Seeing the group of tourists, the treasure hunters frowned. Hans whispered to Li Du, "D*mn, this spells trouble."
"What trouble?" Li Du asked.
Hans nudged Li to look ahead. "Look, what do you see?"
"A group of tourists from Asia," replied Li Du. "They seem to be speaking Korean. They are probably Koreans?"
"No, they are not tourists," sighed Hans, "but a group of greenhorns."
"What do you mean?" asked a confused Li Du. "Greenhorn treasure hunters?"
He knew what treasure hunting "greenhorns" meant. It simply meant the newbies in the storage auction industry. He had encountered them several times already. The characteristics of these treasure hunting greenhorns included that they were new to the industry, they didn't know about the market, they were usually overconfident, they tended to overbid and they bid recklessly for units.
Being a treasure hunter required one to pay the "tuition fees." Generally, the greenhorn treasure hunters paid the tuition fees when they overbid for units.
However, these people were just normal tourists. In what way were they greenhorns?
"Think of everything you know about greenhorns. They are not a group of tourists. They are greenhorn treasure hunters!"
As he spoke he wore a helpless expression. "Just wait and seetoday's auction's gonna get interesting. The tourists are going to bid recklessly. That means it's impossible to get a unit without paying more."
Li Du was surprised and asked, "Tourists can also place their bids?"
"Yeah, they didn't come in for free." Hans nodded. "They paid an entrance fee in order to look around the company and attend this auction. The company allowed them to participate in the auctionthat means they can bid for the units!"
Li Du now understood. "The storage company earns more money two ways here. They earn from the entrance fee imposed on the tourists. They also earn more from the final bid price of the storage units as the tourists will place higher bids that will push up the price."
Hans replied weakly, "Yes."
Li Du was puzzled. "I understand that the storage companies want to make money, but are they not afraid that the tourists will bid but refuse to pay up later?"
At storage auctions, it was uncommon to see units left unsold. It was also uncommon for bidders to run away after winning a unit. It did happen sometimes though; they regretted buying the unit so much that they decided to run away without paying.
Such instances usually revolved around the greenhorns as veterans wouldn't dare to do this. When this happened, the bidder would get blacklisted in the industry and no storage companies would allow that person to participate in any storage auctions.
Greenhorns were not worried about this rule. When they decided to run away, they had already decided to not return to the storage auction industry.
"Tourists won't have the guts to run away," Hans said. "Also, they are usually very rich. Their main motive is to experience what it feels like to be in an auction. They won't run away without paying."
The first unit opened and everyone was ready to view it. The tourists joined the line and Li Du took the last position.
A tourist received a phone call halfway through the line, and so he walked to the end. Li Du actually waited for the tourist as he had to maintain his positionthe end of the line was his.
Some tourists noticed Li Du's behavior and found it weird. They consulted the tour guide about it. "Why does that man always move to the end of the line? Is he a loner or something?"
The tour guide knew about the rules of the storage auction industry. After hearing the tourists' query, she hurriedly said, "Please keep quiet when you participate in storage auctions. You must never comment on the one at the end of the line. That person is the most famous and the most powerful treasure hunterthe Treasure Hunt Tycoon!"
As soon as he finished speaking, someone bowed to Li Du. "Annyeonghaseyo, from your looks, are you also a descendant of the Korean nation?"
Li Du was not pleased. Are you taunting me? Since when do I look like you guys? he thought.
Although Mr. Li was unhappy, he remained expressionless and did not say a word. Another tourist spoke to him and several tourists suddenly gathered around:
"Oppa, did you migrate here or your parents migrate here? Miss Tour Guide said that you are Mr. Treasure Hunt Tycoon here, daebak!"
"Please teach us, sunbae-nim, we are very interested with America's storage auction business. Is there any tactic for it? Please enlighten us!"
"Chingu, you're able to become the great Treasure Tycoon in this arrogant country, which means you must have a lot of experiences. Would you have time to chat with us? I'm interested in what you have gone through."
Li Du did not particularly like the Koreans, mainly because he heard that they liked to call Chinese traditional culture their own. In addition, when he was in college, he heard that Koreans liked to look at the bloodline or heritage and integrate the elite foreigners into their own people.
He used to think that was a just joke on the Internet. Now he came to believe that what he'd seen on the Internet was true as these Korean tourists unconsciously treated him as a fellow countryman of theirs.
With the tourists surrounding him, Li Du could no longer remain calm. He explained, "Sorry, I'm Chinese, not Korean. I'm not Mr. Treasure Tycoon. I'm just an ordinary person who earned some cash . . . "
The tourists' warm and friendly attitude immediately cooled. Now they looked uninterested and left, going back to their line. Some of them were even muttering in Korean.
Li Du could not understand Korean but when he saw Lu Guan wearing a cheeky smile on his face, he asked in surprise, "You can understand what they're saying?"
"Of course I can understand Korean. When I was in college, I had a Korean classmate who told me that Chinese culture originated from Korea. And I did my research on Korea."
"Nonsense," said an irked Li Du, "it should be the other way round!"
Lu Guan shrugged. "Yeah, it was nonsense. I realized that after my research, and therefore didn't study their culture anymore. However, I can still understand Korean."
"What did they say?"
Lu Guan's face cracked into an evil smile. "You sure you want to know?"
"Say it!" Li Du said in a firm tone.
Lu Guan glanced at a tourist and made eye contact with Li. "That man said he knew that you were Chinese because you have a wretched temperament. He said you have small eyes, rough skin and you look ugly.
"That guy over there said that the tour guide was bullsh*tting. He said there was no way a Chinese could attain success in America. The Chinese should be working as movers and not treasure hunters.
"That dude over there said that it was ridiculous that he actually called you 'sunbae-nim.' He said you're not a Treasure Hunt Tycoon, you're just a superficial Chinese guy who boasted to look good."
Listening to Lu Guan's report of what the tourists said, Li Du felt darkly perplexed. What's the problem with these Koreans? he thought. We're all East Asians, and China is the Big Boss of East Asia. What right do you have to look down on me when Korea isn't even the size of a Chinese province?
Li Du narrowed his eyes. "They doubt my identity as a Treasure Hunt Tycoon? Very well. I need to show them the power of a Treasure Hunt Tycoon."
Hans got excited when he heard that. "Alright, these idiots made Li angry. Li, what are you going to do with them?"
"If I deal with them directly," said Li Du, "it will be an insult to my identity as Mr. Treasure Tycoon. It won't look good for me if I pit myself against a group of greenhorns directly."
Hans was perplexed and replied, "Okay, that's not your style."
"Lu Guan," Li Du continued, "you contact the tour guide and work with Hans to be the consultants for the tourists. They're interested in storage auctions, right? Let them enjoy themselves then."
"What should I do?" Lu Guan asked.
"Have the tour guide introduce Hans as the Treasure Hunt Tycoon. Talk to them in Korean to get close to them. Then let Hans act as their consultant and try to get them spend more money."