Japan is known for its excellent customer service, but being an excellent customer is important too.

With Japan’s incredibly high standards for customer service, cashiers are expected to be polite, well-groomed, and efficient. After all, if a store offers a sub-par shopping experience, Japanese shoppers are quick to go looking for a better one someplace else.

But human interactions, even those as simple as paying for your Gundam head gold-covered tofu or self-designed Uniqlo Pokémon T-shirt, are two-way affairs, and if there are things cashiers should do for customers, so too are there things customers should do for cashiers, as highlighted in a recent tweet from Japanese Twitter user @moroQma.

“I think everyone should spend some time working as a cashier, to know what it feels like. That’s what I felt for the entire 15 years I worked part-time in a bookstore, and the things I desperately wish customers would do are:
● Say ‘Please’ when they bring their items to the register
● Say ‘Thank you’ when they receive their change

That’s really all I want. You can use whatever phrasing you feel like. If customers would just say these things, clerks would feel so much happier.”

A number of other Twitter users were quick to second the call for such basic courtesy:

“The only people who’d disagree with that are people who’ve never worked in the service industry.”
“I always say ‘Thank you,’ but I never thought about saying ‘Please.’ But really, saying both should be common sense.”
“When customers say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you,’ it makes my shift at the supermarket I work at so much easier.”
“OK! Now I feel confident enough to say these to the girl who works the register when I go shopping tomorrow.”

▼ “Thank you!”

In keeping with the theme of “other people are people too,” it’s probably best to consider that not every silent customer is necessarily of the mind that clerks aren’t deserving of respect and politeness. With Japan’s high population density, when you’re getting rung up at a store, there’s a pretty high chance that there are other people waiting in line behind you, and the general consensus is that the transaction should be completed as quickly as possible, and some shoppers may feel that speaking up will slow down the process.

However, “Please” can be said as you’re setting the items you’re buying down on the counter, and “Thank you” as you’re pocketing your change, so the delays they cause, at most, are fractions of a second. If you’d like to vocally let the cashier know that you value their effort and service, the phrase to use for please, in this sort of instance, is “Onegai shimasu,” and for “Thank you” “Arigatou” works fine, or you can even use the shorter, snappier “Doumo” if you want to keep things more casual.

But what if you, as a non-Japanese native speaker, forget those phrases? Don’t sweat it – if you’re a visibly obvious foreigner, most people in Japan are willing to cut you some slack regarding the local language and etiquette. However, you don’t need to be able to speak a word of Japanese to look at the cashier and give a slight, gentle bow of your head, a gesture that communicates both “Please” and “Thank you” pretty easily.

Oh, and if you want to really polish your Japanese shopping manners, here are six more things to keep in mind.

Source: Twitter/@moroQma via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso 
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