Pet King - Chapter 32
"I’d like to buy a cat. On the forum, I saw that your store’s British Shorthair was quite nice, and other customers have said you provided quality cats. I am also interested in purchasing one of your British Shorthairs, but I would still like to ask you to help me think about this decision. You can laugh all you want, but my husband and I have no children, and this cat will be like my child. It will help take my mind off my loneliness. In your experience, for my situation, is the British Shorthair a good choice for me?"
Zhang Zian guessed the woman to be in her late thirties based on her appearance. When she mentioned that she didn’t have any children, she seemed sad, so it seemed to be a topic that should not be broached.
"What’s your budget?" he asked.
"Um… Around four or five thousand, but a lower price would be best…" she answered vaguely.
"The British Shorthairs I sell are normally ¥6000. If you also want to buy kitty litter, a cage, and food, you might consider some different types of cats," he responded.
"Six thousand?" Her eyebrows went up in shock while she backed away. "¥6000 is… it’s too expensive."
She had seen British Shorthairs at the Wang Haige forum, but she had never known the prices. From her conversation with Liu Wenying about her Siamese cat, she knew that a Siamese cat cost around ¥4000, so she had guessed a British Shorthair would be more or less the same, falling perfectly in her price range. Never in a million years would she have thought that a British Shorthair would cost her six thousand!
It wasn’t that she couldn’t afford to spend six thousand, but that she saved wherever she could to keep her family and household running.
"Sir, to tell you the truth, six thousand is way too much for me." She started to bargain for a better price, because she knew that the cats from this store were high quality. If she could get the price down, she would be willing to buy from here.
She was serious as she said, "Before I came here, I looked online. For six thousand, you could buy two British Shorthairs! Even at other pet stores, no one else sells these cats for six thousand!"
Zhang Zian calmly waited for her to finish her little rant before pointing to his clothes and saying, "Look at my shirt, I also bought it online. It was somehow a brand-name piece. The pictures and descriptions showed ‘apricot yellow,’ but only when it arrived did I realize that it was a khaki color. The seller wouldn’t let me return it because he said there were always slight variations in color between a computer screen and reality. It didn’t matter that much, so I still kept the shirt, since it was cheap. If worst came to worst, I’d throw it out. If you buy an expensive pet, would you be willing to throw it out?"
He was on a roll as he continued, "Online shopping may be cheap, but you can’t tell from photos or videos the shine of a pet’s fur, the elasticity of its muscles, or the light in its eyes. You can’t tell if there are problems with its nose and ear secretions, whether or not it’s healthy, its attitude—whether it’s friendly or irritable—or if the pet shown in the photo is even the pet you will receive."
He pointed to the seemingly crestfallen Samoyed. "When the farm sent new litters of puppies, the nearby pet shops screened them and kept those of the highest quality. Could the farm throw the lower grade puppies away? Of course not, they can’t afford to do that, so they put them online, for lower-level sellers to buy them, or they sell them to pet hunters, who sell the puppies at extremely high prices. Cheap things are cheap for a reason, just as expensive things are expensive for a reason. I advise you not to buy a pet online."
It wasn’t as if Deng Jie had never shopped online, of course she had been fooled by the internet at times. She agreed with what Zhang Zian said because it was relevant and true. She had heard that even for clothes and shoes, the quality of the final products would depend on where they were sold, such as via the internet or in a store.
"I’ve looked at different pet shops, and yes, they’re more expensive than online shopping, but they are all considerably cheaper than yours! Even the Stars Pet Chain Supermarket, that large business, is still cheaper than yours!" she stiffly replied.
When she brought up the Stars Pet Chain Supermarket, the mysterious man who had been looking through the pet-supplies aisle turned toward their conversation.
This wasn’t the first time Zhang Zian had heard of the Stars Pet Chain Supermarket, and it puzzled him why people compared his meager little store with such a giant chain when their operations were so different.
He chuckled and said, "I’m not very clear on how the Stars Pet Chain Supermarket got their prices so low, nor have I ever been there. Realistically speaking, such a large-scale company should have much higher operating costs than mine… I’ll give you an example. If you buy an antique, you’re going to find an expert to help you examine and appraise it. If you buy a new house, you’ll want to consult a realtor and inspector to help you analyze and inspect the house. When you buy a pet, of course you don’t want to buy a pig in a poke and end up regretting it. I’m just here to help you check, to help you inspect the pet ahead of time, to see if the pet is healthy or not and whether or not it is good-tempered. The extra money you’re paying is for the insight I deliver to this deal. Whether you think the money is worth it or not is absolutely up to you."
At that point, Zhang Zian predicted that she wasn’t going to buy a cat right away. The customers who were too hung up on the price never treated their pets as a luxury. Even so, he wasn’t planning on lowering the price, but was the knowledge not worth the money?
Deng Jie considered this proposition left and right, but she couldn’t make up her mind.
"If it’s alright with you, I’d like to go home and consider your offer a bit longer." She couldn’t decide what to do, so she decided to discuss this with her husband.
"That’s fine, feel free to come back any time! A new delivery of pets will be coming in soon, maybe you can take a look at them next time you’re here!"
For the first time, Zhang Zian owned his own pet shop, and he worried that he had taken too large of steps and it would be dangerous. With the pets sold one by one, Zhang Zian’s reputation grew, and he became more and more confident. He planned on bringing in even more pets next time.
Once Deng Jie had left, Zhang Zian tried to greet the mysterious man, but he simply walked out of the store with Deng Jie, albeit on a different path.
He scratched his head in confusion and said aloud to himself, "What was that man doing?"
The Samoyed whined, lying down on all fours in its display case. It whined at a low pitch, ears twitching and seeking comfort.
Originally, Zhang Zian planned to bring out the Lucky Cat when there were no more customers, but he saw how sad the Samoyed looked, so Zhang Zian opened the cage cover, picked him up, and let the Samoyed stroll around the shop. However, he had to watch over it carefully in case the Samoyed urinated or pooped inside the store. If a customer stepped in dog poop right as they walked through the door, Zhang Zian would get in trouble!
At around 4 o’clock, Zhang Zian guessed there would be no more customers, so he was planning on closing the store early.
Just as he reached the door, two customers appeared on the other side, one around the age of forty and one around ten, looking like father and son.
The boy was still in his school uniform and was a little chubby, his little face red. He was wiping tears off his face as he walked in, his eyes and nose red from crying. The father didn’t appear to be too happy, but he didn’t seem to have a choice but to walk in with the boy.
"Are you the owner of this store?" he asked.
"Yes, I am." Zhang Zian nodded.