Plane Supermarket Plane 2: Luoyang Base C13
“Looking for me?” Feng Ling was a bit puzzled. She didn’t know Chen Gang, and upon sizing him up in terms of height and age, she realized that she couldn’t just leave the service center or follow him to a remote location.
Feng Ling made her way to the door. “What’s going on?”
Her companions followed her outside.
In the service center, these kids were all self-reliant, and they had learned to stick together. After all, a group of determined little rascals, with no one to back them up, seemed like easy targets for anyone. It was only by holding onto each other like this that they could muster some confidence and stand tall.
Chen Gang didn’t treat these kids in front of him as mere children either. Living in such an environment, growing up too quickly was the norm.
Children who lack proper care and affection are often forced to mature prematurely.
“Longsheng Supermarket, you guys are aware of it, right?” Chen Gang lowered his voice. He didn’t want others to know about the supermarket’s recruitment. Although he hadn’t planned to involve all his relatives, what if? What if the supermarket still needed people? Then there was hope for his relatives as well.
Letting his relatives apply on their own, even though he couldn’t provide them with any special privileges, at least he could stay informed about the job opportunities. Everyone understands the principle that “opportunity favors those who are near.”
Feng Ling nodded, and Chen Gang leaned in closer, saying, “I’ll share something with you.”
He could tell that Feng Ling was the leader among the children. Sometimes, the hierarchy among children can be even more complex than among adults. Especially among adolescents, they are more susceptible to the influence of “authority.”
And at this moment, Feng Ling was taking on the role of “authority.”
As long as things were explained clearly to her, all would be well.
Feng Ling took two steps toward Chen Gang, maintaining a distance of half a meter between them. In a voice only they could hear, Chen Gang said, “The supermarket is hiring temporary workers. The boss asked me to check if you guys are interested. The pay can be used to exchange for goods from the supermarket, and you can choose what you want at the end of the month. They provide meals at the store, but not accommodation.”
Chen Gang was confident that Feng Ling wouldn’t refuse, but he still asked, “If you need time to think about it, I’ll head back for now and come back tomorrow to ask you again.”
Feng Ling’s eyes widened, her body trembling ever so slightly. She decisively exclaimed, “No need to wait! I’m in.”
“You guys go with him,” Feng Ling turned to her companions, her voice stern. “Take care of yourselves.”
As long as they didn’t take a secluded path, with this many people, even if Chen Gang was a capable man, he couldn’t fend off multiple attackers at once.
“Lingling, you’re not going?” Her companions had taken a couple of steps, only to discover Feng Ling still standing in place. They looked at her with confusion.
Feng Ling shook her head. “My health isn’t great. If I go and perform poorly, it’ll burden you all.”
Her companions quickly replied, “We’ll help with the work! You should go!”
“Yeah! We can help you out!”
“Your workload, we can divide it amongst ourselves and get it done in no time.”
“Let’s go together, Lingling. We won’t be at ease if you don’t come.”
Feng Ling didn’t back down. She still shook her head. “No, I can’t let all of you be burdened because of me.”
Such job opportunities were rare to come by, and Feng Ling was well aware of this fact. She bit her lower lip in contemplation.
“If you’re not going, we won’t go either.”
“Yeah, we’ll share the hardship together. We can’t have a good job without you.”
“Since you’re not going, I’d rather stay with you here. It’s just a job, isn’t it? It’s not a permanent one. Take it or leave it.”
“Don’t talk so much nonsense!” Feng Ling rarely raised her voice like this. “If you want to go, then go!”
Feng Ling rolled her eyes and lowered her voice. “You go, and I can still take advantage of you. If you don’t go, whose advantage can I take?”
Her companions: “…”
Although it might sound a bit harsh, it made perfect sense.
Feng Ling raised her hand in a shooing gesture. “Hurry. Go on, I’m closing the door.”
While they hadn’t tasted the white rice from the service center yet, they were well aware of the difference between a simple meal and a hearty one. They obediently followed Chen Gang on the path leading to the supermarket.
Someone couldn’t resist and asked Chen Gang, “If it’s free meals, what kind of food are we getting?”
“Is there meat? Are there vegetables?”
“Do they just serve rice?”
Chen Gang shook his head. “I’m not sure, but it shouldn’t be too bad, I guess.”
The half-grown kids chatted excitedly, showing no signs of the numbness and despondency they had displayed just a couple of days ago.
“If only there were fruits, that would be great! I saw the supermarket selling fruits before! Those huge grapes! Although I didn’t really check the prices.”
“We can exchange them with our wages when the time comes.”
“You go ahead and exchange with your wages. I won’t do that. I’ll exchange for long-lasting food items. Who knows when the supermarket might close down? Isn’t that what happened to the supermarket at the base? At first, they didn’t require tickets, and they’d often sell out quickly after restocking. Then they started demanding tickets, and now everyone has tickets, but the supermarket is out of stock.”
“Yeah, we should exchange for more long-lasting items. We don’t have a refrigerator to use.”
“Rice, corn flour, and preserved goods are the best.”
“Dried fruits are worth exchanging for as well! A bit of sugar too.”
Although they hadn’t started working yet, they had already planned how to spend their future wages. Even though they lowered their voices, passersby could still sense their excitement.
After all, Chen Gang was an adult, and no matter how happy he felt, he wouldn’t display it on his face. Still, as he listened to the words of these half-grown kids, his mood seemed to match theirs.
