Hironori Tateishi is the owner of a cafe in Kyoto, and he’s good at his job. A quick look at the restaurant’s Instagram account turns up photo after photo of beautifully prepared and arranged sandwiches, salads, desserts, and cups of coffee.
Tateishi can’t take all the credit for the success, though. He’s actually the cafe’s second owner – his dad opened the place in 1972, and when he did, he snagged a great location. Located in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward, famous for its temples and just over the Kamogawa river from the city center, his clientele is a mix of travelers, local residents, and students from nearby Kyoto Women’s University. The presence of the Shichijo train station just a block away is also no doubt an attractive point for people looking for a bite to eat or a refreshing drink.
And yet, there’s another decision Tateishi’s father made that’s made work more difficult for his son: he decided to give the humble neighborhood cafe a name it shares with one of the largest, busiest companies on the planet.
See, when choosing a name for the cafe he was going to open, the elder Tateishi felt, for some reason, that having an “n” in the name would bring good luck. He also hoped that his business would continue to be successful for years to come, like a smoothly flowing river. So what did he pick?
So now whenever the phone in the cafe rings, and son Tateishi picks it up and says “This is Amazon,” he knows there’s a chance that whoever’s calling doesn’t really want to talk with his Amazon. Rather than asking about reserving a table or what sort of cake they’re serving that day, Tateishi gets people launching into inquiries about delayed shipments, unreceived tracking emails, and other issues related to shopping with Amazon the e-commerce giant. Especially frustrating are the callers who get confused when Tateishi tells them “This is a cafe,” only to press on with “Oh, you’re Amazon’s cafe department? Then can you transfer me to the customer service department instead?”
Tateishi isn’t sure how people are finding his cafe’s phone number without realizing it’s not the online marketplace’s contact number, but says that it’s been going on for the past two or three years, with him getting one or two calls a week from someone looking for the other Amazon. While it’s not a lot, he says it’s a pain on the weekends, when the cafe is at its busiest.
Still, the 58-year-old restaurateur is able to see changes he could make to alleviate the problem. “When I answer the phone with just ‘This is Amazon,’ it’s probably not helping,” he concedes. “So I’m going to start saying ‘This is Amazon, the coffee shop’ instead.” It’s probably a good idea, even if Amazon the cafe was founded 22 years before Amazon the e-commerce site sold its first book.
Amazon / アマゾン
Address: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Higshiyama-ku, Sayamachidori Shichijo Agaru Shimohoritzumecho 235
Open 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
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