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Well, I took the broken new cheap power saw back to the big farmer-tool store where I’d bought it a couple months ago, of course taking the receipt along (I would never in a million years be so efficient as to save a receipt for a cheap tool, let alone find it some months later, but my Minamoto-clan wife is; always amazes me).

As I drove to the store, in that still some-decades-ago-US part of my mind where my American resides, I was expecting that basically suspicious response from an incipiently surly clerk: “You got the receipt?” (From under hooded eyes) “You sure you didn’t remove those screws yourself, you know what the warranty says,” etc. with all those tacitly intimidating implications, then maybe “Ok, we’ll send it back to the manufacturer see what they say, be a few weeks, we’ll let you know, just be sure to press hard when you fill out these triplicate forms completely with the stuttery ballpoint pen attached by a chain to the powerful spring coil on the low-level, uneven desktop,” and so on in my American’s head.

(I’m sure it isn’t really like that in the US any more, I’m sure customer relations have become much more loving and personal, arm-around-the-shoulder buddy-caring and we’re-all-in-this-together-y, with much better and unfettered pens, since my goods-returning American’s time there.)

Went in to the store, found the hardware clerk busy pricing some stuff; showed him the saw, where the blade screws had come out and probably shot down the mountain and the blade had come off but fortunately lockstopped; he bowed and said “Please wait here,” took the saw into the back of the store, likely to get a higher up who could take me properly to task…

A couple minutes later the manager found me, bowed deeply, said “We are very sorry for the extreme shock you must have suffered at this mishap” or words to that effect. And still to that effect, bowing as to a very important person, “Please accept our profound apologies and be so good as to select one of these more expensive brand-name power saws as a token of our deep regret and respect for your patronage of our humble store.”

I picked out a very nice Ryobi: more power, lighter etc. The still-bowing manager threw in an extra new blade as well, never even asked for the receipt. Despite many similar experiences here in Japan, my American was dumbfounded yet again.

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About Robert Brady

  • Bennett

    Robert, I don’t think things have changed that much since you left. Certainly not to the level of courtesy you describe.

    Thanks for the fun read, and BTW, the post on your blog about the monkeys watching you chop firewood was masterful!

    Serious laugh out loud stuff. Plus, it had me imagining conversations among my chickens as I tlled the garden beds…


  • That’s a great illustration of the power of good customer service – ty for the perspective