SWFM 36

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Chapter 36: The examination results are released

 

Xu Tingsheng, Fu Cheng and Huang Yaming spent their next two days together, sometimes meeting up with some of their other friends and classmates, such as Song Ni, as well. Once, Xu Tingsheng encountered Yao Jing. Luckily, as had been in his previous life, they could still face their breakup straightforwardly, conversing normally and happily.

Actually, whether it was his previous life or this one, Xu Tingsheng could never understand whether Yao Jing had truly been able to let it go or if she was just used to hiding her emotions. This girl actually also had such a delicate side to herself, just that she seldom revealed it before others.

Just like how her perspective on the big words Xu Tingsheng had said about making it into the top 20 ranks of the entire year had been different from others, just like how she had come over to teach Xu Tingsheng on her own accord the day after Xu Tingsheng had flunked his Mathematics test, just like how…

Still, Xu Tingsheng knew that he had best not get himself involved in relationships that he was destined to be unable to bear. Just like this was enough.

Most of the trio’s time was spent with a few bottles of wine lying on the dams of the riverside roads, drinking and chatting. The break following their graduation from twelfth grade was a very long one, but the countdown towards their probable parting still dwindled as the days went by.

All awaited the release of the results of the university entrance examinations.

Two days later, on the evening of 23th June, Mr Xu returned. Rather than returning alone, he had brought back five people with him.

These five people all hailed from Libei, having been doing different jobs in large scale supermarkets in the provincial capital Xihu City. At the same time that he had worked in various supermarkets, Mr Xu had also been attempting to gather talent. Actually, sometimes, talent really had nothing much to do with qualifications. Being familiar with a particular profession was itself a form of ability; having spent quite some time in that profession, as long as you had not been lazing about, you would thereby have become a talent.

There would always be people from outside the industry coming and joining in, and to them, you would be naught but a talent.

The process of inviting people over had not been very successful, because few were willing to move from the provincial capital to the backward Libei. Therefore, Mr Xu had set his sights on those who had been born in Libei, and those who were slightly older at that.

Libei was a very livable little city. With a population of less than 200 thousand, its water was clear and its forest lush, with little crime and few natural disasters. When young, people loved to roam about and explore. However, having grown older, they would generally feel like settling down somewhere for good. The wages that Mr Xu offered were not any lower than those in the provincial capital, and he was offering them a chance to settle permanently back down in Libei as well. It was with this that some who tired of the high-tempo life in big cities and had also been frightened greatly by SARS had decided to pledge their allegiance.

In terms of wages, if you earned the same amount in both Libei and the provincial capital, it was actually equivalent to your income being more than twice as high here in Libei.

Truthfully speaking, the ages of these people were all on the high side, and their ability could not be said to be that high as well. Still, amongst them, there was one who had worked as a cashier, one who had worked in stock keeping, one who had been in charge of managing shopping trolleys and also one who had been in charge of overseeing an entertainment area for children. This was already enough. To the Xu Family that was taking its first steps into the large scale supermarket industry, they were naught but talents.

Amongst them was a woman who was close to thirty years of age. Mr Xu said that she had nearly become a manager. What did nearly mean here?

It meant that her abilities were almost sufficient, just that she had fallen behind in the competition for being promoted. This woman had agreed the most straightforwardly. On the one hand, she already no longer wanted to continue working in that supermarket. On the other, her child had been in Libei all this time. With them seldom meeting, any much more and it might even reach the extent of the mother not being recognised by her own child.

She had originally wanted to send for her child after she had become a manager, sending him to study over there despite the costs for such perhaps being a little high. In the end, not having been successfully promoted, she had been unable to steel her resolve. In this era, the difficulty and costs for children studying in a foreign land were shockingly high.

On the very day she had learnt of her failure, Mr Xu had found her, asking her: Why don’t you come over to my place and be a manager there; you’ll be able to take care of your child as well.

She had been scared greatly by this fellow villager of hers who had initially been performing manual labour at that same supermarket. What, could you also be a big boss?

Mr Xu had introduced the situation of his supermarket, and she had agreed the very next day. The following day, she had resigned from her job. It was Mr Xu who had stayed on in that supermarket for yet two days more, ‘stealing’ away a cashier before leaving.

Xu Tingsheng approved greatly of his father’s actions. Entering a new industry for the first time, this was the easiest, most convenient way to get started.

