A man in Central China who purchased 6.5 tons of salt during the period of frantic buying a week ago now finds himself in something of a pickle.
The man, surnamed Guo, bought the salt in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, out of fear that the material would soon be out of stock for a long time, when the rumor was spreading that iodized salt could help stop radiation poisoning.
But once the government had laid the rumor to rest, the man found himself in a jam: It was almost impossible to move the stuff to his hometown Lanzhou, in Gansu province, and returning it seemed equally impossible.
Now his story has become so widespread that requests from media for an interview have caused him to turn off his cell phone.
And he has gotten a fair amount of criticism online for what is seen as his speculative behavior. Meanwhile, others are speculating about what could be done with the salt.
Guo was living in a 20-square-meter flat in Wuhan while relatives tended to three restaurants in Lanzhou, which needed a lot of salt every day.
Then, on March 17, he got a phone call from a family member telling him that there was a sharp rise in the price of salt and that many shops had run out of it.
Fearing that "there might be a shortage for half a year," Guo rushed to several produce markets in Wuhan, only to encounter the panic buying in full swing, with the price up 85 percent already.
In a mad rush, he ordered 6.5 tons of salt and ferried the bulk of it to his rented apartment in three trucks.
The salt plus the delivery cost him 27,000 yuan ($4,100) and the 260 bags that held it took half the space in his temporary home.
Not long afterward, he heard from the TV news that the government had begun quashing the rumor, leading to a quick drop of the market price of salt.
When Guo tried to move the bulk to Lanzhou he found it impossible because he had no salt-transport license, and that it was under strict government control.
It was also hard trying to return the salt since he had forgotten to get a receipt from the seller. Then he thought he might just as well eat his loss and sell the salt on the open market but was told that it was illegal to resell the material.
Fortunately, the local government has promised to help him contact a local seller or a salt company.
And, if it is any consolation, Hubei province's Salt Industry Corp said that Guo was not the only person to get burned.
1. How much salt was purchased by a man in Wuhan?
2. How much did he spend?
3. What will he do with all the salt?
1. 6.5 tons.
2. 27,000 yuan for salt plus delivery.
3. The local government may help him resell it to a local vendor or salt company.
（中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.