lifestyle

Abandoned mall has no employees, but still one operating store selling just one item

17 Comments
By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

The owners of the LC World Motosu shopping mall, located in Gifu Prefecture’s Motosu City, must have been proud on opening day, which took place in 1992. With 100,000 square meters of commercial space for 107 retailers, including a full-sized supermarket, surely LC World would become a gathering place for the entire community.

Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly pan out that way, as documented by Japanese Twitter user @yogoren.

Twenty-four years after opening its doors for the first time, LC World now has only one functioning entrance. That’s OK, though, because it also only has a single operating store: the above-mentioned supermarket.

Sure, almost every section of the grocery store is empty, not just of foodstuffs but shelves, too. But the market is still stocked with one item -- onions.

Actually, onions outnumber worker in the store by a pretty wide margin, since the single-variety produce stand is entirely unmanned. Instead of a cashier, there’s a collection box into which customers are supposed to put their money, and a sign indicating the onions’ price as 100 yen each.

Self-serve, honor-system fruit and vegetable stands aren’t entirely unheard of in Japan (we came across one on our bike tour of the Inland Sea, for example). Still, they’re usually found in rural areas, or at most suburban communities. Seeing one inside a large-scale shopping mall is a bit of a shock, and the situation only gets weirder when you consider that since the onions don’t appear to be rotten, someone is regularly coming in to resupply the stand with fresh produce.

“It was evening when I took this picture, but they hadn’t sold a single onion that day,” said @yogoren after looking at the empty collection box. With that kind of economic performance, it’s hard to say how long the onion stand will stay in business, unless its peak sales hours take place in the middle of the night when the zombies that we assume live in all abandoned malls come in to buy something to spruce up the stir-fried brains they’re cooking for dinner.

Source: Jin

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- 21 hauntingly beautiful photos of deserted shopping malls -- “Cool Japan” mall set to open in China -- Beef bowl chain Yoshinoya’s historic first store to close, special countdown site launched!

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17 Comments
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Onions for ¥100 each? It's exorbitant. Maybe that's why none are sold.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Mottos city and the shopping mall company should get together to rent cheap space to artists, crafts people, and other generators of art like computer-graphics etc. Could be a PR gain.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

their floor guide is kind of creepy..

http://lc-world.co.jp/floor-guide/main1f/

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Archetypal Japanese zombie enterprise, survives due to cheap finance and willing bankers and no alternative business opportunity.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Sounds like a great place for urban paintball war! Let's go!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Google Earth shows this as a fairly big "supermarket+alpha" complex with seemingly ample parking, a gym next door, and a home center diagonally opposite. It's in semi-inaka where almost everyone will shop by car. Motosu has only 30,000 people so it can't support that many supermarkets. 30,000 people won't be enough for big retailer, say Nitori, to take over the whole thing.

The supermarket in there was a "Tomidaya" and they have another shop a couple of km away. There is also a Valor not far away. I don't know that part of Japan that well, but Valor seems like a much bigger supermarket chain in the greater Nagoya area. If the other Tomidaya is the result of a move, that will have instantly killed all the other shops in that mall.

Where I live, there are lots of derelict supermarkets and old home centers. Old convenience stores too. There has been a lot of attention on "shutter gai", old Japanese shopping arcades near stations where most or all the old shops are permanently shuttered up, but the same thing is happening to other Japanese retail, some of it from the 80s and 90s and actually designed for car-bound shoppers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Somehow I imagine that keeping the lights on, doors open, and products (even a single item) makes the business still officially functioning, even with no staff, which therefore creates a tax break of some sort and/or prevents the place from being condemned, abandonded, bankrupt, or something else the owner wants to avoid. Its probably all a tax write off for some other business, and I also bet that by having perishable fresh food it allows for some other loophole. A hundred yen for an onion is not outlandish to be suspect (its not 10,000) but its also too high to ever worry about running out of stock. Also, with a shelf life of a couple weeks, they need not be checked on. Pretty clever.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Where I live, there are lots of derelict supermarkets and old home centers. Old convenience stores too. There has been a lot of attention on "shutter gai", old Japanese shopping arcades near stations where most or all the old shops are permanently shuttered up, but the same thing is happening to other Japanese retail, some of it from the 80s and 90s and actually designed for car-bound shoppers.

What this article should be highlighting is the looming disaster that awaits Japan. The countryside is in dire shape. A few years ago, I went to a place in gunma called numata. they had a small onsen village there but half the buildings were deserted. It was like a scene from an apocalyptic movie. It was both peaceful, yet at the same time very unsettling. There has to be a way to revitalize the countryside and make Japan less Tokyocentric or it will be doomed.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Obviously planed and built during the bubble. The countriside is not useful, that is why people move to the city. Nothing wrong with that. Japan is no longer the agrarian society it used to be. Yet the votes of the few remaining people in the countriside count more than the city vote because there has been no reapportionment since 1945.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan could offer a home to some of the tens of millions of war-displaced people worldwide, who would be happy to engage in factory work, agriculture, forestry, fishing or other labour intensive industries - there is empty housing stock that could be refurbished, infrastructure that needs repair and dying local communities that need revitalization. win-win.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan could offer a home to some of the tens of millions of war-displaced people worldwide, who would be happy to engage in factory work, agriculture, forestry, fishing or other labour intensive industries - there is empty housing stock that could be refurbished, infrastructure that needs repair and dying local communities that need revitalization. win-win.

Some of the best and wisest words I have read in a while. Sadly, my friend, while you make perfect sense, your words will fall on deaf ears when it comes to the powers that be.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A quick google in Japanese suggests Supey's theory wasn't far off. Rather than tax purposes, the onion stand is the Tomidaya supermarket satisfying their contractual obligation to the mall operators to sell something at that site. This is what Tomidaya told J-Cast.

運営会社との契約上、何か商品を売らなければならないため、このような形で無人販売を行っています。ですので、タマネギを販売しているのも無人販売に適した生鮮食品というだけで、とくに深い理由はありません

The J-Cast report was a few days ago, so RocketNews are probably just regurgitating something on Japanese twitter.

Pictures from the outside of the mall make it look Bubble or pre-Bubble. The exterior is yellow and pale blue and very old fashioned compared to more modern supermarket+mall complexes. It also has a ten-pin bowling sign, a classic Bubble era giveaway.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just another example of the downward, often absurd spiral Japan is on!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nah, it's probably a case of someone unable to count to 10 on his extremities either looking to collect the refundable portion of the deposit originally paid or that needs financial assistance to move on. Nothing to do with onions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This reminds me of the answer to the old question, "How did you go bankrupt?" "Really slowly, for a long time, and then all at once."

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Dawn of the Dead.jp

0 ( +1 / -1 )

7

Give Supey11 a job! Very clever!

Supey11Sep. 15, 2016 - 11:43AM JST

"Somehow I imagine that keeping the lights on, doors open, and products (even a single item) makes the business still officially functioning, even with no staff, which therefore creates a tax break of some sort and/or prevents the place from being condemned, abandonded, bankrupt, or something else the owner wants to avoid. Its probably all a tax write off for some other business, and I also bet that by having perishable fresh food it allows for some other loophole. A hundred yen for an onion is not outlandish to be suspect (its not 10,000) but its also too high to ever worry about running out of stock. Also, with a shelf life of a couple weeks, they need not be checked on. Pretty clever."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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