Wang Haitao took out his mobile phone and made a call. Five minutes later, an uncle with a receding hairline ran down and grabbed the hand of a prosperous-looking passer-by, “You’re Mr. Wang, right? Thank you for your help in saving my agency that was facing so much hardship.”
The passer-by said in confusion, "I’m just going to the restaurant next door to eat."
Wang Haitao beckoned and called out, "This way, this way!"
The uncle then realized his mistake, went over to grab Wang Haitao's hand and said, "I'm sorry, so you’re Mr. Wang. You really look like a distinguished man!"
"Take us up to take a look!"
Chen Shi asked in surprise, "You’ve already bought the place?"
"If it’s something you want, then it’s all up to human effort!" Wang Haitao laughed.
"It’s up to your wealth!" Chen Shi corrected.
The agency was pitifully small. There were only two offices connected to each other with a toilet to the side. A positive point was that there was plenty of sunlight. The words "Wan Shi Da Information Consulting Agency" were stuck onto the large floor-to-ceiling window, which let sunlight into the dingy office.
Chen Shi asked, "Are you the only one working?"
"I haven't been able to pay wages and several employees stopped coming. If you want to hire them, I have their personal information here. All of them are retired veterans and can be trusted to be reliable."
"Let me take a look!" Wang Haitao said.
Chen Shi waved his hands desperately. He felt that Wang Haitao was just acting out of impulse, so it was best that he didn’t spend so much money.
After giving them the information and the contract, the owner handed out cigarettes and poured tea. Chen Shi reached out towards the pack of hard Zhonghua, and then pulled his right hand back with his left hand. He said to himself, "Self-control! Self-control!"
"How did it turn out like this? Was business bad?" Wang Haitao asked.
"The pool of clients is fine. But the rent has risen recently, and there are other expenses that we can’t afford. Furthermore, my father’s sick.”
Chen Shi listened and knew in his heart that this was obviously due to mismanagement, but the owner would definitely not say this directly.
Chen Shi whispered to Wang Haitao, "I feel like it’ll be hard for this place to be profitable. If you want to experience this kind of life, I won’t stop you, but I’m guessing that the ownership will be transferred again after a few days."
"Don't abandon me. I don't know anything. At most, I'll be a Watson for you."
"You’ll just be peanut butter!" Chen Shi smiled. He thought for a moment. He didn’t really have much to lose. "Okay, I'll play along with you for a few days. I'll continue driving once it’s over."
"Okay!" Wang Haitao was very happy and said to the owner, "The money has just been paid. You should sign the transfer contract!"
"Ah!" The owner agreed happily.
After the formal transfer, the owner briefed them on some things, packed up and left. Before he left, he wished them well. "I wish that you two will have a prosperous business and make lots of money. If there’s anything you don’t understand, you can contact me.”
"Thank you! Take care." Wang Haitao nodded.
The two sat on the sofa for half an hour, and Wang Haitao asked, "Why are there no clients?"
"How can there be clients without advertising?"
"Yes, advertising!" Wang Haitao made another phone call and instructed his secretary to advertise.
Of course, there wouldn’t be any clients immediately. Chen Shi still continued to run his driving service. Wang Haitao continued to go to work. Early next morning, Wang Haitao called and said excitedly, "Mr. Chen, remember to come to the office today! There are clients!"
Wang Haitao had advertised in a very crude manner. He hired a group of part-time workers yesterday to place advertisements on the cars in the parking lots.
In this digital age, as long as you have money, you can get things done with a single phone call. There were calls coming in today.
Chen Shi went to the office and saw a group of workers arranging furniture and green plants, as well as a refrigerator, coffee machine, water dispenser, computers, photocopier, etc. Chen Shi asked, "Can we even earn enough to cover all these expenses?"
"It’s normal to make a loss during the first three months."
"But it does seem a lot less costly than what other rich people do for entertainment."
"Oh, Mr. Chen, I thought we agreed that you will not mention my wealth again!"
With the new furniture, the office was a lot more comfortable. Just sitting on the sofa and waiting for the phone to ring was a bit boring. Chen Shi asked, "Didn’t you say that there were customers?"
"Last night, I rejected two calls saying that they wanted us to investigate extramarital affairs."
