While it’d be an exaggeration to call them “rules,” Japan has lots of little manners points that customers are expected to follow when shopping at convenience stores. And on the flip side, there are certain operating procedures that the employees generally follow too, in order to make sure everyone has a smooth and pleasant shopping experience.
For example, cash is king in Japan, and it’s not uncommon for customers to pay for even small items, like a single steamed bun, with a 10,000-yen bill. When giving change, most clerks are trained to hand customers the bills first and then place the coins atop the bills, since that’s usually the quickest way to complete the transaction and move on to the next waiting customer.
But things happened a little differently at a convenience store in Nagoya’s Minami Ward on the morning of Dec 27, when a 47-year-old man walked into the store at around 9 a.m. and made a purchase that came to just a few hundred yen. The man paid with a 10,000-yen bill, and when the 31-year-old woman who was working the register handed him the coins from his change first, he assumed she wasn’t going to give him the nine thousand-yen bills he had coming to him.
At this point, the man had two options for rectifying the problem: calmly ask about his as-yet unreceived nine thousand-yen bills, or go completely ballistic. He opted for the later, bellowing at the female clerk: “I’ll kill you! Get down on your knees and prostrate yourself in apology!”
Naturally, the police were promptly summoned. However, it wasn’t the clerk who called them, but the angry customer himself. “I paid with a 10,000-yen bill, but she only gave me the coins in change,” he told the officers. Meanwhile, the police asked the clerk for her side of the story, whereupon she told them that she was just about to hand the man the bills for his change when he began threatening her with death and demanding feudal-era contrition.
So in the end the man got his change, but also got arrested. Really, it’s hard to imagine things turning out any other way, since telling someone you’re going to kill them right before you yourself get the police involved is usually going to end badly for you.
However, there may have been a method to the man’s madness. In Japan, it’s customary for police reports to include suspects’ professions, and in this case the man was listed as “unemployed.” Though he apparently could at least scrape together 10,000 yen, it’s possible the man is living in abject poverty or even homeless, and so perhaps he figured getting arrested would at least guarantee him a roof over his head and food on his plate while he’s being processed, especially with a severe cold snap predicted to hit Japan over the coming weekend.
Source: Yahoo! Japan News/Tokai TV via Hachima Kiko
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