As the saying goes, being polite doesn’t cost a thing. Except, it does. It uses up some of our ever so valuable seconds, seconds that could be spent doing much more worthwhile things. Personally, I always say thank you but more out of habit than a genuine feeling of gratitude, so that more than once I’ve found myself thanking the automated check-outs at the supermarket. Similarly, I always say thank you to convenience store staff in Japan when I pop in for my daily essentials. But, according to more than a few Japanese social media users, I and my fellow gratitude-expressing kin just look ridiculous, or creepy.
There are plenty arguing that people saying at least a single word to show their appreciation should be common sense, whether it be arigatou gozaimasu (equivalent to thank you very much), arigatou (thank you), doumo (thanks, or ta), or the horribly grating to English-speakers’ ears, sankyuu. A surprisingly large number argued the opposite though, including some convenience store staff.
“I always say thanks, but I often overhear people behind me saying things like, ‘Aren’t they embarrassed?’ or ‘What an idiot!'”
“There are so many rude people! I get so annoyed!”
“What exactly are you supposed to be thankful for?”
“There’s no difference between them and vending machines, what do they care if you mumble something or not.”
“As a clerk, it’s really creepy when people start thanking you.”
“I don’t say anything, only weird people do, right?”
“Arigato gozaimasu is a bit much, but you should at least say arigato.”
“I bet all the people who don’t say anything have never worked a job like that.”
A survey conducted by a student part-time job-finder site MyNavi found that only 21.8% of respondents said thanks every time, while 24.1% never said anything at all. In an earlier survey by the same company, thirty convenience store clerks were asked how being thanked made them feel and the answer was a unanimous “happy”, so maybe some of those who joined in the debate on the not-saying-anything side will rethink their stance…or take a leaf out of the foreigners in Japan handbook.
Sources: Yahoo! News Japan/J Cast News via jin115
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