Let’s Play Recettear – Part 2 – Item Salesmanship 101

Last time on Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale:

  • We, the worst shop owners of all time, bought some crap to stock for our grand opening
  • Expository Reginald told us some stuff that I did vaguely listen to but immediately forgot, other than the fact that he hates his wife
  • Recette likes capitalism and Tear’s a fairy or something
  • Tear criticised my visual merchandising and forced me to put my precious walnut bread up for sale

This time, we learn how to actually sell stuff, presumably!

I actually had to go back and replay the entirety of Part 1, since for some reason I decided that it had probably autosaved. It hadn’t. Luckily, most of it was just pressing a single button to progress through dialogue, which I skipped on the second run through. All I really had to do was buy the same stock and put it in the same place, and we’re good to go! (I just need to remember to save this time. Hopefully it’ll tell me how to do that at some point.)

Oh, and I also had to re-upload all the images because I’m dumb. So that was fun. In future, I’ll be trying to do these posts with fewer images – still a decent amount, of course, but I’ll be doing my best to explain what’s going on rather than opt to upload as much of the dialogue as possible. It’s just too darn time-consuming.

Anyhoo.

Picking up where we left off….

O hai, Tear. Didn’t miss me, then.

Given an opportunity to move around, I manage to locate the pause menu and figure out how to save. Thank Christ. I wonder what ‘loop 1′ means; maybe there’s a New Game+ type feature. Slightly concerned about that calendar, since it looks as if I’ve got a payment of 10K pix due in about a week. God, guys, did you not even pay the first month’s rent before you opened?! I love ’em, but Recette and Tear are literally the worst.

Harsh much. Tear doesn’t have a very high opinion of Recette’s abilities, which begs the question of why she isn’t just doing it all herself.

Lecture?! Ugh. This is going to be fun, I can tell.

Caaaaaan do. I know I haven’t actually started playing the game yet, really, but I’m impressed by how many facets of retail this seems to be covering. We’ve done some stock acquisition, some visual merchandising, some window dressing, and now we’re greeting! (Side note: when I worked in retail, one of the shops I worked in had a designated greeter each shift, whose job was solely to say hello to people as they came in. It was not a fun role.)

Tear explains that the comfort of the customer is integral to our success, which makes me wonder whether we might have to deal with complaints at some point. Apparently, a usual customer will find something they like among the products on display, then pop over to the counter to pay for it.

We can see the name and base price of the item in the ‘target’ window.

Er…

Aaaaahahahahaha. I love this stuff. Gotta admit, though, I could do with learning what Button 3 actually is. Based on some intermittent previous JRPG experience, I’m guessing maybe C? Seems as if Z is set to ‘confirm’ and X to ‘cancel’, with W being the pause menu.

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Ooooooh, we’re going to have to haggle. Having played the heroes in a few games, several of whom have visited item shops of some sort, I’m curious to see what the reaction to negotiation is like. I don’t think I would like to go into a PokéMart and be told that they’re charging 6000 Pokédollars for a Potion.

I go for 1500 pix, a nice 25 percent markup.

If the customer’s happy, then it’s a sale and we get a bit of experience and some cash. If the price is too high, however, they’ll just fuck off and presumably buy from one of the many other shops around, or complain to the Financial Ombudsman or something. (Presumably, in this world in which the Merchants’ Guild has a practical monopoly on literally all aspects of commerce, that’d be our mate Reg.)

Tear gives us a brief overview of the tenets of good business. If a customer’s unwilling to pay our exorbitantly inflated price, but might take a deal for a little less, they might stick around and let us try to negotiate. We need to look out for those who are just trying to see what they can weasel off us, though, since we can’t afford to sell at too low a price.

We’ll even get regulars, so as we become more known and trusted, we might have a little extra good faith to use in our negotiations. Again, I’ve got to say I’m impressed by the depths of the mechanics in this game, assuming they live up to Tear’s explanations.

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OH SHIIIIIT

Oh, right. Tear’s just pretending to be a customer. I don’t know how many arbitrary units of time have passed since our grand opening, but we really need to start graduating to the real thing before too long. At this rate, we’ll be closed before we’ve sold any of our useless crap! I’ll try for 1500 again.

Tear says that’s decent and a customer will probably say yes straight away, which makes me wonder whether I ought to have started higher.

Apparently, what we want to do is lower our price a little bit at a time until we come to a decent compromise, although we won’t have long to do it until we’ve built up some trust. Tear seems to think we should be looking to deduce how much the customer’s actually willing to pay and go from there, although in practice I’ll probably just be trying to get away with as much as possible.

