Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 379 - Grain War (2)
Ji Man kowtowed and withdrew from the room in cold sweat. Yan Buba had already started to collect grain in the capital under the behalf of fictional rice businesses.
While the imperial court was still in the planning process for collecting the grain, Ji Man's side had already started to take action. The cost of two and a half bushels of grain was around eight silver coins. Seemingly overnight, the entire supply of grain that was currently available in the shops in the capital went into Ji Man's granaries. Calculating the amounts, this was as much grain as she could afford. In total, she had purchased 25,000 bushels of grain.
However, after this sweeping purchase, the major rice business felt there was something strange going on. They didn't know why someone would buy such a large quality of rice. However, it was nevertheless good to see their rice being sold so quickly. Thus, they all restocked their stores with rice from their granaries, raised their prices, and continued selling.
The commoners were unaware of what was going on. They only knew that when they woke up the next day, the cost of two and a half bushel of rice had risen up by a silver coin in all of the rice stores. After voicing their complaints, they could only buy the rice at the higher cost to take home to eat.
The cost of Ji Store's rice had also correspondingly increased. The proceeds for the sale of the tribute rice had been received. Using this profit along with this month's revenue, Yan Buba skillfully haggled with two major rice stores and was able to buy several thousand more bushels of rice at a lower cost. Ji Man even went to a bank and used the deeds for the granaries as collateral to borrow money up to the principal amounts. She continued with buying and selling more rice.
Less than two days later, the other rice merchants in the capital also started to stock up on their supply of rice. However, Ji Man had already emptied out most of their stock. Since Yan Buba had brought the rice on behalf of several different merchants, no one knew that it was really Ji Store that had collected the rice. They believed that the market price of rice was increasing because people were buying up the capital's rice to resell it somewhere else.
As expected, an order soon came from the imperial court. Rice was to be collected from all of the nearby farming villages for a uniformed price of seven silver coins per two and half bushels.
The farmers were very happy. Normally, they would only be able to sell their rice for five silver coins per two and a half bushels. Since the imperial court was willing to pay seven silver coins instead, why would they sell it to anyone else? And so, one after another, they sold their rice to the higher authorities.
The merchants in the capital were flabbergasted. If there wasn't any rice for them to buy, then how could they sell anything? Their inventory continued to dwindle as they sold their rice. The rice merchants watched as their estimated annual income was shifted to an earlier time. They weren't sure if they should be happy or not.
However, there was nowhere good to go for the commoners. The cost of rice continued to increase in the rice stores. At the end, the price for two and a half bushels of rice actually went up to ten silver coins. Other than those rice shops, there wasn't anywhere else to buy rice. After adding in the cost of transportation fees, the cost of imported rice wasn't any cheaper.
Ji Store didn't try anything special either. It simply matched the prices of the other rice shops, but since they had plenty in their inventory, there wouldn't be any shortages. As a result, its business continued to well. At the very end, when the other rice shops had to hang ups boards that said they were sold out, Ji Store still didn't run out of stock.
Let's rewind to several days after Ji Man's original meeting with Zhangjun Prince.
Ji Man brought Yan Buba's written plan with her when she went over and requested to see Zhangjun Prince.
Seeing the drastic changes in the rice price during the past several days, Zhao Zhe had felt apprehensive. After he read Yan Buba's plan and discussed the matter with Wu Yong for a while, he decided to lend Zhangjun's rice to Ji Man.
Zhangjun was considered a major rice producing territory that was nearest to the capital and had also been monopolized by someone. The rice merchants didn't have anyone to turn to acquire more rice. In the end, they could only grit their teeth and collectively come to Ji Store to buy rice.
Ji Man was holding up a cup of tea and staying silent as she looked at the representatives from five major rice shops s well as some small-time rice merchants.
“Ji Store has such an extensive access to a supply of rice, and we're all members of the Rice Merchant Association. As the head of the association, Owner Ji, you should consider everyone's needs." Shopkeeper Liu stepped forward and said, "Now that there's a shortage in rice, and the price of rice continues to increase, we're just asking for Owner Ji's help in importing some rice from Zhangjun for us to sell."
If one person is enjoying a piece of meat by herself, do you think she's going to let others snatch it away from her?
Ji Man slightly smiled as she put down her cup. Surprisingly, she very good-naturedly said, "It's not difficult to supply enough rice for everyone to be able to sell it too. This is something that this one should do."
Ji Man looked at them as she said, “Ji Store currently has 25,000 bushels of rice and can sell it to everyone at nine silver coins per two and half bushels."
Everyone looked at each other. Based on the previous price, nine silver coins per two and half bushels wasn't cheap, but it definitely wasn't too high either. In the future, the price of rice might go above ten silver coins.
Ji Man changed her voice and tune as she continued. "However, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Since this one is willing to hand over this supply and let everyone profit, shouldn't this one be compensated with something?"
He had known that the matter wouldn't be so simply resolved. Shopkeeper Rong furrowed his brow and said, "Owner Ji, you're a straightforward person. How about just telling everyone your conditions?"
Ji Man was smiling as she said, “I'll speak frankly. Ji Store can supply everyone with rice, however all the rice stores need to hand over their contracts with their tenant farmers. What do you think?"
This was audaciously profiting from other people's misfortunes! Shopkeeper Liu slapped the table and stood up. "You want to monopolize the capital's entire rice supply. Isn't your appetite too big?"
Ji Man's expression didn't change. She tapped the table with her fingers and calmly and leisurely said, "This one merely wants to try a different way of selling rice. If you're willing to hand over your contracts with the tenant farmers, this one is willing to supply the rice at unit price of eight silver coins. It's fine if you don't want to agree. Su Province is rich in rice, you can just import the rice from there by yourselves."