Convenience stores in Japan definitely live up to their name. Conveniently located, clean, reasonably priced, and offering fresh food and fast service, there’s really no room for complaint from a customer’s point of view.
However, all that convenience doesn’t come without a lot of hard work on the part of convenience store employees, And while tireless toiling with a smile is very much the Japanese way of customer service, there are a few things that, deep down, convenience store cashiers wish customers would do for them, which leads us to a tweet from Japanese Twitter user @oboro_zuki_yo titled “Requests from a Cashier.”
1. “Please unfold your bills. It’s a hassle to have to unfold them for you.”
Japanese convenience stores are more like miniature supermarkets. Aside from snacks and drinks, they also sell full-fledged prepared meals and a wide variety of sundry goods. You can even pay bills there, and not just for small stuff like your monthly phone service, but even your taxes.
Because of that, it’s easy to run up a tab that requires multiple pieces of folding money to pay, and to make the payment process just a little quicker, unfold them as you pull them out of your wallet or pocket, before you hand them to the clerk.
2. “Don’t throw your coins. You’re not making an offering at the temple.”
If might sound like a contradiction of what we just talked about, but since the smallest bill in Japan is the 1,000-yen bill, you’re probably also going to need to use some change to settle your bill. Thankfully, Japanese convenience stores have a small tray next to the register where you can put your coins as you count them out.
The important word here, though, is “put.” Sometimes impolite customers sloppily sling their coins into the tray instead, in a manner more resembling the long-distance tosses into large collection boxes at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. No matter how transcendentally delicious the green tea ice cream bar you’re buying is, though, if you’re in a convenience store the polite thing to do is to gently place the coins in the tray, so that there’s no risk of them clattering over the counter/into the clerk.
3. “Please put your card on top of the money you’re paying with. Otherwise, I might not notice it.”
The idea of giving the clerk both cash and a card might seem strange, but this isn’t a credit card we’re talking about. In Japan, many convenience store chains have reward cards, either proprietary ones or part of a shared network with other businesses. Go into a branch of Family Mart, for example, and if you show them your T Card, you can earn points with every purchase which can be redeemed for discounts not only when shopping at the convenience store, but at various coffee shops, restaurants, video rental stores, and even gas stations.
But the clerk has to swipe your card before they ring you up. If they don’t notice it until after they’ve scanned all the items you’re buying, they’ll have to cancel the sale and start the process all over from the beginning.
4. “Don’t snatch the change out of my hand. I’m not going to try to steal it from you.”
While the customer uses the above-mentioned tray to pay with coins (and bills, if they feel like it), the clerk will generally hand your change back to you directly. When they hold out the bills, obviously they’re doing so willingly, and not just waving them in front of your face before pulling them away, so don’t rudely yank the cash out of their hand, no matter how much of a hurry you’re in.
5. “I’m a clerk, but I’m also a human being, just like you.”
Japanese customer service is almost uniformly excellent, which makes shopping an extremely pleasant experience. Unfortunately, sometimes customers take advantage of this by lording it over front-line workers, becoming angry or even violent over assumed slights of slips of etiquette.
There’s a Japanese adage that holds “The customer is God,” but @oboro_zuki_yo would like everyone to remember that both shoppers and sales staff are mere mortals, so even if there’s a service hiccup, the divine thing to do is to forgive, or at least make your complaint in a civil manner.
Source: Twitter/@oboro_zuki_yo via Hachima Kiko
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