It was the first time Li Du was in this area. Flagstaff was a small city, when considering just the urban areas. If all the areas belonging to Flagstaff were added up, then the actual size was relatively large.
Arizona was a state with many desert areas that were less populated. The east and south sides of Flagstaff were like that.
On the way, Li Du had observed that the houses here were mostly short, flat-roofed houses, mostly with two to three stories. Some even had tents set up, looking more like an African tribal area rather than a developed country.
After parking the bike, Li Du asked, "A market for old goods? This place specializes in dealing with second-hand goods?"
"Right. You havent seen this yet, so Im bringing you here to learn about it."
Li Du couldnt help but laugh, "Whats so great about a second-hand market?"
Hans said in disdain, "See? You say that and I know that you dont understand a thing about Arizonas Old Goods Market! In fact, this is like a storage auction, and the Old Goods Market is also a thriving business."
Li Du could understand that, since he could tell from the signages of these old goods stores. He could also see it from the storage auction trade.
Before Obama was elected, Americas economy was in recession. George W. Bush had sent their troops to the Middle-East, though it wasnt because he loved wars or sent them on a whim.
War was a good way of increasing national consumption to drive the economy, but this time, the results hadnt been good, and the American economy remained stagnant.
In these conditions, Americans had begun to notice that they were turning poorer, and so they tried their best to purchase old goods instead to save as much money as possible.
It was due to this environment, that the market for old goods had an unprecedented boom. The storage auction business rode on this wave to its popularity.
"Compared to storage auctions, the trade for old goods has had a brighter spotlight. For a long time, life in Arizona, in a certain aspect, revolved around the trade of old goods. In the past two years, this way of life has become even more common.
"For trading old goods, there are mainly two ways to go about it: One is the standard buying and selling in the market, and the other is by auction!
"For buying and selling old goods, there are two types of ways to go about trading: One is by cash, and the other is by bartering."
Li Du was astonished, and asked, "Bartering? America still uses such a primitive way of trading?"
Hans nodded, "Yeah, the Amish, and the Native Americans use it. Some religious conservatives and those living in the Rocky Mountains like to barter as well. Many isolated villages in Arizona also like to barter."
Li Du asked, "So which one are we going to use? Youre going to sell these motorcycles, right?"
Hans nodded again and said with a smile, "Yes, youve guessed correctly. We will participate in an auction for old goods. In time, there will be many people interested in our motorcyclesitll be sure to fetch a high price."
As they spoke, they walked to a wooden building at the side of the empty field.
The wooden building was in bad shape. The outer walls were just an extra layer of wooden planks nailed onto the original foundation. It didn't even have any paint, revealing the original brownish-yellow of the wood.
At the entrance was a wooden board, with "Office of Hoffmans Old Goods Market" written on it.
Hans pushed open the door and went in. There were ten people or so gathered, playing cards.
After the main lobby were offices, each decorated in a modern manner. The outside was hot, but the inside was regulated with air-conditioning, so the temperature was comfortable.
Seeing the two entering, a man with a small beard stood up and asked, "What are you here for, buddy?"
A young black man beside him smiled and said, "Ha! Big Fox, you rascal, what are you doing in this hillbilly gathering?"
Hans gave a quick embrace to the young black man, and then introduced Li Du to him. "Blacktooth Robbie, a man whos black from head to toe."
"Of course, its all black, because since I was young, my dream has been to act as a grim reaper in Hollywood." The young man gave a refreshing smile and shook hands with Li Du.
"Robbie, but you can just call me Blacktooth. I know you: the genius treasure hunter, the Chinese Li."
Blacktooth was an expert in the old goods trade, and also a frequent customer in old goods auctions.
After the greetings, Hans said, "We have a batch of motorcycles to sell, three of them, all 600cc beasts. I think this is a good place to sell them."
Blacktooth nodded. "Youre right. Those beasts are quite well-liked in the countryside, because they run well."
"Theyre also easy to maintain," Hans added.
Blacktooth brought them to one of the offices, and a white male wearing a pair of glasses received them.
Hans had the photos of the motorcycles on his phone. He sent them to the white male, and asked, "How are they, buddy? You need anything else?"
"What you need to do now is to wait for the weekend to collect your money." The white male smiled and said, "These guys are good stuffdid you assemble them?"
Hans said, "Me and my partner did. The workmanship is reliable, so no worries. Even if any problems occur, they will be easy to fix."
"These are a favorite for those young people from the farms," Blacktooth said. "Dont tell meyou guys dug these out from storages? When did storages start to have so many treasures?"
Hans said, "To us, these arent treasures, buddy. There are countless, real treasures lying in wait in storage units!"
"Im starting to have the impulse to go have some fun with storages."
"Youre welcome, and if you need someone to help you start out, you can always find me. We have to go look around in the market now, Li hasn't been to these sorts of places yet."
Robbie and Hans quickly hugged again, and Robbie escorted them out of the office building.
Li Du asked, "The auctions only run on weekends, right?"
Hans said, "If there are enough goods on weekdays, then they might run then as well. But mostly, they just run on weekends. Every weekend is a big day for old goods auctions."
Continuing southwest, the town became more and more lively. The main street in the town was a marketplace, with old goods trading posts all over the place. Li Du recalled the yearly market festival back in his hometown.
His home was at the countryside. When it was time for important eventslike the Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, and Dragon Boat Festivalsome of the villages and towns would organize a large-scale market. That was his favorite place to go when he was a child.
The sun rays were merciless, and the weather was warm, but there were still many people in the Old Goods Market. Everyone was touring in high spirits, seemingly unbothered by the strong sunlight.
The market was huge, and almost anything could be found there. Old clothes, old furniture like sofas and display cabinets, old accessories like vases and pottery, and much more.
As they went further, there were also old household appliances, from lamps to kitchenware. Even further on, there were stalls selling sports equipment, old books, and music disks.
Li Du roughly looked around; although they were mostly dealing with old goods, old didnt mean broken. The goods were at least 50 percent new, some even 80 percent new. There were also things that had never been used, still in their original packing.
The shops at the roadside also dealt with old goods; one of them was a wedding and bridal store that had old dresses. Many young couples were browsing inside.