It’s one of the larger automotive parts store in town. I bought the rubber pedal covers for my brake and clutch pedals here. None of the three other auto parts store along the National Highway carried any that would fit my pedals. Two of the three referred me to CBPP. It was this type of a deal: If they don’t carry it, it’s not available in town.
Large auto parts retailer in Puerto Princesa
CBPP is a traditional Chinaman business operation.
I’m using the term Chinaman to refer to the wise Chinese who uses a lot of common sense to run a business. The business is typically retail: a hardware store or a restaurant. In Puerto Princesa, I notice a lot of successful Chinaman business operations. The largest construction material hardware stores are both Chinaman-type operations. The largest auto part hardware stores are also Chinaman operations.
In what I call a Chinaman operation, the owner sits in the premises every day. He may have a calculator (or an abacus, which I saw when I was a kid). He has many pads of paper. They are mostly receipts to be given to customers. It’s all paper and pen and pencil. The owner will have a ledger notebook. In it, he records his transactions.
There are clerks everywhere. They’re doing the actual transacting. One clerk to a customer. The clerks converge on the owner to confirm the end of the transaction. The clerk identifies the part being sought after by the customer. The clerk finds it, prices it out, and collects the cash payment.
Sometimes the cash-receiving function will be done by the Chinaman’s son or daughter.
The clerks take care of the entire sales process. S/he will learn what the customer needs, locate it in the store’s inventory, and price it. The owner collects the money and stamps the receipt of the clerk. That stamped receipt goes to the customer.
Just imagine the web of trust that this group must have. The owner’s got to trust the clerks to some degree. The clerks must be able to trust fellow clerks.
This is a very hands-on type of management, this kind I just described, that’s pursued by the traditional Chinaman.
I’m sure this is the way ancient Chinese traders traded. It’s an intensive management style. The Chinaman makes himself the hub of activity. If s/he is sick, someone trustworthy needs to fill in. That’s one of the weaknesses of this system I think. Unlike in western business models, business activity can continue even if the Chinaman is sick.
I’m going to interview one of the local taipans for a future post.
On the other side of the street, parked, engine running:
The driver went inside CBPP to look for a right-sized battery, I hope!
At this stage, most of my friends are resident foreigners: Australians, Americans, Brits, Scots, Germans, Swiss, New Zealander. I was told that there are also many Asian resident foreigners: Koreans in particular, but I don’t have any Korean friends yet.
The driver of the Pajero was a foreigner. The foreigners who live here seem to be well grounded for the most part. They’re a rugged lot who are not easily deterred by awkward appearances. That was the case with this Pajero: it had a banged-up appearance and yet it was being rebuilt.