"Oh..." Chen Shi pointed to the window. "I think a treadmill can be set up here. Waiting for the phone to ring is too boring."
"Treadmill? It's better to get more computers."
"Install some games on the computers, put a counter in front, and sell some drinks and instant noodles."
"Won’t this become an Internet cafe?"
The two laughed, and Wang Haitao snapped his fingers and said, "Hey, I think that’s not a bad idea. This shop can be both an Internet cafe and a detective agency. That’s double the profit."
"Hold your horses, Internet cafes are hard to register nowadays."
"Then we can change it to a coffee shop. I’ve observed that there are three coffee shops on this street, indicating that there are customers."
"I feel like you’ve got a bit of a flair for business."
At that time, a call came in, Chen Shi answered, and a young voice asked, "Are you private detectives? Like Mouri Kogoro?"
"We’re not as good as that."
"It's okay. There isn’t a murder in a locked room or anything. My mother hid my New Year's money. She said it was just for safekeeping. I want to buy a game console right now, and she won't give it back to me... It’s so annoying!"
Chen Shi smiled bitterly. "Child, you should report this directly to the police!"
"The police said that they can’t do anything."
"We can’t do anything either!"
"How can you not take your job seriously?"
"You know this expression? Not bad!"
"That's awesome. Study hard and buy whatever game console you want in the future!" After saying that, Chen Shi hung up.
Twenty minutes later, another call came. A low man’s voice said, "My wife has given me a green hat!"
"Congratulations!" Chen Shi hung up the phone.
Wang Haitao smiled and said, "Even if you don’t take the case, your customer service should be better!”
"The next one is for you."
Wang Haitao picked up the phone on the next call and the other party said in a low voice, "Can you help me deliver a batch of goods? If you do, I’ll give you guys a good commission for it."
"What kind of goods is it?"
"Uh, can this be said over the phone? You know! It’s that kind of thing!"
"Sir, we don't do illegal things."
"Fuck, go eat the northwest wind!" The other party hung up the phone angrily.
Chen Shi said, "Write down this number and call the police!"
All morning, they had turned down six calls regarding extramarital affairs, and two calls from people who were trying to find their dogs. Wang Haitao was calculating something with a pen and a piece of paper, and Chen Shi asked, "What are you calculating?"
"Calculating the costs." Wang Haitao laughed. "I divided the advertising costs by the number of calls received. Each phone call is worth 50 yuan. We have wasted over 500 this morning. If it’s still the same amount in the afternoon, adding rent, water, electricity and furniture, we have to take a case that’s worth at least 3,000 yuan to break even."
"That’ll be hard! If we can’t get a single case today, I won’t stay here. I urge you to cut your losses and sell your business or change to another industry.”
"Don't be discouraged. When there’s a will, there’s a way!"
Chen Shi smiled helplessly. However, no matter how much of a loss they were making, it was just a strand of hair from nine oxen for Wang Haitao.
Wang Haitao proposed going out to eat something. At that moment, a phone call came in. Chen Shi answered. The other party was a woman. She asked, "Is this the detective agency? I have an inquiry. Is there a way to get the university entrance exam papers in advance?"
1. They have “soft” and “hard” types of cigarettes. “Soft” means that the cigarettes are packaged in just plastic or paper, but “hard” means they come in a box that you can typically flip open and close. Zhonghua is a well-known Chinese brand of cigarettes.
2. In Chinese, “Watson” and “peanut” are pronounced similarly.
3. A private detective character from the Anime/Manga Detective Conan.
4. “Bei” is a kind of dog-like legendary beast which was supposed to depend on wolves for locomotion. It is used to refer to people colluding with one other to do bad things.
5. It means that people who are similar in nature mix together.
6. Exploiting powerful connections to intimidate people. This originated from the story of the tiger trying to eat the fox, but the fox told the tiger to follow behind him and see how others live in fear of the fox, perhaps even more than they fear the tiger. The tiger followed behind and the other animals were scared by the tiger. However, since the fox was walking in front, to the tiger, it seemed like the animals were afraid of the fox instead.
7. Have nothing to eat. To live off on air. The origin of this comes from The Scholars, which is a Qing Dynasty classical novel.
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