Finally, no more having to go on riddle-filled quests in order to get your change.

I always marvel at the amount of signage used around Japan, both in urban and even rural areas. Even in this area of digital communication, it seems there’s no better way to reach the public than with a lot of paint.

But sometimes it seems like signs are just there for the sake of being signs. That might sound odd at first, but here with a perfect example is Twitter user Yusaku Nakazawa (@tomosaku) who spotted the following sign at a gas station and commented: “I thought about it for five seconds, and that’s not especially convenient at all.”

▼ “It’s CONVENIENT! Pay CASH! Customers who fill up with CASH will receive their CHANGE in CASH on the spot”

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the colorful bold fonts, but Nakazawa is totally right that this isn’t convenient at all. At least, it’s not any more convenient than any cash transaction that has taken place since ancient times.

▼ The sign can be found at the ENEOS gas station on Highway 28 in Naruto, Tokushima

Others were also not swayed by the ruse to trick us into using cash.

“That sounds less convenient than a credit or debit card.”
“Yeah, convenient for them to not have to pay service charges.”
“Is this the case I heard of where prepaid cards keep the fractions of yen on the account rather than the owner rounding up and pocketing the fractions?”
“I saw a comedy skit like this once.”
“That’s shady.”
“That’s an old psychological trick to make you think something ordinary is something amazing.”

There was a lot of speculation among the comments that this was some ploy for the owner to save or pocket money or simply because they were some kind of technophobe resisting electronic payments to the bitter end. However, the seasoned drivers in the crowd knew what the sign meant right away and explained for us pedestrians what it really meant.

With some gas pumps in Japan customers prepay an amount of money prior to pumping by either card or cash depending on the machine. In the event the customer doesn’t pump the full amount they paid for, they must take their receipt to the cashier or a special machine to get their change back.

▼ This picture shows a gas pump next to a “change machine,” which is a machine that pays out the remaining balance of your pump rather than a machine that breaks larger bills into coins.

That’s understandably a bit of hassle, so now you can understand why a gas station would point out that there you can use cash to pump your gas and get your change back right there at the pump. Gas pumps in urban areas like the one shown in the video below usually will spit out your change, but in rural areas like Tokushima Prefecture, it’s a bit more of a luxury.

▼ This video demonstration shows the purchase of gas with a prepaid card but also getting change returned from the machine in cash.

You probably could rightfully criticize the gas station for not being a little more clear with their message, but anyone who didn’t understand it obviously wasn’t their intended target anyway.

Now that that mystery’s solved, let’s get back to figuring out what those messed up Aichi highway signs are trying to tell us.

Source: Twitter/@tomosaku
Featured image: Twitter/@tomosaku
Insert image: Wikipedia/Matsuoka Akiyoshi
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