Ben’s odd jobs

“Where you this entrepreneurial in college?”, I once asked Ben. In response, he forwarded me a text he keeps saved from back in the day – a run-down of all the odd jobs he did at university in Shanxi. For a snapshot of where a budding young businessman in China starts from, here it is in English:

Picking mineral water bottles [not certain if this means full ones, to sell on, or empty ones to recycle – AA]; fuduji sales [a Chinese online marketplace]; heaters; cassette tapes; event tickets; dictionaries; mobile cards; old phone cards; telephone ‘reading lamps’ [whatever that is]; seashells; collecting steel bars; distributing flyers; [arranging – I assume] home tutoring; mail order books; TaoBao startups; selling second hand books; ‘ring chains’; ‘magic poker’ [both literal translations which likely miss the mark]

How’s that for a definition of ‘miscellania’? Or indeed, ‘anything for a buck or two’. None of the above business, Ben assures me, was against the rules of his college – it’s all legit (i.e. he wasn’t hawking event tickets, he was selling them for the organisers). And no, I’ve no idea where the hell he gets his seashells from in landlocked Shanxi.

Here’s a snap of the original text, sorry for the terrible focus: