It’s been a tough few months for businesses in Akihabara, with a number of longstanding stores shutting up shop during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a worrying time not just for business owners, but for customers as well, who now fear their favorite niche store might be the next to close at short notice.
One store in the area everyone now hopes will survive well into the future is Card Shop Spiral, who recently showed that even in tough financial times they’re ready to be generous with their customers. Their touching gesture involved giving out free drinks — a welcome act of kindness during the August heatwave that claimed the lives of 79 people in Tokyo over the space of just three weeks — but it’s the trusting way they did it that sent them viral on Twitter.
▼ “It’s extremely hot today, so please be careful of heatstroke. Spiral Akihabara is taking measures against heatstroke.”
That’s right – Spiral’s countermeasure against heatstroke was to leave money out for customers so they could use the in-store vending machine free of charge. The handwritten sign in front of the money above says “Please use this” with “Please return the change” in smaller writing underneath. In smaller writing still, as a precaution, are the words “Small change aside, please don’t steal bills“, and in the box attached to the note are several 1,000 yen bills, left lying there in the open for customers.
By the following day, all the drinks in the machine had sold out, but that didn’t stop Spiral from continuing with their act of generosity, as they posted a new note to the machine that read: “It’s very hot again today. The drinks in the vending machine are sold out, so if you’d like a drink, please tell the staff. We’re handing them out free of charge.”
Spiral’s trust in customers touched people from all around the country, who left comments like:
“Such incredible hospitality!”
“What a kind-hearted way to help customers and let them know you trust them too.”
“This is God-like customer service!”
“If I owned that store I’d set up a camera and turn it into a social experiment to see if anyone takes the money!”
“A card shop has regular customers who wouldn’t want to destroy the business so they can be trusted.”
Regular clientele who travel far and wide to visit their favorite small store in Akihabara are part of what makes the area so special. While it’s unclear if Card Shop Spiral’s free drinks scheme will continue past August, it’s certainly won them a lot of new fans and got them noticed by people who may never have heard of them before.
And surely, that’s worth risking the loss of a few 1,000-yen bills for.
Card Shop Spiral / カードショップすぱいらる
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Soto Kanda 3-5-14, 3F
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