24-year-old cashier literally wasn’t in the mood for any antics.

As someone who was pretty shy as a kid, then decided to move overseas and use a, to-me, foreign language as an adult, I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to improve my communication skills. As a result, even now I’m pretty happy when I can think of a crystal-clear way to say what I want, and I imagine Itsuo Kushida must have felt a similar pre-loaded satisfaction when he walked into a convenience store in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward on February 26.

The 64-year-old Kushida walked right up to the register, where a 24-year-old female clerk was on duty, and told her “Give me the money. 30,000 yen (US$280)” while pointing a kitchen knife at her. Sure, his choice of words wasn’t flowery, but the message is succinct and easily understandable, especially since he was considerate enough to specify his desired amount, like he was withdrawing cash from an ATM, only using a bladed instrument instead of a PIN to access the funds.

His detailed instructions already put Kushida ahead of other, less linguistically detail-oriented criminals. However, it takes two to communicate, and while the clerk heard what Kushida had said, she, for whatever reason, says she thought he was pulling a prank on her. So instead of pulling three 10,000-yen bills out of the register, she coolly told Kushida “Shiranai desu,” literally “I don’t know” and in this case meaning “I don’t know what you’re talking about” or “I don’t know who you are.”

▼ So few hold-up men bring a whiteboard with them to use as a visual aid during their robbery, since even wheeled types tend to get in the way of a speedy getaway.

Apparently at a loss as to how to phrase his demand any more clearly than he already had, Kushida turned around and walked out of the store. When the store manager was informed of the incident, though, he pulled the security camera footage and contacted the police, who identified Kushida and have placed him under arrest.

As for the clerk, she went right back to work after being threatened by Kushida, and while her two-word “Shiranai desu” may not be the absolute most concise way of verbally stopping a robbery that we’ve heard about, she’s still a great example of efficiency and work ethic. Kushida, meanwhile, has admitted to the charges, saying “I did it because I wanted money,” which hopefully is direct enough that investigators will believe him the first time.

Source: Livedoor News/Tele Asa News via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
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