My First Day in a Chinese Company, My First Day as Entrepreneur

Guest post by Shlomo Freund, Founder of Start Up Noodle – Asian entrepreneurs community

I started my China journey as part of a Chinese company. Without the benefits of a relocation pack, I spent a few grueling months trying to secure a position before coming to China, it was harder than I thought it’d be, but in the end I did it! It wasn’t the perfect position, but it was my ticket to China and I intended to make the best of it.

Fast forward, and I’m on a plane on my way to becoming an intern in a Chinese company.

I think the best way to start helping you prepare for a position in a Chinese company, is to share with you my impressions from the first couple of days on the job.

These days, and actually the entire period there taught me a lot about the Chinese mindset, work style, rules and conventions, and also how to successfully handle these and the various cultural differences. Coming from the world of High-Tech where hours are flexible and office atmosphere is quite loose and personal, I faced several challenges in my new position.

 Soft landing

One very important thing I learned as well, is that there are times that your colleagues will go out of their way to help you with things you didn’t even expect. I did expect my employer to help me find an apartment, but I didn’t expect that my colleague will barge for me and save me a lot of money on the rent. She really made tremendous efforts to help us buy our stuff for the house and barging there as well, getting us good prices.

Time is everything

Although societies in many Asian countries don’t seem to attach much importance to keeping times (take India as extreme example) this does not apply to work places in China. At least when it comes to official working hours Chinese companies are very strict about employees arriving on time.

From my experience they want you to come on time and leave as late as possible. It really doesn’t matter if you stayed late yesterday, that was time you generously contributed to the company (paid or non-paid depends on your contract), today is a new day and you must be in the office on time, if not a little early to show your commitment.

When the work day ends there’s a tendency in many companies to stay over time, and the decision when to go home depends less on the clock and more on when the boss decides to call it a day, it’s not an official statement, but when he’ll walk out the door many will quickly pack up and follow.

I remember that on the first 3-4 days in the office my computer clock was set by mistake to 7-8 minutes ahead of my boss’s clock. I didn’t notice it, coming and going around the set times, keeping my hours with some flexibility. Until after a few days, when I was about to leave, my boss pointed out that I still had 7 more minutes of work left…

My next cultural difference encounter was when during the work day I had to call my wife as we moved to a new apartment the previous day and there was a lot to do. I called her and we spoke for a couple of minutes. Following that I was told that phone calls should be made only on lunch time or after leaving the office, not during working hours…

Western companies are more forgiving/flexible about this and more “holistic” about employee’s needs and their welfare, something that Chinese companies are sometimes lacking.

Time is everything, with some exceptions…

One great thing on Chinese working culture is nap time. It’s acceptable to put down your head on your desk while working, if you are feeling tired. It’s great for after lunch time tiredness we are all fighting with and trying to keep ourselves awake. I saw my colleagues doing it and it really felt okay doing the same. Its something you would never do on a western company.

Instead of that being count as a waste of time, it counts as a way of increasing your efficiency. Let me mention a yoga mattress that was folded at our office corner enabling us to sleep properly on lunch time if we wanted.

The Time is NOW!

One more thing you should be aware of is the urgency factor. You have many tasks on your hands and they all need to be done now, and results are always expected quickly. Plans (like marketing plans, I’ve done and executed) were always asked be on shorter schedule.

Short cuts will be taken, and time tables will not always be reasonable, when I saw fit I tried to advise against taking short roads that’ll only end up becoming long ones, sometimes it worked, sometimes it only left me frustrated, but the expectation for faster results always remained.

Who’s complaining?!

Seems like I’m complaining…no? So, I’m really not. This period was one of my best experiences in understanding Chinese work culture. It was a wonderful lesson about how a Chinese business works, how the Chinese mind works and how to cope with them both.

I assume that when you’ll arrive to China you won’t create your start up or project right away. You’ll need time to explore and understand how things work. So, even though there are always exceptions, I highly recommend NOT skipping this stop in your Chinese experience. You will learn a lot!

Thank you for reading —I’d love for you to reach out over Twitter

 

Shlomo Freund (@StartUpNoodle) is the founder of Start Up Noodle. Shlomo helps entrepreneurs arrive to Asia and China in order to create their own business.
Shlomo created several businesses related to China: China Business webinars and eBusiness Chinese.  This along with a 9 year experience in the internet marketing world makes this China entrepreneurship journey more exciting than ever.

