Chapter 419: Gutter oil
After easing their intake of wine and simply chatting instead, this dinner was still ongoing at 8pm.
Two middle-aged men wearing large leather aprons entered the restaurant.
As the main door was still closed at this time, they should have entered from the small back door. They were clearly acquaintances, though, not strangers.
“Having a drink, Boss Xiang, Boss Niu?” One of them asked.
“Yeah. How about sitting down and having a drink too?” Mr Xiang smiled and asked politely.
“No need, no need,” The two waved their hands in refusal, “We just came to congratulate you on what happened here in the morning. It’s spread everywhere outside! The capabilities of your two families is something that no one could ignore...those two definitely won’t dare to cause trouble for you again.”
“Oh, it’s just enough that our store can continue doing business,” Mrs Xiang said politely.
“Well, why wouldn’t it? Of course it can! And your business will definitely boom!” They said enthusiastically, “We came because we thought that since you will be resuming business tomorrow, how about we help to clear up the stuff in the kitchen? Also, can we continue collecting it in the future?”
“Well of course! Why not? Go on then. Please do a clean job of it! We’ve all had quite a bit to drink, so we won’t be helping you out,” Old Niu waved and responded.
The two thanked them before going to the kitchen with two large buckets in tow.
Finding someone to dispose of their hogwash was actually very normal for restaurants as virtually all of them would be approached regarding this. Xu Tingsheng did not find it any suspicious at all. Still, he just casually inquired, “Are they running a stock breeding farm?”
“...I don’t think so. I’ve never heard them say anything about that,” Old Niu frowned and answered after a moment’s thought.
“What are they collecting that swill for then?” Xu Tingsheng asked curiously.
“God knows. Not only do they collect the swill everyday, they even collect the oil slick from the grease traps in the drainage systems below...I don’t know what it’s used for...but who cares, anyway. It isn’t worth anything anyway. It’s fine since it’s convenient for both us and them.”
Mrs Niu then added, “The swill of quite a number of restaurants here are all collected by them.”
“Not running stock breeding farms, yet collecting swill...more importantly, they even collect the oil slick from grease traps…” A faint thought suddenly flashed through Xu Tingsheng’s woozy head as something now came to mind…
“This couldn’t be, right? The large scale media reports seem to have come during around 2009 or 2010...could it be that the industry already exists now? And in Yanzhou too?” Xu Tingsheng wondered.
What had come to mind for him was gutter oil.
As this was something which concerned everybody, Xu Tingsheng had naturally paid attention to the relevant articles in his previous life. He did not know much about it, though, only knowing that it actually went on in quite a few cities. Several reports on it had continually been published in the years ahead as a reporter had even died because of this.
He did not know that this hidden industry had actually already existed some decades ago, just that it had not yet been exposed by the media at the time.
“They wouldn’t happen to be selling oil too?” Xu Tingsheng feigned casualness as he asked.
“They don’t sell it themselves,” Mr Xiang said, “Still, they did introduce us to someone who sells oil at a very affordable price.”
It was highly probable that this was the case then. This bunch of people was not really covering things up much at all with this still hidden industry of theirs. The ones responsible for collecting the swill had introduced those who sold the oil...there was merely a single step that existed in the chain.
“Are we using the oil that they introduced then?”
Xu Tingsheng had already begun feeling a bit nauseous on hearing Mr Xiang say that the other party’s price was very affordable. Also, this was not a minor problem that just concerned him alone...forcibly tolerating his nausea, Xu Tingsheng rather hastily enquired further into this.
“No, we’re not using that,” Mr Xiang said, “We were indeed moved when hearing the price, but I took a look at it afterwards and it didn’t even have a brand…I daren’t use it. After all, we’re using it for food that goes into people’s mouths.”
Xu Tingsheng sighed in relief, exclaiming, “That’s good then. It’s good that youre not using it. Better not use it, really.”
While he himself did not consciously realise it, Mr and Mrs Xiang and the Niu couple all found his reaction somewhat strange.
“What is it, Tingsheng? Do you think that there is something wrong with that oil? Mrs Xiang asked.
Xu Tingsheng opened his mouth but closed it again, hesitating for a time. It was already basically confirmed now that there was a group of people making gutter oil here. Still, it was precisely because of this that, thinking of that dead reporter and considering the potential risks, Xu Tingsheng dared not let Mr and Mrs Xiang participate in this matter. At the present moment, he did not even wish for them to learn of the gist of it.
“No, it’s nothing. I just agree with what Uncle said. Being in the food business, even if we have to spend a bit more, it is really most important that our customers can eat healthily and with a peace of mind,” Xu Tingsheng said, relaxing his expression somewhat.
“You can rest assured on that,” Mr Xiang smiled and replied, “The two restaurants next door both seem to be using that oil, but we don’t. Still, haven’t we always been earning anyways? Our business is better than theirs too.”
“They’re both using that oil?” Xu Tingsheng sought confirmation again.
“Yeah. When these two people introduced it, they said that those two restaurants are both using it. They’re very satisfied with it too as no problem has cropped up for them when using it,” Old Niu chimed in.
On hearing this, Xu Tingsheng’s knowledge on the situation changed somewhat once again.
Three restaurants at one road junction, and two of them were using it. Even if this was only a special case, it was still sufficient to show that there might already be quite a few businesses currently using gutter oil.
The conclusion: Of all the businesses that Hucheng was linked with via ‘Are You Hungry’ in Yanzhou and the various other cities, a portion of them would almost certainly be related to this…
Their takeaway, Hucheng’s platform...gutter oil…
“We became unwitting accomplices without even realising it...I wish to expose this filthy hidden industry prematurely,” Whether it was out of civic duty and societal responsibility or Hucheng’s own sake, Xu Tingsheng did not have to hesitate very much at all. He would not be waiting for that courageous reporter. He would utilise his own abilities to expose this dark side of society earlier than would otherwise occur.
As for the potential risks, the vengeance of these bands of criminals was already virtually of negligible threat to Xu Tingsheng now.
With his abilities, he would be able to resolve it relatively easily. As for his ability to expose things, as he had Weibo whose user base already surpassed 120 million and was extremely active, Xu Tingsheng virtually surpassed the government and any media entities completely in this respect.
Xu Tingsheng resolved himself inwardly, though no sign of this could visibly be seen on his face.
Meanwhile, the Niu and Xiang families had sensed nothing, having already changed the topic.
“When those two restaurants cannot operate anymore, I say that we rent their places and expand, making a huge restaurant,” A rather inebriated Old Niu proclaimed ambitiously.
“What for? It’s just the same couple of dishes anyway. Wouldn’t it still be the same if the place is bigger? There’re only so many potential customers; and it’s not like they can increase by all that much. It isn’t economical,” Mr Xiang clearly disagreed with Old Niu.
“But bigger is surely better, right? You can’t be thinking of running such a small restaurant your entire life, not wanting to grow all? I still want to be a big boss!” Old Niu rebutted dissatisfiedly.
“If we haven’t anything novel, it doesn’t matter even if it’s big. You’re just thinking too far over your head,” Mr Xiang was dissatisfied too.
The two inebriated men clashed in their differing opinions.
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