Shopping assistants

Here in Japan, being able to speak english somehow means you are wealthy. This may sound odd but it is true.

I was once at a western store that sold speakers. All the employees were Japanese. And my father and I were speaking in english. As soon as we enter the store, a male sales attendant thought it was wise to follow us around this store for a solid, uncomfortable, 5 minutes. He would nod every time my father would stop at an item and ask me about it but the attendant would never interject. He didn’t say anything, just silently gestured a lot behind me, and followed. As my father and I were leaving the store, the man said thank you and bowed. I was utterly confused and my father explained that “when a Japanese person can speak english it somehow means they are very well educated, and usually quite wealthy.”.

Another time I really understood what my father meant was when I was out with a friend who is Japanese. My friend and I went to a clothing store that was small and not too crowded. We spoke in english the entire time we were there. A young lady who was a bit shorter than us immediately came up to us to ask us if we were looking for anything in particular and my friend politely shook her head so we could look at some stuff on our own. After a minute or two the same woman came back next to us and made a few comments about what we were wearing. I was honestly annoyed at this point but I said thank you and kept looking. My friend did the same. We didn’t speak Japanese to each other once. And I didn’t find anything I thought i should get and my friend didn’t either so we were headed out until the same woman brought out two shirts for us to try. But we both said thank you and left. The shirts she brought out were ¥2750, a bit much for us to spend for a shirt.

Shop assistants here in Japan are super polite at first but later you’ll figure out that they are extremely persistent. Sometimes a bit too much. I have never really liked it because I prefer looking at the things I want alone with out any judgement. But in Japan they are very well mannered and rarely rude so its better customer service compared to other countries.

Have you ever encountered this before?



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