Customer berates convenience store staff after misunderstanding about cigarettes

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

In Japan, there’s an iron-clad rule of business that says Okyaku-sama ha kami-sama desu, or “The customer is god.” But while it’s an admirable attitude for businesses to adopt in striving to always provide the best possible service, shop clerks unfortunately sometimes find themselves having to deal with a customer from hell.

These eruptions of divine rage tend to happen most often at convenience stores, with complaints about being required to tap a button on a touchscreen to confirm the buyer is of legal drinking age. But in a video shared by Twitter user @smhl_Mg, it’s Japan’s other favorite vice, cigarettes, that has the customer standing at the register screaming at the workers.

Oonaa yobe, ora! (“Call the owner, dammit!”) the Man in Red bellows repeatedly, along with Renraku shiro! (“Get on the damned phone!”). But what’s got him so upset?

Well, Japanese convenience stores sell a huge variety of cigarettes, which are stocked behind the counter and designated with corresponding numbers for specific brands, pack sizes, etc. When a customer wants to buy some, he tells the clerk at the register the number he wants, and the clerk picks the pack. However, the employee in the video has picked he wrong pack.

It’s important to keep in mind that Big Red hasn’t actually been charged for the mistakenly retrieved pack of cigarettes, so he hasn’t suffered any monetary damage. Really, the only thing he’s lost is the amount of time it would take to say “No, this isn’t what I want. I want pack number X,” which doesn’t seem like anything to get so upset over. Granted, some people do have very busy lives, but the customer’s decision to throw an extended hissy fit, as opposed to rectifying the situation by quickly and calmly correcting the clerk, makes it hard to think he’s in anything close to a rush or that his time is particularly precious.

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 8.39.54.png

After several demands for the employees, who appear to be working at an unidentified branch of convenience store chain FamilyMart, to get their branch’s franchise owner on the scene, the employee at the register informs the angry customer that he’s the shift manager. “Shut up!” the customer hollers. “I told you, Number 103!” he continues, proving that he actually is capable of repeating his request, despite feeling the need to preface it with several rounds of high-volume whining.

While no one comes to the employees’ aid in the video, other Twitter users were sympathetic.

“That dude is not right in the head.”

“I work in a convenience store, and sometimes it’s hard to hear what number the customer said the first time. It’s doubly hard if they’re scary-looking.”

“What does this guy want the clerk to do other than saying ‘Sorry, I made a mistake?’ Occupying the space in front of the register like that is an obstruction of business.”

Other commenters had alternative suggestions as to who the staff should get on the phone instead of the store’s owner.

“Yeah, they should totally get on the phone and call the cops.”

“Calling a mental health professional would be a good idea.”

“Time to call this guy’s parents, because their son is acting like a bratty kid.”

And finally, one Twitter user had this to say about the vividly dressed, cap-wearing man with the rotund physique:

“Man, Super Mario needs to shut up already.”

It might seem strange to see the store staff, who are being confronted by an obviously unreasonably angry individual, calmly stand there without firing back any angry remarks of their own. Japanese society in general, though, holds that deescalating conflict is usually the best strategy. There’s even an old adage that translates to “Whoever shuts up first wins,” and that’s just one metric by which we can come to the conclusion that this customer s definitely a loser.

Source: Twitter/@smhl_Mg via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese customer finds run-in with “Indian” convenience store clerk a refreshing experience

-- Japanese commenters applaud tweet denouncing over-entitled customers

-- Store employee uses barcode scanner to defeat knife-wielding robber

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Sounds like the kind of skit that would be on Skatto Japan.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Sounds like the kind of skit that would be on Skatto Japan. got that right!  Where's the eye rolling obachan when you need her!?


9 ( +9 / -0 )

I had a first-hand experience with this. A few years ago, I was walking towards the station early on a Saturday to catch the first train. I heard a lot of yelling and shouting that went on and on, but I thought it was leftover partiers from the night before. It wasn't until I got near the Lawson's convenience store that I realized it was a customer yelling at the poor guy running the register. I felt sorry for the staff member, because that ojisan was ripping him a new one. I got behind the offender and started making fun of him, calling him a noisy obasan, and pretending to take YouTube videos of him. He turned tome and told me it was none of my business. After flinging a few more angry comments towards the staff member, he left. Even sadder, afterwards the staff member kept bowing and apologizing to me.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

In my case, I could tell the guy was just some oyaji leaving for, orcoming from his office job. So, I wasn't worried about my well-being. But the guy in this story may very well be a yakuza.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

can anybody share a link

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My wife always tells me to be careful of these "mentally ill" types. You never know what they might have or what they are capable of doing. Apparently, the store staff are the stronger ones for putting up with this jerk. I'm glad the cameras picked up on it and now others will know of this sicko. If I were the staff, for the next time, I would write the number of the cigarette pack to make understanding clearer. With these phrases in Japanese in the article, I always learn something new.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

My wife always tells me to be careful of these "mentally ill" types. You never know what they might have or what they are capable of doing. Apparently, the store staff are the stronger ones for putting up with this jerk.

Same here. Missus always tells me to mind my own business and ignore, you never know how far gone they are mentally. Good advice that I'm sometimes still too stubborn to listen to.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

He isn't yakuza. He is a pretend tough guy. He is one of those selective outragers who target people that they no for a fact won't confront them. They act tough around elderly, women, children, and select men and foreigners. If they clerk had any height, size or facial hair, this wouldn't have never happened. If any physical confrontation actually took place, they would be the first one to call the cops.