 

China 101: Market Entry Strategy. 6 Points to Consider

By Andrea Cristancho, Senior Business Development Manager at JLJ Group

China’s business environment is dynamic and particular in its essence. It welcomes business from different nations and demands skills, commitment and long term planning to stay afloat. It can be rewarding for many foreign companies, especially those who conduct the proper research and carefully craft a strategy to execute.

Here are some main points to consider:

1.Regulatory environment.
In China, the Foreign Investment Industry Guidance Catalogue last revised in August 2011 regulates foreign investment. It’s a document issued by China’s National Development and reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), which oversees foreign investment in Chinese companies. Depending on the business activity, the catalogue classifies direct investment as encouraged, restricted, prohibited or permitted. Therefore, one should look into China’s regulatory environment and find out the regulations on their particular business type, licenses required to operate in compliance with the local authorities, costs and duration of the set up process, among others.

2.Market Assessment.
China is a diverse country with unique regional market segments, which should never be looked at as just a single China. In addition cities are divided into tiers cities including tier 1 such and Shanghai and Beijing, and tier 2 cities as Chengdu, Dalian, and Hangzhou, as well as numerous smaller tier 3 cities. When looking at the market, companies should consider target customer and size, generation groups, consumer demands and purchasing behavior, as well as market trends, barriers and key competitors.

3. Location and Distribution Channels.
Whether you decide to go solo, represent your firm, or partner up with a local investor, you would need to spend some time and resources researching your ideal location within China; particularly at the district level and perform some due diligence before choosing your office location. Companies should also be communicating and negotiating with a short list of potential partners, or dealing with a third party provider; while trying to understand cultural differences and working within the demands of the Chinese style. There isn’t only one ideal way, it requires you to find which best fits your business model and is in line with your long term business model and head quarters vision.

4.Internal Assessment.
At the initial pre-entry level, a lot of time and resources are invested on evaluation phase. Most of the time, reports are presented at head quarters or to a board of investors for final approval. At this stage, it is advisable to evaluate how ready is the management and main decision makers of your corporation to invest in China, including financial consideration, IPR, relocation, staffing and management soft issues, and execution planning. In addition, assigning key points of contact is a priority as the approach to china market entry is being developed and communicated across the organization.

5.Entry Modes
Having your business plan and China Market Entry strategy at hand, consider your market approach evaluating the strategic importance for your head quarters and your ability to exploit the market once invested. There are four primary entry modes:

Export Entry.
Using an intermediary agent for the entire process or handling export –in house and a local Chinese distribution partner for import and sales in China. It doesn’t require a large capital expenditure but provides limited control.

Contractual Entry.
Licensing your brand to individuals and companies in China or sub-contracting with local manufacturers. Requires less capital expenditure but again provides limited control.

Equity Entry.
Entering the market by equity includes Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises (WFOE) such as Manufacturing, Trading, or Service WFOE (examples are consulting, training, restaurants and management service companies), a Foreign Invested Commercial Enterprise (FICE allows greater flexibility in terms of business activities that include retail, wholesale and franchise), or through a Joint Venture or M&As.

Representative Offices.
A Rep Office represents the interests of the foreign investors acting as a liaison office legally established for the parents company. It may conduct market research, develop partnerships and business channels; however, all business transactions are handled by parent company, mainly the issuance of commercial invoices. Rep Offices do not have a minimum investment requirement since they are not considered a Foreign Investment Enterprise.

6.Registration Steps.
Below is the typical process for setting up both Foreign Invested Companies and Rep Offices. The government offices involved in this process includes the Ministry of Commerce, Administrative Bureau for Industry and Commerce, State Administration for Foreign Currency, Taxation Bureau, The Customs Office, and the Statistics Bureau.

In brief, entering the China Market requires experience and long term planning, as any other market, but developing the aforementioned points and assessing your company entry mode should take you closer to success. Therefore, having a solid team on the ground, including your team and your advisors, a solid network of contacts Guanxi will also help you navigate China’s business environment during pre-entry, execution and growth of your business in China.

By: Andrea Cristancho
Senior Business Development Manager
The JLJ Group – solutions for China Market Entry
Andrea.cristancho@jljgroup.com

What do you think?

