A Shopper’s Dream
Japan is a place, where you can buy literally anything, so if you dream of buying something unique and exceptional – you’ve come to the right place. But what’s truly amazing is the very process of shopping for it and the unparalleled customer service accompanying it. Here the customers actually matter and they’re taken care of.
photo credit: japan-guide.com
can be sorted into a few categories, depending on the prices and the people visiting them.
The first would be premium stores, where everything’s luxurious, including the way the salesman acts. From the moment you enter the store you’re treated like the most important patron and advised by the professional team. The only thing you need to do is to make a choice.
All the goods are handled in white gloves, described in details, and a properly trained staff is ready to answer all your questions. If, by chance, it’s raining on the day you’ve decided to make a purchase, your precious buy will be packed in a special waterproof bag. Then the incredibly polite shop-assistant will hold the door for you and wave goodbye to you until you’re gone from his sight.
The only difference between this store category and the other one would be the prices and the gloves.
Give it a Try
When buying clothes, it’s always necessary to try them on and it’s not always really pleasant – but not in Japan. Taking your shoes off is mandatory in the fitting room, although you can choose from some test shoes, usually black high heels or slippers. You can also use a special face-mask in order not to stain the clothes with makeup.
The items you’ve bought are packed into a plastic or paper bag and wrapped with a special duct tape, with the store logo on it. The money is handled in a very specific manner. First it’s the banknotes, carefully counted by the sales clerk before the eyes of the customer. Then it’s coins and a receipt, a traditional nod, a thank you – and you can finally enjoy your purchase.
The Japanese love cleanliness and order and the best way to experience that is to visit H&M, Zara or Forever21. Unlike any other stores of those chains, the Japanese ones have no clothes lying on the floor and everything is in its right place. In front of every store there’s a basket with disposable plastic cases for the umbrellas. When it rains we simply put the wet umbrella into the case and not leave pools of mud in the shopping mall. By the entrance there’s also a liquid disinfectant dispenser, so you can enjoy your shopping without worrying about germs and other unpleasant things.
The next store category are the 100Y stores, a place for some unexpected shopping adventure, usually ending with a few bags full of surprising things. Care for some plastic case for a banana, socks for your table, a Hello Kitty sponge or a special handle for droopy eyelids? It’s all there (in any color you want)!
The Japanese konbini (the name comes from the English “convenience stores”), open 24/7, can help you in a seemingly hopeless situation. It’s like a photocopier, an ATM, a big-size printer, a microwave, an ice-cream machine, a post office, a newspaper stand, a bakery, a beauty salon and a liquor store combined.
The vending machines are the separate category, and it’s the interesting one. Except for such trivial things as coffee, tea or other drinks you can buy some unexpected things from the vending machines. Forgot a tie to a business meeting? For a measly sum of 1000Y you can avoid an embarrassment and buy it from the vending machine. If you need some lobster, a hairdryer, soup, tights, hard-boiled eggs, shaving razors or panties – the machine’s got you.
One could go on about Japan for a long time, but one thing’s certain. There’s no other place on earth, where you can feel so appreciated while buying an ordinary bread and so confused upon discovering it’s filled with corn and whipped cream.
Guest post by Joanna Klepacka