Plane Supermarket Plane 2: Luoyang Base C10
Thousands of people were crowded at the supermarket entrance, and the seemingly endless line extended into the base. Every household had sent individuals who didn’t need to work to wait in line, and they even brought their own small folding chairs and stools. Some even set up tents and sleeping bags.
The entire base was in a frenzy of activity. Except for those with regular jobs, everyone else was here.
The elderly couldn’t endure standing in line for so long, and even the children ran over to join the excitement. For them, going to the supermarket was like a festival, a rare break from their monotonous daily routine that repeated year after year.
Despite the supermarket’s size, in a base with hundreds of thousands of people, the number of supermarket employees was insufficient. They couldn’t bring in enough people each time, resulting in low efficiency.
Moreover, they shopped too quickly, depleting all the employees’ energy just to restock the shelves, leaving no room for anything else.
Although the supermarket could receive goods in bulk from the system, it couldn’t automatically restock the shelves. This task relied on human labor to take items from the warehouse and arrange them on the shelves.
Maybe just like the protective shields, automatic restocking would only be unlocked once a certain sales threshold was reached.
It wasn’t easy for Cao Er and the others as well. They not only had to answer various questions but also act as guides and help Wu Yan’s group with restocking. Everyone was busy to the point where they didn’t have a moment to spare. In less than half a day, nearly everyone had lost their voices.
After all, with so many people, communication mostly relied on shouting.
The others were not idle either.
Zou Ming and Chen Shu served as cashiers — having combat abilities, they had no qualms about dealing with anyone attempting to leave without paying.
Ye Zhou had to keep a close eye on the surveillance, along with Sarah, just in case there were some petty thieves.
“Rice is out of stock!” Cao Er shouted, “We’ll have to wait for a while before we can restock!”
After Cao Er’s shout, not far away, Wu Yan’s wife also raised her voice, “Cabbage and tomatoes are all sold out!”
But the residents did not disperse in fear that if they left now, they might return later to find nothing left. Instead, they all gathered around the rice bins, clutching large bags of corn cakes, having emptied their entire household stocks.
Not even a few of them thought about buying corn flour to make a profit. Their minds were solely fixated on rice.
Many young people had hardly eaten white rice a few times in their entire lives.
Even though the current supplies were relatively sufficient, when it came to buying, only those who had jobs at the factory could afford to buy some to improve their meals. The deep longing for rice was still ingrained in the hearts of the people. They could always hear the elderly talk about how in peacetime, almost every household in the south used rice as their staple food.
Although rice grains are plain on their own, they turn into plump, translucent jewels after being steamed, radiating hot, soothing steam that seemed capable of instantly comforting the soul. All the past hardships could dissipate in the rising steam.
Cao Er gasped for breath. She couldn’t even force a smile now. Even her forced attempt at one looked worse than tears.
She pointed in a direction and told the people rushing over, “Fresh meat is over there, frozen goods are in that section, and preserved sausages and such products are in that corner.”
As soon as she finished speaking, another person had already reached her.
Cao Er had no choice but to continue guiding them. While she used to lead the way, now she could only point.
The supermarket was swarming with people, making navigation a challenge.
“Don’t forget about clothes!” someone shouted.
Although the factory continued to produce fabric, there were only a few workshops left making clothes. In the past, residents used to buy fabric and make their own clothes or pay someone to do it, but they couldn’t choose the color of the fabric. The factory only produced cloth with the easiest dyes to work with so there was a limited range of colors.
In times of scarcity, people acted as if they didn’t care about the appearance of their clothing.
But now, they had choices, and the prices were still quite affordable. Many people quickly went to the daily necessities area after purchasing rice, vegetables, and meat.
Still the clothing sold in the supermarket was generally of average quality. Although there are definitely a different variety of colors and patterns.
Just like Cao Er Niang’s beach skirt, Ye Zhou felt that it would be a loss not to take advantage of these items. In his original world, they would likely end up buried in storage.
“As for recruiting,” Ye Zhou sipped his milk tea while watching the surveillance, “the advantages are quite apparent, but the disadvantages are also equally obvious.”
The good thing is that soldiers are disciplined, follow regulations, and don’t entertain evil thoughts. And even if they do, those evil thoughts are quickly purged. But the downside is that when soldiers come in, they’re bound to be monitored.
If there’s anything, he’ll tell it to Yang Guoqin.
Ye Zhou didn’t want to be constantly watched.
Sarah nodded. She understood Ye Zhou’s concern and turned to ask, “Should we get those kids who arrived earlier to help?”
“From the looks of them, they probably haven’t gone outside the base, so they’re relatively naive,” Ye Zhou said, with some hesitation. “But they’re not adults yet…”
‘Isn’t this child labor?’ Continued in Ye Zhou’s thoughts.
Sarah replied, “In times like these, you can’t follow the laws of peacetime. Giving them work isn’t exploiting them. It’s helping them.”
She provided an example, “Take ancient times, for instance. Productivity was low, and if every family waited for their children to turn eighteen before letting them work, how many people would starve?”
“You see, in ancient times, many kids started their apprenticeships at the age of twelve or thirteen. Does that strike you as odd?” Sarah asked. “Certainly not, it depends on the social context.”
