Dusk's Enterprise: Research Inc. - Part Two
Migga soon had a form for our customers to fill out.
4. Do you want to be painted? Yes or No
4a. If Yes, what are your choices?
5. Do you want a Petpet? Yes or No
5a. Do you want the Petpet to be painted too? Yes or No
5b. If Yes, what are your choices?
5c. Are you afraid of, or allergic to, any petpets?
5d. What kind of petpet do you want? (Playful, obedient, etc)
6. Do you want to be morphed into a new species? Yes or No
6a. Are you afraid of, or allergic to, any Species of Neopet?
7. Would you like us to recommend any grooming supplies that would match your chosen color?
7a. Are you allergic to any grooming products?
8. Do you plan on entering the Battle Dome any time in the future?
8a. Would you like us to recommend some useful Attack and Defense items?
9. If you are undecided about any of your options, or would like to supply the information for reference, please write out a summary of your personality and particular likes and dislikes. We respect privacy and we will not use any of your information to embarrass or offend you in any way.
“Okay Dusk,” Migga said, “We need you to figure out the fees that we would charge. Keep in mind we don’t want this for only the Neomillionaires.”
I nodded and sat down. Okay. I couldn’t see any reason to charge Neopians for filling out the form. Anyone could do that without our help, so charging for it was stupid. Now, the average Neopian should be able to play at least one game well. Those that couldn’t simply wouldn’t be worrying about anything but food for themselves.
I began to sketch out a plan. Depth and Shade would be the ones to discuss with our customers what they wanted. Each should charge a fee for talking it over professionally. Depth on fashion and Shade on Battling, each would charge... ummm... one thousand Neopoints each; the cost of one max Send Score on a game. And if a customer didn’t want to battle or didn’t want to worry about fashion, they wouldn’t have to pay for it.
Once the customers picked out what they did and didn’t want... the next step would be Twilight. She would locate and buy the items our customer wanted for the best Shop Wizard or Trading Post price. Add to that a finder’s fee. Hmm. How to make that balanced? It was stupid to charge a lot if the customer was only looking for a cheap petpet or minor paint brush. But it would also be a bad idea to charge only a tiny bit for someone who wanted a Faerie Kadoatie and a Royal Paint Brush. So we would need an adjustable fee that wouldn’t look like we were being greedy. A percentage finder’s fee... Maybe ten or fifteen percent of the total cost.
I was scribbling out the plan furiously. If they didn’t want to pay the finder’s fee, they could always go looking for it their own darn selves and pay whatever price they found. I allowed myself a sour smirk. Maybe I shouldn’t deal with the customers too much; I was too doggone sarcastic for a snobby Neopet to tolerate. Well I would have to behave somewhat, at least for talking them through the paperwork.
Okay, so a charge for consulting... and a fee for finding the best price and acquiring it. That should be good; there wasn’t any reason to charge for anything else.
Satisfied with what I had, I took it back to my classmates. Each looked it over and no one seemed to have any problem with what I had written up.
Our next challenge was to find the right place to start our business. Neopia Central was too crowded. Faerieland was out of the question; we were colored far too dark for such a bright and cheery place... and we didn’t want the wrong kinds of faeries taking an interest in us. Tyrannia was a flop because Migga wasn’t supposed to be home until the end of the semester. The Haunted Woods weren’t crowded enough; too many people were afraid to go there. The Lost Desert was even hotter than Tyrannia... Terror Mountain was way too cold... Meridell just wouldn’t tolerate us because we were all Darigan painted...
“What about Brightvale?” Depth suggested, flipping her graceful tail to emphasize her point, “The climate is okay, and people there depend on intelligence. Not to mention they don’t hate us for our, um, past.”
Migga and I were promptly chosen to take up the matter with their King, Hagan.
I was not comfortable. I stood taller than any of the Draik guards, but they held their weapons like they meant business.
Migga, on the other hand, clopped regally and calmly into the room as we were announced.
“Lady Migga and Lady Dusk in the case of starting a business within the honorable walls of our city,” a prim looking Shoyru announced as we entered.
“Hmmm,” the handsome Skeith stroked his beard as he looked over the two of us. His keen gaze took in Migga’s powerfully built shoulders and warm gaze, seeming immune to the fact that they were currently blood red.
^^You, young Migga are from Tyrannia, correct?^^ he said in perfect Tyrannian.
Migga nickered joyfully and tossed her mane. ^^Yes your Majesty!^^
He took in my slightly smaller build and lean muscles built for sprinting through darkened streets, “And you, young Dusk, though you’ve visited Tyrannia, you are native to the Darigan Citadel.”
I swallowed. “Yes sir, eek, I mean Majesty.”
Hagan laughed. “Now, now, no need to worry that a slip of the tongue would offend me. I was very curious about your proposed business that you sent me via Neomail. Please, tell me more about your plans and intentions.”
That was a booby trapped question if I ever heard one. Anything remotely dishonest in our plans would bring an immediate rejection. And the intelligence in the king’s eyes told me that nothing was going to get by him.
Nervously but trying to put an enthusiastic paw/hoof forward, Migga and I began outlining our plans for out little venture. The king listened intently, lacing his fingers together in front of him. When we finished, some of the Draiks were looking at us out of the corners of their eyes and their fan-shaped ears cocked in our direction; despite their at-attention pose, they were listening to us with interest.
Then Hagan cleared his throat and began asking some rather pointed questions. What if a customer wanted something but couldn’t afford it at that time? Would we offer some kind of payment plan?
That thought rocked me. Could we? Maybe let them offer gradually increasing amounts until they reached the goal perhaps?
How did we plan on getting the word out that there was a business in the first place? What would we do to advertise? How would we handle snotty customers? What kind of security would we use to keep our shop from getting broken into?
My ears began to droop. Those things hadn’t occurred to me. Even Migga seemed to feel awkward despite her normally sunny disposition.
But then Hagan smiled. “Well, don’t feel too discouraged now; I’m not trying to pop your Kiko Balloons. You kids seem to have the beginnings of a pretty interesting and unique business venture. I’m merely advising you to start thinking about the things I’m asking you about. Believe me, they will come up.”
The gears in my head were grinding now, about how we could handle the ideas Hagan mentioned.
“Don’t hurt yourself just yet.” He chuckled as I chewed my tongue thoughtfully. “Your ideas are good, so I’ll tell you what... I’m going to grant your request to start your business here. Even better, I’m going to order a small shop built for you in sight of our main shop roads. It’s going to be bare bones inside; you kids will have to furnish everything. And if your business takes off, I expect you to handle the expenses of expanding.”
My heart thundered in my chest. King Hagan, the most intelligent Neopet in the whole world, thought our business was good!
As we were escorted out, the two of us shared an enthusiastic cheer and pranced along the road. A commotion over by the Wheel of Knowledge drew our attention. Already the Neopian Building committee was sectioning off a lot for our building to be created.
The next day, armed with a loan from our school “bank”, we all trooped down to take a look at the Shop. The building was simple with a front display window and room inside for a few desks and chairs... if we organized them right. We went to work that afternoon, furnishing our shop with the cheapest furniture we could find and making fliers to announce our grand opening.
To be continued...