Seiyu might be setting a precedent with their easily stackable product tubs.

Aestheticism is highly prized in Japan. From the daintiest ribbon-wrapped Coke bottle to the broad, clean streets, how things look is just about as important as how they operate.

For a great example of this in action, just look at the majority of Japanese supermarkets. You’ll find pristine racks of products lined in single file, and they’ll be reorganized right away when a customer disrupts the presentation by removing something.

▼ Regimented rows of vegetables at a supermarket.

But… is it necessary to put such importance on aesthetics at a supermarket? One Seiyu supermarket store is taking a stand.

“This is really true. More supermarkets should follow suit.” (Sign translation below)

The sign pictured reads:

“We stack our shelves for efficiency rather than attractiveness.
The rows of cup ramen and snack baskets may look as though they have been thrown together haphazardly. However we find that stacking them in this way drastically increases our efficiency. This helps us to offer you products at such low prices.”

The user who posted the picture clearly feels strongly about this method, as they went on to outline many of the arguments about stacking in this way — and then rebutted each one in turn.

“‘It’s hard to see the best before date.’
Do you really need to see each date, when most items from a shipment will have the same one?”

‘If you don’t stack them neatly, it’s hard to see the packaging.’
You can’t see the top or bottom of most neatly packed products either, and if you take one out to check and then decide to put it back, you have to make sure it looks good.”

‘The value of products will decline if they’re stacked like this.’
Just like Seiyu said in their announcement, this stacking rule only applies to snacks and cup ramen (though it wouldn’t especially bother me anyway.)”

‘It’ll be a pain to take stock of the products.’
What if you just used a bunch of grocery carts while taking stock, filled them with the total amount of one item, and then throw them into the display basket as you inspect them?”

‘I hate how messy this kind of display looks so I never buy products stacked like this.’
To each their own. No one is saying you have to shop at supermarkets that stack like this.”

Then, to demonstrate against the argument for package visibility, they posted this follow-up image.

▼ (Translation below)

“I took a photo from the same supermarket of the products stacked together nicely. I feel like you still can’t see the top of the packaging, just like how they’re packed in a convenience store. But if they’re all jumbled together, they face in all kinds of directions, right? So you’re more likely to see the package. Anyway, with regular products like this I feel like more people buy it after checking the price without even glancing at the package.”

There was a considerable amount of backlash from some commenters, who insisted that taking that extra time and care to make things look presentable is part of the Japanese spirit, and it’s a sad thing to see it passed over in favor of efficiency. Others compared Seiyu’s messy shelves to other well-known budget stores like Don Quijote, while others said “it looks like a supermarket from abroad”.

Those last commenters might be onto something. You see, the majority of shares in Seiyu are owned by an American retailer: Wal-Mart.

For what it’s worth, more than one commenter said “I think it looks better stacked in a jumble”. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder!

Source: Twitter/@jp_tomato via My Game News Flash
Featured image: Flickr/Brand New Films
Insert image: Flickr/Jacob Levine
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