Suspect was apparently enraged when his maturity was called into question.

Pent-up frustration broke out in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture on 1 July when a 46-year-old construction worker smashed the touchscreen panel of a convenience store cash register while purchasing a can of chu-hi, a fruit-flavored carbonated alcoholic drink.

All over Japan it is common practice when buying restricted goods like alcohol and tobacco to touch a “Yes” button on the register screen asking if you’re over 20. It’s a completely hollow gesture with the purpose of avoiding confrontation and making liability murky in the event an under-aged person is sold such contraband.

A lot of the time I’ve even had the clerk reach around and touch the button themselves in order to avoid even trying to explain what it was about to me. Needless to say, as a security procedure it has more holes than a cheese grater, but there is something it’s really effective at: annoying older men.

▼ This unrelated video shows a gentleman explaining his dissatisfaction with the age verification system to a woefully underpaid clerk

To most people the act of lifting an arm two feet in the air and touching a square doesn’t rank highly on the annoying things we have to do on any given day. However, for a certain segment of older Japanese men, it seems to be symbolic of everything that is wrong with this world and causes them to lash out in fury.

In this particular case, the suspect told Takarazuka Police “I hit it strongly with the back of my hand, so it broke.” While that at first sounds like a simple case of underestimating his own strength, he bemusedly added “I bought alcohol there many times. Why do they make me do it every time?!”

Reaction to the incident was mixed between those mystified by and sympathizing with the man’s actions.

“Those screens are annoying but a backhand is never the answer.”
“Scary that people are losing their minds just because they are asked to confirm their age.”
“Sounds like the guy was already half in the bag.”
“Incidents like these are happening an awful lot.”
“I hate that button too! The nerve of people asking someone in their sixties to push it!”
“We touch smartphones all day long. What’s one more tap?”

Police added that the value of the LCD touchscreen was approximately 50,000 yen (US$450) which the man will presumably be obliged to repay. The screen was said to have a spiderweb like crack running through it after the smack.

These incidents are disturbingly common in Japan, and should be noted by the convenience store industry. When the day does come that these businesses go fully automated, appropriate checks and measures will need to be made to protect them from old guys trashing the place in a fit of indignant rage.

Because apparently going to a bar, supermarket, vending machine, or any other place that readily sells alcohol and tobacco is out of the question for them.

Source: Kobe Shimbun Next, Hachima Kiko

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