You may also be interested in this articles:
7 Top Tips for Entrepreneurs Starting Business in China
The Entrepreneurs Dilemma: How Much Money do I Invest…? 
The Entrepreneurs Dilemma (II): How do I navigate through a founding shortfall in China?
Researching the Market before you Start your China Business: A Photography Gallery Story
Getting Hold of the Consumers in China: Education and Networking
China Stories: Choosing the Wrong Company Formation Agent could Kill your Business!
Seeing is Believing… and I mean it!
Doing Business in China: 14 Insights Gained on the Ground
The Power of Networking in China
What Do I Need to Know About Guanxi
Is it All About Who you Know?
Foreign Women in Business
Ten Tips for Doing Business in China

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China: Is It All About Who You Know?

Last week I wrote a post recommending a book about guanxi. Everybody talks about guanxi and there is a good reason for it:

Guanxi is one of many important China business skills and concepts. Mastering guanxi does not guarantee success, but if you cannot build relationships, you will fail in China.

Excerpt from “Guanxi for the Busy American” by Andrew Hupert

 

Today I will not be sharing a “business case study” but a personal story written by a reader. Ella Reynders is Lecturer Intercultural Communication – IBC at Karel de Grote Hogeschool. I would like to thank Ella Reynders for her contribution and taking the time to write her story.

When I first  read her email I felt what she was telling me goes beyond the personal level and is a constant feature in business relationships: who you know and how you behave is crucial.  So, I thought I should share it in this blog.

This is Ms Ella Reynders personal guanxi experience and the lesson she learnt:

“In China it is more about who you know and how you behave than about what you know”

The beginning of her story: the perfect resumé.
“I graduated from the University of Ghent in the late eighties. My academic knowledge was vast. I had majored in modern and classical Chinese, had learned over 10000 characters, could easily read Buddhist texts and knew all the important facts there are about Chinese and Asian history. Feeling that I still needed to perfect the language – I could not speak it or understand anything Chinese people said – I packed my bags and went off to Taiwan.

Although I could have gotten a scholarship to continue studying in the People’s Republic, I decided Taiwan was the better option. In the PRC contact between Chinese and foreigners was ‘discouraged’ so I did not see the sense in going there.
In Taiwan I quickly got myself set up: found a job teaching English, a school to study Chinese and a nice apartment. After a year of having taught English I felt ready to enter the job market for a more serious job related to my diploma.
My boyfriend, on the other hand, had come to Taiwan without any prior knowledge of the language, did not really study a lot of Chinese and lived like a bohemian. “

Reality hits: it´s all about who you know
Although my qualifications were a lot better than his, he turned out to be the one who landed a job with a trading company. All my efforts failed. Nobody wanted me. I just continued teaching English and also did some work as a model. I felt very frustrated not being able to put my brain and knowledge to good use and kept on trying to find a job. I went to foreign companies such as Philips, several airlines, smaller businesses, etc. Nothing worked out.
They were so polite as to grant me an interview during which they told me how impressed they were with my Chinese and my diploma’s. Every time I returned home feeling that this time I would get a job. Alas they did not get back to me. I called after a few weeks but the contact person was never available. I was told they would pass him the message.
I learned the hard way.
Why did my boyfriend, the hippie, get a good job and I did not?

He had an aunt with a company there and she had many connections (guanxi) and I did not.

How can you make things worse?: Acting aggressively does not help. Not in a Chinese culture environment
Another year went by and I was still teaching English and modeling. My frustration grew and I found it very impolite they had never contacted me again. So I gathered all my numbers and started making angry phone calls telling them they should let me know why they had not gotten back to me, why some people with less qualifications got the jobs I was clearly the better choice for. I thought this would get them into gear. Little did I know this really killed all my chances. One of the many things they had never taught me at university.

The “Epiphany”: the importance of succesful intercultural communication
I started to read up on Chinese social culture and learned how people deal with and relate to each other. It was a revelation. I re-evaluated the things I had done and not done and came to the conclusion I had done everything against the Chinese etiquette and no matter how suitable I may have been for the jobs, I had behaved as a rude foreigner and therefore had lost the opportunity to get a job.
Back in Europe I started teaching Chinese and worked for several companies and universities as a cross-cultural trainer. I still do this until this day and I like it very much. I do inform people about the do’s and don’ts and have seen a lot of successes sprouting from this. It is a very rewarding job.

In China it is more about who you know, how you behave than about what you know.

Note from Foreign Entrepreneurs in China: Ella´s experience goes back to the early nineties. Things have been changing in since the mid 2000s, with better regulation and a more professional approach to business. But the truth is that, in China, who you know really matters.

