In Japan, one of the most earnest, old-school ways to apologize is by shaving your head. Obviously, this isn’t something people do for honest mistakes or minor screw-ups, but when you want to go all-out in saying you’re sorry, there’s no clearer way to send the message.
So when the owner of Takoba, a takoyaki (octopus dumpling) stand in Osaka, received a customer complaint about a heinous transgression, he grabbed the clippers and got clipping. In his case, though, this act of contrition was doubly appropriate, because the complaint he’d received was that the customer had found a hair in their takoyaki.
The owner tweeted: “The other day I received a complaint that a customer had found a hair in their takoyaki. I sincerely apologize for causing the customer such inexcusable discomfort. Along with these deep regrets, I have shaved my head and will not make the same mistake again.”
What’s more, since the customer didn’t notice the hair in their takeout takoyaki until they got home, Takoba’s owner even made a special point of going to her home to apologize in person.
Obviously, no one wants to find a hair in their food, especially in a country that values cleanliness as much as Japan does. All the same, many Twitter commenters couldn’t help but be impressed by how thoroughly Takoba’s owner was owning up to the mistake, with reactions such as:
“What a great example of how business owners should behave!”
“There aren’t many people who’d be willing to go that far to apologize.”
“Definitely want to stop by Takoba next time I’m in Osaka.”
However, it might seem kind of strange that someone so deeply responsible and committed to customer concerns would let a hair get into the food in the first place. It turns out there’s an explanation. After arriving at the customer’s house, Takoba’s owner says he asked the woman to show him the takoyaki she’d found the hair in. However, when she did, they were able to determine that she hadn’t actually bought the takoyaki from Takoba at all, the owner reports, but from another stand entirely.
Magnanimously, Takoba’s owner doesn’t have any hard feelings. It’s got to be hot working the takoyaki grill, and with Japan’s sweltering steamy summer just around the corner, it’s at least a convenient time for a short, cool haircut.
Related: Takoba Twitter
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