cars. Naturally, they followed all 4S standards.
The people in America didn't often go to flagship stores to buy cars. Their products were expensive, their policies rigid and inflexible, and only one brand could be found in each store, leaving one with few choices. It was way more convenient to go to a regular car dealership instead.
Hans had hung around Phoenix for a long time and was very familiar with the place. After making sure Li Du was interested in buying a BMW, Hans brought him straight to a store in the suburbs.
The car dealer's shop was very big. It had been converted into an exhibition hall from an abandoned garage, but the decorations were grand, so it didn't look bad at all.
A large sign hung above the entrance, and on it were the words "Car Dealer." Simple and straight to the point.
When they walked in, a young man wearing gold-rimmed glasses, a tux and leather shoes approached them. He was very polite. "Good day, sir. May I know what car you're interested in?"
"A BMW Z4," said Li Du. "I want the latest model in red."
"Over here, sir. Please follow me. My name is Carlson, you can call me Carl. How should I address you?"
"I'm Li. This is my friend, Hans. How much will a brand-new BMW Z4 with a 3.0 Turbo engine and premium features cost?"
The young man smiled. "The IP is 48,000 dollars. The OTD will be about 56,000 dollars."
IP meant "invoice price" while OTD was short for "out-the-door price," which was the actual amount needed to buy the car. The young man gave both prices because, although the out-the-door price didn't vary much between stores, the IP price did.
The manufacturer sold the same car model to the dealers at different prices. In this case, the accessories were usually different. The higher the IP price, the more reliable the production and the better the accessories.