Chinese Baker’s Hard-Working Ethos Wins Admirers
Li Fugui, a 26-year-old baker, has been selling baked cakes for 50 Chinese cents (US$.08) each, for six years in Nanjing City, the capital of Jiangsu Province in China’s east, without changing the price once.
Nanjing-based Chinese-language newspaper Yangtse Evening Post published an article on Nov. 29 about Li’s “fixed price cakes,” suddenly bringing the humble baker widespread fame and customers flooding to his cake stand to buy 80 to 100 yuan ($12.8 to $16) worth of baked cakes at a time.
Intrigued by this modest salesman, many residents in the neighborhoods surrounding Li’s bakery stall became aware of Li and began purchasing Li’s cakes to support his integrity.
An elderly woman in her 60s from another district in the city bought 70 yuan worth of baked food; she said that upon hearing Li’s story, she decided to support him.
Netizen “Sweet Sugar and Bitter Tea” wrote a post on Weibo, “I’ve tried their baked cakes and they were amazing! There is always a crowd waiting for his delicious cakes; each batch is sold within five minutes. Many customers had dibs on the cakes still in the pans. Even talking about this makes me hungry.”
Li, whose cakes had always been quite popular, now found the high demand difficult to satisfy, though he and his wife wake up at 4:00 a.m. to start baking and do not stop until about 8:00 p.m. each day.
Still, a limited number of cakes made a day are far less than the number of people waiting in long lines. Sometimes Li would feel apologetic towards those who had to go home without cakes.
Li repeatedly told everyone to limit the number of cakes they desired to buy, promising to sell cakes day by day without a change in his famous 50-cent price.
Li’s wife Fu Ling told the Yangtse Evening Post that, just before the last Chinese New Year, a foreign customer ordered 7,000 cakes to take home as a specialty of this city.
“He even took pictures with us,” she added. “It took us two days to finish making the large amount of cakes, and we couldn’t even lift our arms once done.”
After leaving the military, Li, a native of Anhui Province, married his wife and took over the family cake business in Nanjing.
Asked why he has kept his cake a fixed price for so long, Li replied that long-lasting business depends on good quality and nice service, not on reckless price hikes. That attitude—so novel in contemporary China—brought him unexpected fame.
Read the original Chinese article.
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