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Obnoxious customers driving store staff crazy with impossible demands

After dining on beef and rice at a Yoshinoya chain restaurant in Tokyo, a woman confronted the cashier: “Where’s my coupon?” Fifty-yen discount coupons had been advertised. Other customers were receiving theirs. “Where’s mine?”
The cashier apologized for the oversight and hastened to make it good. The woman was not mollified. On the contrary, seeing she had the upper hand, her anger grew belligerent. “I didn’t get a coupon because you discriminate against women!” “No, no,” protested the cashier, “it was a mistake, a simple mistake!” The other customers gaping at the scene gave the woman an audience to play to. “I’m not paying – you hurt my feelings!”
The woman got her free meal. Anything to get rid of her.
Shukan Gendai (May 25) tells the story as part of its coverage of “incredible customers.”
“Claimers” is an Anglo-Japanese neologism often used to describe them – chronic complainers who make impossible claims upon store personnel. Their numbers and their obnoxiousness are rising, the magazine says.
Claimers tend to fall into one of two categories – those in it for the money, and those on a power trip. With the woman it seems to have been a little – or a lot – of both.
Here’s another story: A middle-aged man approached a sales clerk at a Fukuoka department store. “I bought these socks a month ago and look at this, they’re already torn.” He was furious. He thrust the socks and the receipt at the clerk. “Five times I’ve worn them! Only five times!” To the clerk they appeared to have been worn rather more than that – but never mind, the store would replace the socks. No, said the man, that wasn’t good enough. “I want two pairs!” Two pairs? Why? “One pair for the torn socks and another for the wear and tear on my shoes from walking here to return them!” The clerk shrugged and yielded, marveling that one could get so worked up over an item worth all of 500 yen.
These little episodes in the daily life of a civilized and advanced nation are amusing to read about but cause serious misery to the employees involved. A confrontation in 2013 at a fashion shop in Sapporo ended with two female clerks being bullied into kneeling on the floor and bowing low in submission and apology. To rub salt in their wounds, the triumphant claimer – we’re not told what the dispute was about – photographed the clerks’ humiliation and posted it on social media.
A woman had her hair styled at a beauty salon in Hyogo Prefecture. She looked at herself in the mirror. She frowned. “Too short.” She grew livid. “Too short! A centimeter too short!” The hairdresser apologized. She offered a refund. It was oil on the flames. “I don’t want a refund!” the customer screamed. “I want my hair back!”
She insisted the owner be summoned. The owner was at work at another branch and wouldn’t be back for hours. “I’ll wait,” said the customer – and was as good as her word. The owner’s apology seemed to satisfy her. She strode out of the shop in triumph.
“They say the customer is god,” Shukan Gendai quotes a harassed shop clerk as musing. “God? Or the devil?”


© Japan Today
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