Hard to find good help these days.

Nitori is a major home furnishings chain in Japan with hundreds of stores across the country. They even expanded to North America for about a decade under the brand Aki-Home, with both names deriving from the founder Akio Nitori.

▼ Sadly, Aki-Home is in the process of closing its remaining North American locations

However, as a company gets as large as Nitori, it can be difficult to keep tabs on the entire workforce. When that happens all sorts of problems, from frequent customer complaints to harassment, can begin to emerge, but even a company like Nitori was probably caught off guard to learn that one of their security personnel was stealing from the store he worked at.

On 25 January, Saitama Police arrested 47-year-old Hiroyuki Hashimoto for stealing from a Nitori store in Kumagaya City, Saitama Prefecture, where he was employed part-time as a security guard.

According to police, Hashimoto confessed to stealing eight items from the store on the night of 11 January after it closed. The items included a pot lid and mattress and had a total value of 38,000 yen (US$293). He also admitted to stealing from the store since March of last year.

A Nitori employee discovered that thievery was afoot while looking at a flea market website and finding an account that listed over 700 Nitori items, such as kitchenware labeled as “brand new and marked down” and “dokuji route” which refers to obtaining goods through alternative – but presumably legal – sales channels such as factory-direct. Police are currently trying to link Hashimoto to the seller’s account.

▼ A news report with a cute illustration of the shocked Nitori employee

Readers of the news were naturally struck by the irony of the crime, but it also triggered a wave of puns as “tori” is an informal noun rendering that can mean “stealing” in Japanese. Combined with “ni” which can mean “two” or have a grammatical function of “in” or “at”, you can get quips like “Nitori ni tori ni” (going to steal from Nitori) or “nitori dokoroka 700 tentori” (it wasn’t just two thefts, it was 700 thefts).

Filtering all those out, we’re left with the following comments.

“Over 700?! lol”
“For a security guard, he should have known the system better and not got caught. Very incompetent.”
“They shouldn’t hire guards on a part-time basis if they want to trust them.”
“Stores like that have just as many cameras on the employees as they do the customers.”
“He probably started small and worked his way up to mattresses.”
“Anytime I see ‘dokuji route‘ I just assume its stolen.”
“Nitori didn’t even notice 700 items go missing?”

It’s probably not a good look for Nitori to have let this happen. On the other hand, I can’t stopping thinking about how Hashimoto stole eight items, including a whole mattress, and it was all only worth 38,000 yen. That’s a pretty good deal!

I guess there really is no such thing as bad publicity, because Nitori will totally be the first place I check out next time I’m shopping for a mattress and other assorted bedding.

Source: TV Asahi, Itai News
Top image: ©SoraNews24
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