No matter how long the supermarket would remain open, at least for some time, they wouldn’t have to worry about what to eat the next day.
It was as if they had suddenly found direction, and life was no longer a pool of despair.
Although it was their first time entering a supermarket, the half-grown kids were still fascinated, looking left and right, taking in everything. When Cao Er handed them uniforms, they even thought the uniforms were products for sale.
Watching this group of almost childish youngsters, Cao Er quickly reminded, “These are uniforms, you’ll need to wear them when you’re working. Don’t think they’re ugly! The material is good, and the design is pretty!”
The uniforms they had were tailored by Ye Zhou in a previous plane, left unused. But in this plane, they wouldn’t go to waste.
A face with freckles asked, “Do we have to pay for these?”
Cao Er shook her head. “No, it’s free. You’ll get another set when you finish your shifts for changing, and you’ll have two more sets for autumn and winter.”
The kids blinked in surprise. “No money?!”
Cao Er replied, “No money, but when you’re not working, you should keep the uniforms. After disinfection, they can be used by others.”
The kids immediately said, “As long as the supermarket doesn’t fire us, we won’t leave!”
Cao Er smiled and said, “That’s right! Having such determination is great!”
She spent half an hour getting them familiar with the area. “Your main responsibilities are guiding customers and delivering messages. If customers don’t know where certain products are, you’ll lead them there. If we run out of stock somewhere and we’re too busy to handle it, you should also go find the security team to help restock.”
Although the supermarket was large, the area they needed to focus on was actually just a few. Even though the kids didn’t remember which specific items were on which shelves, they at least remembered the major sections, like the food section, fresh produce section, and beverages section.
Zou Ming checked his watch and said to Wu Yan, “Let’s go open the door.”
Currently, there were two people guarding the supermarket entrance, while the other men were responsible for restocking.
Chen Gang and the six half-grown kids also joined the restocking team. Now, Wu Yan and his group suddenly felt less pressured.
Wu Yan and Zhou Wen exchanged a determined glance, their faces displaying unwavering resolve. Before opening the door, they exited through the small gate and, holding a megaphone, shouted, “No crowding! Watch out for stampedes! No pushing!”
Today, there were even more people than yesterday. Many residents hadn’t received the news yesterday, but today it seemed like the entire base had emptied out.
The residents waiting in line were very cooperative, cupping their hands like megaphones and shouting back, “We know! We all know!”
“We won’t push! Open the doors quickly!”
“That’s right! Whoever pushes is a bastard!”
Starting from “bastard,” the atmosphere suddenly shifted, and a group of people competed to shout, “Whoever pushes will turn into a pig in their next life!”
“Whoever pushes will have bad luck for their entire life!”
“Whoever pushes will be single for their entire life!”
“Whoever pushes will have to eat corn cakes for their entire life!”
Wu Yan nodded towards Cao Er Niang inside the door. Then Cao Er Niang pressed the automatic sensor door opener.
At the moment the door opened, Wu Yan couldn’t help but think: with all these people making such solemn vows, they shouldn’t be pushing, right?
The group that had been shouting “turn into a pig,” “have bad luck for life,” “be single for life” pushed inside as if they were possessed, with those at the front leading the charge and those at the back constantly jostling.
Wu Yan was in a hurry to stop the crowd, and he didn’t even have time to pick up the fallen megaphone. He shouted, “Stop pushing! We said not to push!”
Zhou Wen and the others also rushed to intervene.
However, the crowd was overwhelming, and their efforts were like ants trying to move a tree. They couldn’t stop the relentless advance of the people.
There were some thin people who were struggling to maintain their balance, swaying back and forth with the crowd. It seemed like they would collapse any moment.
Wu Yan was getting anxious, and he was sweating. “Stop pushing!!”
Zhou Wen and the others were also shouting, but no one was listening to them at all.
No one was willing to miss the opportunity and everyone was rushing inside, driven by the thought that “there’s no tomorrow,” fearing that they wouldn’t be able to buy anything later in the evening.
Many people dropped their belongings, with tickets and money, and even some small items they were carrying.
Someone dropped their corn cakes on the ground.
They got covered in dust and were stepped on by a few people.
“Corn cakes! I dropped my corn cakes!” He wanted to crouch down and pick them up.
Wu Yan watched with a mixture of frustration and fear. He grabbed the person’s arm, shouting at the top of his lungs, “Don’t crouch down on the ground! Don’t go pick up the things you dropped!”
If this person dared to crouch down, he might never get back up again. Just, when the chaos in the queue had reached its peak, a gunshot suddenly rang out from the side of the crowd.
A resounding “bang,” more powerful than all the admonitions and warnings.
The noisy crowd suddenly fell silent.
Everyone turned their gaze towards the direction where the gunshot had sounded.
Zou Ming held a shotgun, its dark barrel pointed at the crowd. He spoke calmly, neither hurried nor anxious. “Keep pushing.”
“Since you’re not afraid of death anyway, rather than dying under someone else’s feet, you might as well die under my gun.”
“I’m not afraid to bear the burden of taking people’s lives. If you don’t want to live, try testing it.”
Zou Ming raised his chin slightly, his face devoid of expression, and his pitch-black eyes showed no emotional change.
His posture disdainful.
Panda has something to say: No author’s note for this one too (3/7)
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