Are You Being Served?

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This blog contains many posts showcasing the fabulous sights, cuisine and experiences only to be found in Japan. But what makes travel in this country a real delight is the service. So courteous and polite are the typical Japanese employee that I’ve come to think of Japan as the only place where I can truly relax without having my young-fogey sensibilities upset. Not once have I been told by gum chewing till staff to “wait a minute, I’m just chattin’ on my mobile” or been given the wrong order only to have the waitress tell me “if you didn’t want it why did you bloody order it”: experiences I have suffered in England.

So we can really appreciate the thoughtfulness of the service I have broken down a transaction I had at my local Uniqlo store. A few things to remember whilst reading this account:

1. The level of service recounted here is typical in Japan.

2. The store I visited (Uniqlo) is a budget clothes shop and I spent less than £30.

3. I am not a regular at the store.

As I enter the store the staff immediately welcome me, bow and inform me that men’s wear is on the third floor.So I take the escalators (which are orientated such that one can step straight from one up escalator to the next without being forced to see more of the store in between) and head for the jeans.

I find the ones I like: indigo with turn-ups, most fashionable at the moment (so I’m told). I go to the changing rooms and slip off my shoes before entering the cubicle. When I re-emerge I find that my shoes have been corrected (pointing in the right direction) and a member of staff immediately asks if I would like to buy the jeans or if they can take them off me if they are not suitable.

I inform them that they are a little long and they say that it is possible to have them adjusted at no extra charge. I ask how many days it will take and they reply that it will take 30 minutes. I leave the store for a coffee and return in 40 minutes to find my jeans waiting and neatly folded. My assistant shows me the jeans and asks if they are to my liking. He then shows me the receipt for the adjustment with the name of the tailor in case I have any issues in the future. He then places them in a bag and uses a strip of tape to close the top of the bag to make it easier to carry. But just before the tape is completely pressed to the bag the assistant deftly folds over the end of the tape to form a small tab which is not stuck to the bag. This is to allow me to easily remove the tape, when I get home, without having to scratch at the edge of the tape to lift the end up.

Of course, you’re all anxious to see how the jeans look on. And I can tell you that getting a professional model to exhibit the jeans was not cheap…

… which is why you get me instead.


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