What do you think?

Doing Business In China: What Do I Need To Know About Guanxi?

If you are considering doing business in China, you will surely soon hear the word guanxi (关系 ). And if you are already doing business in China, I bet you have already used this word yourself.

I´ve just read “Guanxi for the Busy American” by Andrew Hupert. Whether you are American or not, this book will provide you with all you need to know about guanxi. It is insightful and an easy read.

I especially like how he demystifies some damaging myths like:
-Guanxi is a euphemism for corruption.

-Guanxi is the only key to success in China

-If you have guanxi, you don’t have to worry about laws, regulations, bureaucrats, etc.

Enjoy the reading!

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You may also be interested in the following articles about “Doing Business in China”:

* 7 Top Tips for Entrepreneurs Starting Business in China
* The Entrepreneurs Dilemma: How Much Money do I Invest…?
* The Entrepreneurs Dilemma (II): How do I navigate through a founding shortfall in China?
* China Stories: Choosing the Wrong Company Formation Agent could Kill your Business!
* Seeing is Believing… and I mean it!
* Doing Business in China: 14 Insights Gained on the Ground

China: Foreign Women in Business

Mark Andrews, a journalist based in Shanghai, got in touch with me a couple of months back when he was researching to write a couple of articles about doing business in China. I got an email from him this week to let me know one of his articles had been published in March and a second one is scheduled for April.

The first article he wrote is entitled “Women in Business. How they´re building success” and has been published in Laowai magazine.
I read so much about obstacles and challenges we encounter when doing business in China that I thought it would be nice to highlight a few positive messages that the entrepreneur women in Mr Andrew´s article send out. And I find very inspirational reading about small businesses´ success:

Brigitte Elie of ecoBibi: “I think my business would not be where it is today if I was in any other country. China has allowed me to maximize my creativity; I can think of an idea for a new product in the morning and the prototype is done before noon!”

Heather Kaye of FINCH: “This is a very female empowered scene. You can get just about anything here so any idea you have, now is the time to put it in motion

And a useful tip from Ms. Kaye: “You need to plan to have enough money to last two years. That’s the time it takes to establish a brand here”

Enjoy the read. Have you also made true your business dream in China?

10 Tips for Doing Business in China

Anne-Laure Monfret, author of “Saving Face in China: A First-Hand Guide For Any Traveler To China” published last month an article entitled “10 tips for doing business in China” at That´s Shanghai.
I reproduce here the ones that I´ve often heard from business people with substantial China experience:

3. Resist the temptation to jump in if your Chinese counterpart remains silent.
Silence is the true friend that never betrays.

4. Make an effort to speak a little bit of Chinese.
Learn to use and understand the basic Chinese survival vocabulary.

She also includes the following tips under “speaking a bit of Chinese”:
a) Don’t say an abrupt “no” to your Chinese staff or counterpart, but instead say “I will consider it.”

b) Usually understand “mei wenti, no problem” is “you wenti, there is a problem,” and “yes” is “yes, you are the boss,” not necessarily “yes, I agree with you.”

c) If you don’t want to say “yes” or “no,” which may cause a loss of face, simply answer “maybe.”

d) Make sure that what you say is not completely misunderstood: state, ask your listener to restate, ask information questions rather than yes-no questions, confirm, clarify, check.

e) Try to understand everything. It’s just impossible. Accept that sometimes there are things you cannot explain. Instead, just move on and keep your eye on the ball.

I would personally group them under “Effective Communication” rather than speaking Chinese, as it is all about what your Chinese contact really means and about the potential cultural inadequacy of some of our own comments/reactions.

6. Adopt a positive attitude.

7. Spend time giving face. You can be sure it will be returned one day.

9. Don’t think for a minute you can do it all by yourself.

10. Make your negative remarks and comments in private, one-to-one, discreetly, not publicly, behind the scenes, internally, away from eyes and ears, when there’s no one around… have I emphasized that enough?
This is the number one rule in China!

You may read the rest of her tips here.

Would you like to add yours?


 

The Power of Networking in China

I have started writing articles about China for Business Blogs, a New Zealand business blogging community. In my last post entitled “The Power of Networking in China” I share the stories of two real estate companies that came to China looking for investors. The results were dramatically different for each of them.

The main lesson learnt in this post: the company that leveraged its Chinese networks had an extremely successful China experience. Read how they did it here.