Xu Tingsheng accompanied Mr Xu in throwing a welcome party for their new workers. They conversed happily over a table of wine, talking about how they had still thought about taking care of their fellow villager a bit more after having first seen Mr Xu, not having thought that two days later, this fellow villager would suddenly ask ‘why don’t you come work with me’, striking them all dumbfounded.

Then, the fellow villager had turned into their boss.

After the meal, the Xu father and son were both slightly tipsy as they staggered messily along towards the supermarket. The renovation of the supermarket was currently being rushed along day and night. Still, because there were their own people there, they didn’t have to worry too much about it.

As they walked, Mr Xu told Xu Tingsheng about the supermarket that he had already established a relationship of cooperation with. From his mouth emerged a name which stood out as rather obtrusive to Xu Tingsheng.

“Joining an alliance?” Xu Tingsheng asked.

“It’s cooperation,” Mr Xu said, “They will be setting a standard price for and supplying us with a portion of their goods as we just build up our brand. The only condition is that we pay for the incoming goods first, not returning to them what we are unable to sell, also bearing the cost of the logistics on our own.”

Mr Xu had once again stepped into a completely new industry through the most convenient method. What Xu Tingsheng was curious about was why the other side would have agreed to conditions such as these.

Only after hearing Mr Xu’s explanation did Xu Tingsheng understand that this matter actually had to do with the other party wanting to clear their stock. Due to SARS, the warehouses of their large scale supermarket chain had already been overloaded to an extremely terrifying extent. Mr Xu’s appearance had therefore been like encountering rain following a long drought, meeting the God of Fortune whilst escaping a famine.

The two had only signed a one year contract. Mr Xu had already confirmed that as long as he achieved some level of popularity for their supermarket with this, various organisations would then come looking for them on their own accord. At that time, not only would they not have to worry about finding suppliers, they would even be able to ask for an entry fee from those who wanted to sell their goods here.

Xu Tingsheng found his father having managed to achieve all of this in but a little over ten days to be rather inconceivable. In having decided to run a supermarket before, it had basically been due to a moment’s passion, being a spur of the moment thing. What he had seen had been the opportunity that lay before them, with him not having sufficiently considered the matter of the relevant details. Not having been involved in the supermarket industry in his previous life, he didn’t really know about these things, such that had he been asked to handle them, he would not have known where to start at all.

Luckily, Mr Xu once again demonstrated his competence. The precious jewel no longer obscured by dust, it emanated dazzling radiance all around.

Xu Tingsheng felt like there was really not much difference whether he was involved in the development of this supermarket any further. Perhaps…a name still had to be selected for it.

Afterwards, the father and son went to the site of the renovation. Later on, they accompanied Xu Tingsheng’s two uncles as well as all those involved in the renovation in eating supper. These renovation masters were really much fiercer in drinking than those five people previously. In the end, father and son both fell chaotically and completely drunk and had to be supported over to a nearby motel to stay.

When Xu Tingsheng awoke the next day, it was already noon. As he pulled out his phone, he found that he had accumulated several tens of missed calls in the meantime. There were some from Old Zhou, some from Huang Yaming, Fu Cheng and some other classmates and friends as well as some from numbers that weren’t even recorded in his phone, the identity of the callers unknown.

Xu Tingsheng shook his father awake. Following that, as Mr Xu took a look at his phone, he discovered that there was also a large batch of missed calls on it.

Father and son exchanged looks. Something couldn’t have cropped up, right?

Xu Tingsheng hurriedly dialed Fu Cheng’s number.

Before he had even opened his mouth to speak, Fu Cheng was already roaring on the other end, “The hell, where have you died to? Not answering though everyone was calling the entire night; have you checked your examination results? How did you do?”

Around 11.30pm on 23th June, the university entrance examination results for Jianhai Province were opened for checking. At that time, Xu Tingsheng and Mr Xu had already been drunk silly.

“It can’t be that…you flunked and don’t want to pick up the phone, right? …Sorry.” Seeing how Xu Tingsheng was silent for a long time, Fu Cheng apologised rather uneasily.

Xu Tingsheng hurriedly explained, “That’s not it, I still haven’t checked them. I got drunk yesterday…I’ll hang up first; I’ll call you after I’ve checked them.”

As he hung up the phone, Mr Xu exclaimed frantically from beside him, “The results are out? Check them, quickly.”

“Right, check.”

Xu Tingsheng picked up his phone before pausing again, “My entry proof is still at home. Do I need it for checking my results?”

“Let’s go.”

The Xu father and son hurriedly booked out of their motel room before pedalling furiously back towards home.


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