Seems as if most of the stores in the area start out at around a 30% markup, meaning my 1500 asking price might have been a little charitable. If we can manage to seal a trade at a higher markup, we’ll be rolling in cash, but we don’t want to risk driving potential customers away.

Tear, who’s getting into her role as a cheapskate with gusto, says she needs it to be a bit cheaper. I try knocking 100 pix off, which reduces our profit margin to 16%.

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Okay, so that’ll work. Again, I’ve probably been a bit too generous to start with, so I’ll maybe be a little more demanding in future.

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i think this is the end of the tutorial guys

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i’m gonna have to prove my worth guys

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i’m scared

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OKAY LET’S DO THIS

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Tear wants a Steel Sword, which is a bit presumptuous given that we don’t even stock it. The base price is 3000 pix, so I go slightly higher than my previous attempts and try for 3900, in line with the 30% increase that’s apparently standard around here.

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Hurraaaaaaaaaaaaay

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heck yeah we did 

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Oh, come on. Seriously, Tear, time’s a-wastin’. All the time I spend pretending to sell you stuff is time I’m not actually selling stuff, and according to my calendar I’ve got a 10 grand payment due next week! Maybe I misread that and we’re actually getting 10 grand. That would be nice.

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She tries for the same item again, so I go for the same price again. She bites, making me wonder why she even made us repeat the process.

We’re ‘quite good for someone who’s never done this before’, apparently. Tear’s a master of the ‘I’m going to pretend to compliment you while secretly putting you right down’ backhanded praise.

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Apparently, salesmanship is more of an art than a science and the best experience is on-the-job, begging the question of why Tear thought it was worthwhile running us through this tutorial in the first place.

Oh, hell, we’re opening. I hope this game isn’t too realistic; I don’t fancy spending eight hours just sat here watching people come in and browse.

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A customer holy shit

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She’s been thinking about getting one of these… walnut breads… for a while now, apparently. It’s good to have dreams.

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Bitch, my walnut bread is priceless.

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Ugh, fine.

Okay, so this gal’s happy to buy my walnut bread at 135% of the base price, which is a decent little profit, without further complaint. I’m still sad I didn’t get to just eat that. Snacks are a big part of shop management.

yussssss

Okay, so Recette’s got probable daddy issues and an insatiable desire for approval. I dread to think how she’ll react if somebody wants to return something.

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… with no planning whatsoever!

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To be honest, yes. I mean, it’s clearly not where your immediate talents lie.

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Oh, heck, there’s a backstory.

Ah, it’s one of those.  I don’t begrudge games a cold open, since getting the opening after the tutorial is sometimes a better way of diving in and getting engaged with the gameplay.

I still remember playing through the tutorial of the first Kingdom Hearts, which took me a good couple of hours given my total inexperience with games at the time, after which the logo flashed up on the screen and I realised that I hadn’t even started yet.

Flashback time!

Awww.

Seems as if Recette’s dad is an adventurer, of the type we’ll probably be trying to hawk stuff to. Three months is a long time to leave a kid on her own, though – not that I can tell how old Recette is. In the real world, she wouldn’t be able to lease premises and run her own business as a child, but you never know in animesques.

Our full name is Recette Lemongrass, y’all. I wonder what her dad’s name was. Something heroic, I bet. Boris Lemongrass, maybe. Also, Tear is apparently teeny-weeny, more than her sprite would make her appear.

Oh, shit, Tear’s literally a fairy debt collector.

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Recette doesn’t know what ‘finance’ or ‘company’ means, which doesn’t surprise me at all given the business acumen she’s thus far displayed.

Oh, crap, it’s a cutesy anime version of Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away.

Yeeeesh. Dick move leaving your kid with a massive debt that your home might be reclaimed to settle, Boris Lemongrass.

Understandable response, I think.

‘A fracas atop the local volcano’? I need to start downplaying apocalyptic or insane dragon-based scenarios more, I think. Remember how Skynet literally takes over the world and tries to destroy all of humanity in the Terminator series? Yeah, that was just a tiff. (I really do love that Tear uses fracas to mean ‘epic battle with killer dragon’. Also great: the fact that there’s a local volcano. Like: ‘Which volcano?’ ‘Oh, the local one. You know.’ ‘Ah, but of course.’)

Okay, so this is a weird loan company that writes into its contracts the possibility of hero dads disappearing and their daughters having to repay the debts via item shop management – or, presumably, repossession. I mean, that works out pretty good for poor Recette, who in a world with harsher loan contracts would be homeless, penniless and probably selling the hair off her own head to sustain her habit of smoking a whole ton of weed right now. It also explains what the payments due on our calendar are, I guess. Anyway, Tear explains that as the sole remaining member of the Lemongrass household, Recette’s bound by the terms of the contract to pay her dad’s debts for him.

