How YOU Can be a Better Customer in Japan

Japanese Clerk

Japanese stores have pride in providing excellent customer service, but the same can’t be said for their guests this Japanese Clerk explains.

A Japanese clerk of convenience store wrote the above viral Tweet, sharing manners that all paying customers should practice. It seems that even Japanese customers take great service for granted.

Please unfold your bills. It’s a hassle to unfold them for you.

This may seem like a petty complaint, but it does have merit. Anyone that has worked in retail will tell you that fast service is key to excellent service, and unfolding crinkly bills can take seconds that a Japanese clerk can’t afford. The longer a line is held up unfolding cash, the crankier customers can become.

Japanese clerk have the customer who shows a barcode to the clerk without saying anything.

Having a barcode on your smartphone for the clerk to scan makes cashless payments easy, but that’s no excuse to not say onegai shimasu (“please”) and arigato gozaimasu (“thank you”) during the transaction.

Don’t throw your coins. You’re not making an offering at the temple.

Not only are making an unnecessary mess, but it’s super disrespectful to throw your money at a clerk.

Annoying behavior is when customers request something by just using its generic name.

The example @kimuti_X gives for this one is when a customer requests a Cafe au Lait, without providing any other details for the request, like what size they would like. The vaguer the request, the more questions have to be asked, so it’s best to be more specific in order to get exactly what you want. Japanese clerk aren’t mind readers, after all.

Please put your card on top of your money. Otherwise, I might not notice it.

Japanese Clerk

Many stores offer rewards cards that allow you to earn points for each purchase. Most Japanese stores require the Japanese clerk to swipe the card before they ring you up. If they don’t notice your card first, your purchases will have to canceled and re-scanned.

The third type of annoying customer isthe one who loses it if you ask them to repeat what they said.

There can often be door chimes and cooker alarms going off in the store, and some customers speak quietly and under their breath, so if you’re asked to repeat yourself, there’s no need to blow up at the staff and take it out on them.

Don’t snatch the change from me. I’m not trying to steal it from you.

Again, it’s super disrespectful to snatch your change from a Japanese clerk. They’re giving you the money back after all, so there is no need to be rude.

The final annoying thing that customers do is run back to get something else from a shelf mid-transaction.

Once a staff member begins ringing up your items, the transaction can’t be simply put on hold at the register, which means the clerk has to stand there and endure death stares from other customers waiting in line until you return.

The tweet from @kimuti_X quickly went viral, earning over 50,000 likes and 12,000 retweets, with konbini clerks nodding their heads in agreement at these annoying customer behavior.

I’m a clerk, but I’m also a human being, just like you.

Sadly, even Japanese customers can look-down on low wage jobs like clerks. While most stores provide excellent service, that doesn’t stop customers from being rude and snapping at the employees.

While the Tweet was aimed at Japanese customers, these manners are universal. In 2016, a comprehensive study showed that retail has a 54% turnover rate – with the main reasons being long hours and low pay. The job is emotionally draining, so the least customers can do is to be a little polite.

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