Would you like to share your own stories?

Doing Business in China: 14 Insights Gained on the Ground

Last week I met with Kevin Lai, Asia General Manager for Actronic Technologies (a New Zealand multinational that successfully markets electronic weighing equipment around the world). We talked at length about the insights he has gained since he arrived to China three years ago. Here is a summary of what we discussed:

1. Language Barrier: It’s not the Only One.
Lots of companies do not appreciate how different China is. They assume language is the barrier but there is a lot more to it. Culture, taste and behaviour add to the difficulty to interpret what is going on. And the value system is so completely different that at times you don’t know whether to react outraged or ignore a situation.

2. Understand Value System, Culture, Taste…It will Help You Navigate in China
This is obviously a consequence of the previous insight. You really should devote some time to gaining some insights about culture, taste or value system or you will just feel lost.

3. Plan in Advance
Often companies land here without too much preparation or without a first-hand in-market assessment. You need to understand the market (or at least try to), talk to a few potential partners and customers, assess the resources you will need and plan accordingly.

4. High Price Sensitivity…Not Always.
This market is very surprising. Sometimes money expenditure is far from rational. People earning just 3000 RMB per month will be saving in order to buy a real LV bag (not a fake like lots of foreigners here do!). So if the perceived value is high or if it satisfies a highly valued need (like status) price sensitivity is low.
Another surprising example of price not playing an important role comes from the B2B context. Sometimes your product may be cheaper and better (Western approach of value proposition) and still not be good enough.  The decision maker may continue buying from his friend, simply because he is in the circle of trust.

5. Statistics are Good but Don’t Let them Fool You.
Statistics may provide you with a good overview, but don’t forget they’re just an average and they hide a lot of information. As I explained when I talked about price sensitivity, average wage may be low, but there are lots of high ticket items that those low wages will be buying.

6. Market Research & Reports: Be Ware of Polite or Aspirational Answers
Reading market reports is good, but you need to understand what you are reading. You may be asking somebody: Would you go to New Zealand? And they will say yes, but it is more their aspiration than a reality. Same goes for polite answers. Some people would be embarrassed to say no.

7. “Do It Yourself” … Not Worthy Here (for entrepreneurs)
This is a very challenging market and the DIY approach is a bit of a waste of time and resources. You need to seek help in order to settle here so that you can focus on the core business. Helps is available for free. Just ask!  Contact your own country’s expat networks, your Government Agencies. In my case, many fellow Kiwi companies and NZTE were only too eager to help.

8. One-Man Show: It just doesn’t make sense
Lots of companies send somebody here and do not give them resources. Overheads are most of the cost of setting here, and those don’t change if you recruit some good local employees. It helps the company representatives focus on the business and relieves them from the huge burden of Chinese administrative requirements.

9. Educating your Head Office Back Home.
One of the things I underestimated is how much education you need to do back home. It is very difficult for people who have never been to China to understand what is going on here (in general and with customers). I do recommend devoting time to “educating” your head office. I’ve realized how much it helps if they come to China twice a year and see things by themselves. If you really want to market your product here you really need to understand the local people perspective and to have everybody on board.

10. Trust- not just an Empty Word. Once you Gain Trust lots of Doors Open.
The value of trust is not a China myth. Chinese people are very caring when it comes to their families, friends and network. They will ignore you if you are not in the circle, but once you make it, once you gain their trust and become part of their network they will start caring about you in a very personal way. It does not matter where you are from, they want to know how you are doing, if you have any issues… you become part of the circle.

11. Secure your first Customer.
This market is really tough, so if you are able get your first customer before you start all the set up here, things will be a lot easier.  Your first customer gives you an early win to boost confidence.  More importantly, it enables you to fine tune your market strategy, work out the logistics, and better understand the China market

12. Hire Somebody you Can Trust.
Lots of companies send people here who don’t speak the language so they’re completely relying on their Chinese employees. It’s quite common to hear stories about people hiring a local manager who initially performs really well but turns into a bad story. Power is tempting, and a lot of people can’t resist the temptation to divert money or other perks to their personal benefit because they feel nobody will find out. I mentioned already the different value system. It is just a reality.

13. Your Clients and their clients really value your expertise. They are eager to learn.
I often do sales calls with our distributor’s sales force. I play the role of the overseas expert and that really helps them in their visits.