Yeah, it’s definitely a bit harsh.

Well, thank fuck for that. I don’t like ‘a small amount of time’, though; Boris has been gone a good three months. Why’s it taken so long for Tear to show up and warn Recette that while the loan fairies have been doing loan fairy shit, Recette’s time to repay her dad’s loan has been running the hell out?

Recette has some weird ideas.

Luckily, Tear’s actually here to ensure that we wouldn’t have to resort to such absurd methods of raising the cash. She’s been sent to support us to the fullest of her ability so that we can repay the debt through labour! Hooray!

This company does not mess around. Experience doesn’t matter, according to Tear; all that matters is our being willing to work. I mean, it’s a bit harsh throwing a (possible) child in at the deep end of retail, a dangerous field of work if ever there was one, but I guess it’s better than being completely unable to repay our dad’s debt, with which we’re now inexplicably saddled.

Wow. Tear knows how to deliver an ultimatum.

Ahhhhh, so we’ve actually just converted Recette’s (dad’s) house into an item shop. Good thing Tear already scoped the place out, obviously predicting that we’d go for the ‘hard labour’ deal. I mean, we didn’t have much of a choice.

For some reason, Recette’s more surprised by the prospect of home conversion than repossession. Anyway, she evidently does go for it, because we get a little time skip…

Tear’s apparently done some market research, which is astounding because a) it doesn’t show at all by the time they come to open the store, and b) the Merchants’ Guild exerts total control over the area’s economy anyway, so what market there is pretty much boils down to their registry. Looks as if Tear’s probably offered this deal a few times in her career, too, and isn’t surprised by the idea of a runner.

20170228200021_1Well, when you put it like that… Frankly, it’s a miracle Recette didn’t bugger off and top herself. Or, as Tear would probably describe it, ‘undergo a minor accident at the local volcano’.

Tear doesn’t finish that sentence, which I can only assume was going to end ‘in a bit of a pickle’. So she wanders outside and finds…

I can’t help but wander how Tear failed to spot Recette on her way in, since she clearly didn’t know where she was. Mademoiselle Lemongrass has been busy, it seems.

Ever the optimist, Tear’s got a ‘however’. Luckily, Recette don’t give no shits, storming right back at her with a viciously cheerful declaration that she’s always been good at making stuff.

Recette Lemongrass:
Sign-making skills: A+
Naming skills: B-

If the name accurately reflected the real situation behind the shop’s opening, it’d have to be called something like ‘Loan Shark Fairy Forces Child Into Hard Labour’, but that’s not as catchy.

Tear’s concern is that ‘Recettear’ sounds a bit like ‘racketeer’, basically. I’m wondering whether Recette might secretly be smarter than she’s letting on, and she’s given the shop a slightly dodgy name as a subtle ‘fuck you’ to the loan fairies.

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Too damn right. I’m interested to see whether Recette and Tear remain in friendly partnership, or whether Recette eventually gets pissed off (which would be understandable) at her fairy partner for forcing her into a lifetime of work, the profits of which will all be going directly to paying off a loan she’s somehow vicariously liable for.

Aaaand we’re back in the present. Tear, who’s a bit French, is justifiably exasperated with her new partner’s sleeping habits. I wonder how Tear ended up being the one assigned to Recette’s case, anyway? It must be a weird job, being a debt collector who doubles as a full-time shop owner when said debts can’t be repaid.

Aww, that’s nice.

I’ve got to say, the translators have done a great job with this. Oh, and I should probably mention: if you do like the look of Recettear, please do go and buy it. It’s available through Steam and probably other digital download services, and it’s nowhere near as expensive as a triple-A game.

If only. Tear gives Recette a little lecture about how being the proprietor of an item shop means that she needs to learn to be more responsible and not sleep all day. I mean, give the girl a break, she’s probably depressed from her dad’s disappearance. But whatever. Recette’s response is a happy ‘ehehe.. right.’

I think the shop might have given Recette a bit of purpose in life. Poor girl’s probably just been sleeping the days away since her dad vanished, so Tear showing up and trying to repossess her home might actually turn out to be a good thing. Tear seems impressed with her determination, and tells her to wash herself and meet up downstairs.

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WE GOT THROUGH THE FIRST DAY GUYS

This is going to be so epic, I can tell. Next time: Day 2!

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