There’s one place in particular where Japanese people aren’t just not polite, they’re downright rude.

Around the world, Japanese people are seen as kind, quiet, and above all, polite. While that’s true in many cases, especially when it comes to being served by those working in the customer service industry, it’s not always the case in everyday situations, and shining a light on the issue is Japanese Twitter user Arisa, who goes by @0smxUBZWd2MYRV3 online.

According to Arisa, Japanese people can be incredibly rude, and she’s seen it all firsthand as she works as a cash register clerk in Japan. She says it’s a stressful job, as she has to deal with people being rude to her day in and day out, and to top it all off, there’s nothing she can say or do about it, as her role in the customer service industry requires her to be courteous while smiling and bowing politely to them regardless.

▼ Behind the smile and the “Irasshaimase!” (“Welcome!“) there’s a person with feelings.

Arisa recently took to Twitter to vent her frustrations, posting a thread that began with this tweet.

The tweet above reads:

“I have a bit of a complaint.
I work at the cash register, but you know what?

There are way too many customers who have bad manners.
What I mean is, there’s really a lot of customers who are unacceptable as people.
When you serve customers, you’ll know all too well that it’s a lie to say Japanese people are polite.
With 30-40 percent of customers having bad manners, the stress on me is piling up.
I think it’s really terrible that they don’t make people learn how to interact with others during compulsory education at schools.”

She followed that tweet with another one, which reads:

“I’m really surprised at the large number of customers who don’t say anything and just run off after snatching their change or receipt in an intimidating way.
Store clerks are human beings??
I’m disheartened every day because Japanese cultural standards have dropped this low.”

Rather than just complain about the situation, though, Arisa is attempting to improve things by educating everyone with some tips on how to act as a customer.

“It’s fine to not say anything.
I don’t feel bad at all if you give a tiny nod or use gestures to respond to my questions. [regarding how the customer wants to pay or if they want a bag, for example]
This is like the least you can do as a person.” 

“Before the clerk uses the register, say ‘onegai shimasu’. [This phrase is commonly used to mean “please” in Japan]
When the clerk asks you things like ‘Do you have a point card?’ say something properly, like ‘No, I don’t.’
Finally, when you’re given your change say ‘thank you’.
It’s all pretty straightforward but it’s something only about 10 percent of customers can do.”

▼ At this point, a smile wouldn’t cost you anything either.

Arisa’s comments resonated with a large number of people in Japan, who supported her tale with comments like:

“Japanese people are kind to foreigners but strict with Japanese people.”
“Elderly male customers tend to be the worst. Surprisingly, young people are polite.”

“Ten years ago, as a student, I worked as a cashier at a supermarket, and the overwhelming majority of middle-aged men and women were rude.”
“I also worked on the register when I was a student and I was shocked by the way customers treated me.”
“I hate how there’s no vertical relationship in the service industry in Japan — customers are above and cashiers are below.” 
“So many customers act like god, but not a kind one.”

It’s true that the customer is god in the eyes of the Japanese service industry. But that doesn’t give them a free pass to forget the fact that, at the end of the day, they and the person serving them are both really human beings with feelings.

So next time you’re at the register in Japan — or anywhere else in the world for that matter — don’t forget a little courtesy can go a long way towards making a cashier’s day just that little bit brighter. That really shouldn’t be too hard in Japan, though, where customers ought to be more appreciative of the remarkable Japanese art of giving and receiving change.

Source: Jin
Featured image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3)

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