14. Keeping your Employees… You may need to pay for it.
In general people like to work for big companies. It gives them status and security. So when you are part of a small/medium business you may need to pay above the average when you hire your local employees.

China Stories: Choosing the Wrong Company Formation Agent could Kill your Business!

Last week I had lunch with Andrea, who set up what was initially proving to be a successful business and saw it dying due to the wrong agent choice.

Andrea (and her business partner) learnt today’s tip the hard way… And she was kind enough to share it with us so that “beginner entrepreneurs” (as she describes herself at that time) don’t fall into the same trap.

Tip: Make sure you choose the right company formation agent.
– Get references that confirm their good work (or hire a reputed firm)
– Ensure they know your industry well

Story: “Go Nuts Healthy Gourmet Snack Bar” was an organic/healthy snack bar selling “Go Nuts” branded pre-packed products and in-store prepared food (sandwiches, granola/nut assortments, salads…). It was set to be quite a successful business. It quickly got a loyal clientele thanks to a unique offering and a good location (Jing An district in Shanghai).

But “Go Nuts” was also the best case study I’ve heard of how things can go absolutely wrong if you chose the wrong agent…. Not once, but TWICE!

1st Agent: It all started wrong. First agent was identified through a local expat magazine in Shanghai, City Weekend…. To cut the story short, the guy took the money and did nothing… Andrea describes him as an “impostor”.

2nd Agent: Here things went well… initially, but after 3 months operating the shop the local authorities came in for an inspection and were sorry to inform that “they needed to close the shop because the business scope did not allow them to run that type of activity”.
It turned out the business license only allowed them to sell pre-packed food & beverages. Most of their business was coming from the in-store prepared food. When they confronted their Chinese (first one was foreign) company formation agent the guy said:
“It is not my mistake, it is yours, because you chose me to do this job and I have never done food & beverage”
As you have already imagined the agent only gave them this piece of information after their shop had been closed with a 200.000 RMB fine.

As young entrepreneurs without a strong financial support their cash was gone (spent on licenses, rental, perishable food stock that went wasted, fines …). They felt there was too much uncertainty ahead (would they get the right agent, would the licenses be granted,…) and decided to close the shop.

So a few lessons learnt for the future:

1. Make sure you choose the right company formation agent.
– Get references that confirm their good work (or hire a reputed firm)
– Ensure they know your industry well

2. You MUST know what your license documents say… so be sure to have an English translation (even if you can’t use it for legal purposes). And please, get a good translation …don’t ask your neighbor or a friend to read it to you! Get the document from your agent or get a professional translator to do it.

Seeing is Believing…. And I mean it!

Let’s admit it, a lot of the China stories we hear around are actually funny … Once the entrepreneurs that have gone through them stop being mad, they make quite entertaining stories to tell over dinner. So, today I will share a “tip” and a comic story to illustrate it.

Tip of the day: If something does not sound right, it probably isn’t. So go and check it with your own eyes (or somebody’s you trust).

Story:
Story Setting: Entrepreneur’s very first shipment arrives. All excitement. Lamb racks arrive from New Zealand and will be showcased at a very high profile event… in 3 weeks time. All good, they just have to travel extra 10 km to the chef.

Conversation with the custom clearance agent:
Day 1. “Yes, they’re here. We are repacking them from 100kg packs into 10kg packs, so they’re easy to move.
Day 2. “They’re coming, they’re coming…”
….
Day 19. “They’re coming, they’re coming…”

So, entrepreneur thinks “That’s it.  I’ve had enough, surely I can go there and if I yell and scream I will be able to get my chops.” And as he is driving down in the van, he rings the warehouse company and says “I’m coming up”.
– Oh, sorry, they’re not here. They’re somewhere else.
– Where are them? ‘Cause I’m coming over.

At the second warehouse …Another surprise. No chops to be seen … in fact, freezers full of pineapple juice… and it seems they have been full of pineapple juice for months. People at this warehouse mention to him:
– Ah, no, no, this is the busiest time of the year for pineapples and the fridges are always full of pineapple juice. We could not possibly hold lamb here!!!!

So what had happened to the chops? Well, there is a happy ending because they did not disappear but:
– They had never been repacked, as this entrepreneur had been told from day 1.
– They had been sitting in a freezer in a 3rd warehouse during the whole time…
And it was only when he actually got on a van a started creating pressure that all this was discovered.

Not that unusual, is it?