That dude is a joke! Look at his outfit; he is no different from a cosplayer or a LARPer!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Bad dress sence seems to mirror bad mental condition. I've stepped in many times to stop these crazies even escorted them off the premises. Shop staff don't get paid for this. Nor have the training. He should be known to authorities and charged with verbal assault. And mentally assessed. That much red is there as a warning like the elusive but deadly piciskipy wide mouthed leaping death snail.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm pretty sure I see tattoos on his hand, that's why I'm asking for a link so we can get a better look. And he's wearing that getup because he wants attention.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ papi - my wife and I once witnessed one hosto beating, and ripping the clothes of another hosto, who was not resisting, as they walked away from the entertainment district towards some unknown destination. We were discussing whether we should call the police, but our friend who works at the 7-Eleven warned us not to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's what meth does. Probably on that yaba.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Working in restaurant, I saw things like this a few times.

This being Japan, there's not much that the employees can do. Apologize, call the boss... that's it.

Companies should give license to call the cops in such cases.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I frequently have arguments with staff when buying beer. I’m an old man. I don’t wanna tough the screen for health reason. But I don’t shout, I insist they give me some paper to use. I realize it is not their stupid idea to touch a screen without showing a photo ID with your age.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

Just another Japanese bully that's never been punched in the head for being a twit!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Really hate these smegheads who scream, URRRRUSAI ! (With rolled ‘Rs’) at the top of their lungs...

the irony is totally lost on them.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Im glad his face became public property.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

When more foreigners show up in the workplace then there’ll be a lot of this type of culture shock to observe.....

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Good advice that I'm sometimes still too stubborn to listen to.

You and me both.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Saw one of these in our local Famima recently. The guy was screaming at the poor guy behind the counter, and he just wouldn't let up. Again and again he came up with more invective, and the power in his voice was frightening. "Drop it, please", I thought. The atmoshphere in the store was poisonous to say the least. Could he really enjoy bullying someone in an 'inferior' position to him?

I really feel for anyone who has to live in the same house with such a selfish, insecure, obnoxious creep.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Oh, and take off that backpack, and give up smoking.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Simple, call the cops! Fools if you don’t.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Did anyone else besides me push the play buttons on the two pix above?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I did, more than once.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Once some oyaji like that guy was yelling in the face of a salaryman in his 40s on the train. The looks on everyone's faces on the train was like the old fxck was taking a long piss on everyone's soul. After this continued for nearly 20 minutes, I slowly walked over to the yelling old guy, got in his face and yelled in a doom metal voice so loud I surprised myself, "Shut. The Fxck. Up!!!" Absolute silence for the remainder of the trip. Yes, I will do it again if that situation arises again. Tired of these over 50s that were spoiled by their meek mother and wife that kissed their butts 24/7. Annoying AF highchair tyrants.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Me too, always protect the week the unprotected that is what makes the difference between regret and honour. Bullies relying on no one helping their victims, don't let them win. Say something, eye contact, quiet voice. Stop these nut jobs. At school at work anywhere it's your shame not to step up.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Michael G, Cricky, you are my heros.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't know why staff didn't just tell him off. Even if they got fired there are many jobs at other convenience stores and they don't need to put up with clowns like this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My wife always tells me to be careful of these "mentally ill" types. You never know what they might have or what they are capable of doing. 

Japan used to be not like this with this many "mentally ill" types. Trust my words. It wasn't.

can anybody share a link

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Drug addicts often have trouble controlling their emotions, especially in matters involving scoring their fix.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

 I don’t wanna tough the screen for health reason.

seriously your being sarcastic right!? there probably more germs on the money you handed the clerk than on the screen, heres another idea after youve touched the screen got your change, go to the toilet and spray you hands with alcohol and or wash your hands, not difficult is it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just another Japanese bully that's never been punched in the head for being a twit!

oh man a good punch in the head goes a long way in shutting up Dheads, just do it with no cameras or witnesses around

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let me tell you, in the US there is a similar phrase for retail people:"The Customer is Always Right." Except that, if you've been in retail more than a few weeks, you'll realize that is utter BS.

In the 13 years I worked in retail (first as an associate, then as a department manager) I can't tell you how many times I was confronted by dolts who would berate you, humiliate you and insult you and your bosses would expect you to take it with grace. I was called a liar to my face, a fatass when I wasn't moving fast enough with the 30 pounds of boxes I was carrying for them, ethnically insulted ("Are you a Jew? You look like a Jew" by two older ladies who were upset with me because they wanted a layaway with no ID or receipt), and pretty much called everything but a milk cow.

And yet, we would get no backup from store managers and expected to say "Thank you, come again". I am sure these poor convenience store clerks are in the same boat as I was. And we too, are taught to de-escalate an angry customer. But more often than not, they just feel like hollering at someone they think is beneath them.

Boy am I glad I no longer work retail :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Speed: Did anyone else besides me push the play buttons on the two pix above?

Oh yeah, then I remembered where I was and shuffled off, shamefaced.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everyone should start laughing hysterically at this dolt.

Instead of just watching, start to laugh.

Flat tire in 3-2-1...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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