Mobilization of the Whole Village
Upon returning to the village, Yu Qingze first informed Grandpa Chang about purchasing the villagers’ sweet potatoes at a market price of two wen per jin (1 jin = 1.1 pounds), and that he needed two gers and three men to help make the sweet potato noodles. The two gers would receive a daily wage of fifty wen, while the men would receive sixty wen.
After hearing this, Grandpa Chang went to the village to announce the sweet potato purchase and find people to assist. Yu Qingze then went to the village chief’s house to give him the blueprint and took a look at the baby strollers and carts they were making.
“I was just thinking of finding you. We can start selling them tomorrow. Where do you think we should sell them? Can we use the market?” the village chief asked.
Yu Qingze nodded and replied, “The market is a good option. Let’s split into two groups. The other batch can be sold on North Street, near the entrance of the snack shops. People who go there for food generally come from better-off families, and there is a high flow of people traveling north and south, making it easier to sell.”
The village chief expressed some concerns, “Will it affect your business if we place them there? We don’t want to block the entrance of the shop.”
On North Street, almost every shop’s entrance was lined with small stalls, leaving very narrow passageways between them. However, this was permitted by the authorities, who also collected rent for the stall spaces. The village chief was worried that if they placed the carts near Yu Qingze’s shop. it might block the passageways.
“No worries. In order to ensure a spacious entrance without affecting the business inside the shops, I have already rented the stall spaces in front of the snack shops for a long term. It works perfectly for selling the baby strollers,” Yu Qingze explained.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
“Oh, no wonder! I was wondering why the entrance in front of your shop was more spacious than before and wider than others’. So, you rented it, huh?” The village chief suddenly realized.
Yu Qingze nodded and said, “Yes. If the path to the entrance is too narrow, it affects the shop’s image. Sometimes, customers don’t want to come in when they see a crowded entrance. Moreover, many customers are traders who usually carry large luggage. They need a place to temporarily store their belongings.”
The village chief nodded repeatedly and exclaimed, “You’ve thought it through. So, how should we set the price?”
Yu Qingze asked the village chief about the approximate cost price, and then they discussed together to determine a suitable price. Finally, they decided to go and sell the next day.
Afterward, Yu Qingze took out the blueprint of the bunk bed and explained to the village chief how it should look.
The village chief and his two sons looked at the blueprint, their eyes lighting up. Upon hearing Yu Qingze’s words, Dajian exclaimed in delight, “This is great! It will be very useful for families with many children.”
Yu Qingze nodded and said to the village chief, “If there’s enough time, could you please add a few drawers underneath the bed? Large ones, to store clothes and such. Also, a thin wooden board should be placed separately on top of the bed frame to prevent dust from falling in.”
“Okay, that sounds good. It saves space,” the village chief nodded. Then, he said to Dajian and the others, “Tomorrow, Dajian, you and your brother take your wives and go sell the strollers. I will stay at home and make the bunk beds.”
“Okay, Father.” “Got it.” The two brothers agreed.
With the matter settled, Yu Qingze returned home and saw villagers carrying sweet potatoes waiting in the courtyard of Chang Le’s house for him to come back and weigh them.
Almost every household grew a lot of sweet potatoes. In summer, sweet potato vines were the main source of food for pigs, and in winter, sweet potatoes became the staple food for every family. Since everyone grew them, they didn’t sell well in the market and were quite cheap. Now that Yu Qingze said he would purchase them at market prices, everyone was happy. They set aside sweet potatoes for winter consumption and next year’s planting, and brought the surplus to sell.
By the end of the day, the villagers had brought over almost all the sweet potatoes they wanted to sell, and a large pile accumulated in the main room.
In the evening, Grandpa Chang called the hired workers he had found, and after Yu Qingze inspected them and found no major issues, he explained the requirements to them and told them to start work the next day.
On the following day, the workers arrived on time. Yu Qingze first explained the tasks and assigned roles. Then, he arranged for everyone to pick the sweet potatoes, wash them by the creek, bring the cleaned ones to the communal grinding stone near the village well, chop them on the spot, and grind them into a slurry. Afterward, they filtered the slurry twice and poured it into fermentation jars for sedimentation.
With the establishment of a streamlined workflow, one of the gers washed the sweet potatoes by the creek, while the other specialized in chopping them. Among the men, one was responsible for picking and handling the sweet potatoes and the initial slurry, while the other two were in charge of grinding the slurry. Yu Qingze and Grandpa Chang filtered the mixture at home.
Yu Qingze prepared several large fermentation jars specifically for sedimenting the slurry. Two days later, when the sedimentation was complete, they took it out in batches and dried it in the sun. After drying the starch, they finished grinding all the sweet potatoes into slurry and began making sweet potato flour.
It was only at this point that the villagers realized they were purchasing sweet potatoes to make noodles and were amazed to discover that sweet potatoes could be used to make noodles.
On the other hand, during these days, the baby strollers made by the village chief’s family started selling in the city. More than 70% of the buyers were city dwellers, with a small portion being rural residents. The rest were taken by traders to various parts of the country.
For a while, baby strollers became popular in the city. Young couples and elderly couples could often be seen strolling with their babies and toddlers in the streets, pushing the strollers.
Old Madam Cai chatted with Madam Zhao and regretfully said, “It’s a pity we didn’t have these carts before. We used to carry them by hand, and it was so tiring…”
Madam Zhao also sighed and looked at his youngest son, saying, “Yes, if only they had come out four years earlier. Now, we don’t need them anymore.”
The youngest son of Madam Zhao, a little boy, ran back and pointed to the strollers outside, saying, “Father, a cart! I want to ride too.”
Madam Zhao: “…That’s for babies. You can’t fit in it.”
The little boy pouted, “No, I want to ride. I want to ride, Father, buy it!”
When the village chief mentioned it to Yu Qingze, he laughed and said that Madam Zhao couldn’t resist the demands of his little son and ended up buying one as well.
Yu Qingze had an idea and said to the village chief, “In a couple of days, I’ll give you another blueprint. This time, the cart will be specifically designed for children under four years old.”
The village chief’s eyes lit up as he asked, “What kind of cart?”
Yu Qingze smiled and said, “A baby tricycle. But this one will have higher requirements for the wheels. They need to be much larger. When the time comes, you can try making one as a test.”
Two more days passed, and Yu Qingze handed the blueprint for the baby tricycle to the village chief. At this point, their first batch of sweet potato flour had been dried.
Yu Qingze asked Grandpa Chang to take a few workers and go to a neighboring village to purchase another batch of sweet potatoes to continue making the second batch.
Yu Qingze set aside a day and brought the first batch of sweet potato flour to the shop. He then taught Brother Le and Brother Chang how to make hot and sour noodles. The key to this snack, hot and sour noodles, was getting the flavor right. As long as they mastered it, the taste would definitely be excellent.
He taught them the step-by-step process and watched as each of them successfully made it three times. Then, Yu Qingze called Brother Chang and Jiabao into the shop and explained some important points for launching the hot and sour noodles the next day. Afterward, he returned home.