Giving up Credibility and Ruining One's Life

Hong Yi

PureInsight | December 17, 2006

[PureInsight org] Credibility
is the basic principle of doing business from the ancient times to the
present.   Merchants who become wealthy must take
credibility, reputation, and honesty as the important parts of business
ethics.  Some people, however, think differently.

Yu Fu, a paint merchant from Kingdom Yue during the Spring and Autumn
Period, was tired of living a poor life.  When his merchant
friends became wealthy, he was anxious to be a merchant. He talked to
his friend, Ji Ran, and asked him how to become rich. Ji Ran said,
"Right now paint is in demand, why don't you plant sumac, harvest the
leaves and sell paint. Yu Fu was very excited and worked from dawn to
dust after Ji Ran patiently taught him how to grow the sumac. Finally
Yu Fu had a huge sumac grove.

Three years later, the sumac grove was fully grown. Yu Fu was extremely
excited and he knew that he could pick off the sumac leaves and make a
lot of money.  When he was about ready to take his paint to the
Kingdom Wu, his brother-in-law came to see him.  He told Yu Fu, "I
do business in Kingdom Wu often and I know how to sell paint there. If
you do it right, you can double your profit."

Yu Fu was so anxious to make money that he asked his brother-in-law
again and again how to double his profit.  His brother-in-law
said, "Paint is in demand, and I see many paint merchants cook the
sumac leaves and mix the resin into the paint. As a result, you can get
twice the profit, and people in Wu would not notice."  Yu Fu could
not pass up such a good idea, so he cooked the leaves overnight and
took the resin and paint to Kingdom Wu.

At that time, the relationship between Kingdom Wu and Kingdom Yue was
tense, and there was no trade between them.  When the merchants
from Kingdom Wu heard that Yu Fu brought paint, they were very
happy.  They went out of the city to greet him and provided him
with room and board. They looked at his paint and were delighted with
the superior quality. They agreed on a price and sealed the containers;
they wanted to pick up the paint next day.

After the merchants left, Yu Fu took the seals off and added the resin.
He was in a hurry, therefore there were marks left. The merchants came
back next day, and they found that seals had been touched and became
suspicious.  They made an excuse to come back in a few days and

Yu Fu stayed in the inn for several days, but the merchants did not
show up again. Furthermore, the paint had changed its quality after the
resin was mixed in it. As a result, Yu Fu did not sell even one pint of
paint.  The merchants from Wu who heard about it all said," To be
a merchant, you must have credibility and honesty, and you cannot
deceive others. No one will feel sorry for you, because you have
brought your misery on yourself."

Yu Fu could not go back home because he had no money.  He became a
beggar and people often laughed at him. He finally died of poverty and
misery in Wu.

Translated from:

Add new comment