Friday, May 10, 2013

My "Japan" Day

I had two experiences in 30 minutes today that reminded me how much this country can frustrate me.

Experience #0.
This happened a different day, but it relates to #1, so I'll share it here. For Mother's Day, I promised Rachel that I would have the carpets in our apartment cleaned. So, I called up a local service company that advertised that they clean carpets (among other services). When I asked if they could come do an estimate, he asked if we were living in the apartment currently. I thought that a bit odd and asked why it would matter. He replied that they only clean carpets in apartments that are unoccupied. ??? I didn't really know how to respond to that.  It was as if he had told me they only clean carpet stapled to the ceiling. So very Japan.

Experience #1.
I went to the local medicinal/cleaning/beauty supply store (btw, it HAS to be a special store, it can't be combined with any other types of goods. A story for another post) to get some carpet cleaner. Just something simple that would take some spots out of our carpet (see #0 for background). I thought, I'll just save some time and ask someone what they recommend. The worker responded that while they carry most cleaning supplies, carpet shampoo was sort of a specialized cleaner and needed to be purchased at a LARGER cleaning supply store. The thing is, this place is the LARGEST medicinal/cleaning/beauty supply store in our town! There's nowhere near here that would possibly carry something that they don't. So very Japan.

Experience #2.
After my *brief* stop at the cleaning supply store, I headed to the flower shop to get some Mother's Day flowers for Rachel. Logan and I picked out the perfect arrangement and took it to the register. I thought, I have close to the amount required, maybe a few yen short, in cash. If they won't take what I have, surely they'll take a card because they sell some pretty expensive stuff here. Yeah. No such luck. "Sorry, we only accept cash. (You know, because this is Japan and credit cards are just a fad for us; like the internet, online shopping, and central heating)". Ok, not good. "Well, I it looks like I'm about 30 yen short, but on a purchase of this size, that's not all that much, so can you do me a solid and just take what I have since you won't accept my credit card?" After conferring with TWO OF HER MANAGERS, she comes back and says, "I'm sorry, but the price is what it is and we can only accept the exact amount... Perhaps you can go to a bank and come back with the rest." ... ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?! We're talking about less than a .01% discount on an item with a hand-written price tag taped to the side of it! It's not even bar-coded! Defeated, I let my Japanese side take over and went to the bank to get the requisite cash. I could have screamed. So very Japan.

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