Saturday, 25 March 2017

Don't assume that they can't.

I am writing this blog post here. It is quite a nice place to concentrate and you can really knuckle down and do some good work.

We are on the 37th floor here and on a clear day it certainly has a very nice view. You can even see Mount Fuji.

On the first floor of this building is a small supermarket in which I go to regularly to buy some drinks or snacks to consume while working. It has everything I want but there is one problem and it is at the checkout.

At the checkout you have the option whether or not you need a plastic bag to carry your shopping in. Half the time I am asked if I need the bag and the other half I'm not asked. Why am I not asked and everyone else is asked? This does annoy me from time to time.

The other day I was in a convenience store and the procedure in Japan and most countries in fact is that you take your stuff to the counter. The shop staff say hello, then tell you the price and then thank you for coming. It's all really simple, right?

Well, this one particular day the shop clerk didn't say anything. I'm standing there like a bloody idiot waiting for him to tell me the price and I get nothing. He pointed at the price on the register and I'm thinking this isn't how he has been trained to do this transaction.

Anyway the moral of this story is don't you decide if the other person can do something or not. In the above two cases, the shop clerks had both decided that i couldn't speak Japanese. As far as I am concerned that isn't their decision to make. I say, just do your job properly and the customer will tell you if they can understand or not.

In China, when I was at a convenience store, the only thing I understood was "ni hao" which is Chinese for hello and the price. I was treated like a normal customer and I am sure if he had asked me a question I would have told him.

That's fine, surely? Or am I losing something here culturally? Maybe I am.

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