Ye Zhou sighed and said, “It’s not a matter of whether I accept it or not. I understand the logic. But in our base, there are regulations. Anyone under the age of fifteen is considered a minor and is not allowed to work.”
Sarah said, “…I forgot.”
The two looked at each other.
Ye Zhou suddenly suggested, “Well, we can let them work part-time, combining work and study, and not pay them a salary.”
Sarah looked at Ye Zhou and was speechless for a moment. She didn’t expect the boss to turn into a profiteer so quickly, not even willing to provide wages.
Ye Zhou noticed Sarah’s expression and quickly explained, “I didn’t mean we won’t pay them at all. We can provide meals, and whether they want accommodation is up to them, but we won’t give them money. We’ll offer them equivalent goods instead.”
“Actually, the other employees are in a similar situation. Even though they have savings, those savings can only be used in the supermarket,” Ye Zhou explained.
Sarah understood and replied, “That works. We don’t know when they’ll come next or if they’ll be able to leave.”
Ye Zhou didn’t really mind and said, “If they can’t leave, we can go inside. I haven’t been inside the base yet, and I’m curious.”
He wondered what the interior of the base was like and how it was different from the city in the era he came from. Maybe there wasn’t much difference?
After all, the level of technology in this pre-apocalyptic world was quite similar to his own plane.
“I estimate we can earn quite a bit in these first few days,” Ye Zhou brought up a more relaxed topic. “In the first week, the sales volume might be higher, and then it will gradually decrease. THen eventually it will stabilize.” He added, “I’m not setting my expectations too high. If I can earn a few hundred thousand a day, I’d be satisfied.”
Because of frequent power outages in the base, prices were high, and there was a large profit margin. For instance, items like microwaves and induction cookers were neglected, with hardly anyone buying them.
Someone did ask if there were generators available. Of course, there weren’t. And even if there were, where would they get the fuel?
As for solar-powered generators, the supermarket didn’t have them for sale either.
“How much longer do we have to wait?” Those still in line watched the people coming out with their arms full of packages, their eyes turning red with envy. “They bought so much. Will there be anything left when it’s our turn?”
“Yeah! They should have bought less! What will we buy after they’re done?”
The people further back cast disapproving glances at them. While the people who had just exited the supermarket could only shout back, “They’re not running out of stock! They’re restocking right now! Just a bit slow!”
“Look at me! I didn’t buy that much! Someone just bought 800 kilograms of rice!”
This statement set off a commotion in the crowd, “800 kilograms?! When is he planning to finish all that?!”
“Is he insane?!”
“Can he actually finish so much?”
“Why isn’t there a purchase limit in the supermarket?!”
They all believed the supermarket was government-operated. With essential supplies in short supply, if there were no purchase limits, what would happen to the people further back in line?
“Where is that guy?”
Someone had already asked through gritted teeth.
The customer who bought 800 kilograms of rice was now standing at the back door of the supermarket. He wouldn’t dare to exit through the main entrance. For the sake of these 800 kilograms of rice, he even wore a mask and said to Zhou Wen while passing a cigarette, “Friend, I’ll wait here for a while. My friend will be here soon.”
“This rice isn’t just for my own household,” the customer sighed. “I have many relatives and friends, and my wife works at the Changfeng Base’s factory. I plan to bring some over to her when there’s a convoy, and our child is with her too.”
The Changfeng Base was still much safer than Luo Yang, after all, it wasn’t on the front lines.
Zhou Wen accepted the cigarette. He had seen others smoke before. Although the boss had told them that smoking wasn’t good, he was still curious.
Copying the customer’s actions, Zhou Wen placed the cigarette in his mouth, flicked the lighter, and then… there was no “then.” He didn’t know how to inhale.
The customer asked, “How did you guys apply to come in? Were you in the military before?”
Zhou Wen shook his head. He wasn’t naturally inclined to socialize with people, so after some thought, he replied, “No, it’s the boss who took us in.”
He would always remember how the Immortal had given them food. That food was enough to buy his life, but the Immortal never saw them as servants. Because of this, he felt truly grateful and was willing to give everything he could in return.
The customer was surprised, “It’s not government-assigned work?!”
He was so shocked that he didn’t even notice the cigarette dropping to the ground. He grabbed Zhou Wen’s hand in excitement and said, “Brother, is the supermarket still short of people? How do you think I would fit in? Could you please talk to your boss about it?”
“As long as I can get the job, I’ll give you my first three months’ salary, no, a whole year’s salary!”
“Brother, I have elders and children to support! I haven’t found stable work yet!”
“Are you married? I can introduce you to a good match. There are still plenty of unmarried people in the building where I live!”
“Do you like men or women?”
“Or are you interested in non-binary individuals?”
The customer was practically playing matchmaker for Zhou Wen at that moment.
Ideally, they’d like to send Zhou Wen off to the honeymoon suite right then and there.
Zhou Wen was at a loss for words. He said, “I’m a man, and besides, I have…”
Before he could finish his sentence, the customer interjected, “I know you’re a man! I’m asking about your sexual orientation!”
Zhou Wen: “…”
Sexual orientation? What was that?
He knew he was a man. Did he need to introduce himself to other men?
Was he some sort of monster?
They are not confused. They are Confucian ~~
First chapter of the year for Plane Supermarket!
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