Tuesday, August 28, 2007

culture shock

Japan's customer service in department stores are wonderful, and sometimes I think it is a bit too much. You get treated like royalty when the doors first open and everyone bows to you. I honestly thought someone famous was along side of me, until I realized that they were bowing at me! (and everyone else around me.) No one working in U.S. department stores would ever imagine having to give this type of service.

When you go to a gas station here, they give you "full service", throw out your trash, clean your windows and even stop traffic and bow as you leave!

Customer service in other industries, like banking, can be a bit iffy.
In Hawaii, as well as the U.S., you can do your banking anytime of the day or week, on the computer or over the phone. We are definitely spoiled in the U.S.

This is not the case in Japan.

If you want to withdraw money from your bank's ATM, you have to do it between the designated times or be prepared to pay a "penalty fee" (isn't it my money? apparently not).

If you want to deposit money, you have to do it between designated times, or wait until the next working business day. (so now they don't want my money? apparently yes.)

You want to transfer money from one bank account to another, you have to pay a handling fee, even if the bank is the same but the branch is different.

How about if you want to do an automatic transfer over the phone? You have to do it during the designated times. (isn't everything computerized? apparently yes, but you still need to do it during the designated times.)

And if all this doesn't frustrate you to the point of keeping all your savings in your socks, the interest rate is something like 0.0001%! (so there was really no point of keeping your money in the bank in the first place)

All ranting aside, I wanted to share some exciting news, my friend, Michael Mischer's chocolates are now being sold on Hello Delicious! (look under the chocolate section) Now you can purchase his chocolates on-line. Congratulations Michael!---UPDATE: (9/11/08) just checked the Hello Delicious page and they are no longer in business, for chocolates by Michael Mischer you have to go directly to his shop (though I see a spot for online shopping in the works on his site).


ilingc said...

Wow. That is really bizarre! (Re: the time frame thing) There would be so much uproar if that happens in Australia. Some of the banks are already losing customers as it is with the ridiculous fees they charge for online banking. (we changed banks because one of them wanted to start charging 50cents for each online transfer/bill payment you make - on top of the regular account servicing fee)

For a such a high-tech country it's just really strange for them to impose such time frames especially if it's all computerised anyway. You have my sympathies Kat for the banking troubles you encounter in Japan. =\

K and S said...

The problem is that all banks do this, so it isn't as if you could change banks. (because you know I would!) Sometimes I think only the cell phones, tv and games are really high-tech here, everything else seems prehistoric.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just wanted to pop in a comment to say that I've just discovered your blog and love it. I'm going to Japan - Kyoto and Tokyo - for the first time ever this October and love reading your posts on Japanese culture (especially your food posts!). All the best to you, Planethalder.

Jann said...

One of the nice things about all the exceptional services that different countries offer is that lots of people "are employed"! With self-pumping gas stations here, we need less people to work~my dad would never go to one of these gas stations because self-pumps put so many people out of work~I admired that value he had~You should be treated like royalty when you shop in a store-$$$ and spend money~(the customer is just a pain in the butt over here now days.) Funny how things have changed. They still are bowing in China. Now the bank situation you are having, I would be pulling out all my hair!I wish you luck with the bank transactions~

K and S said...


Japan has many unemployed people, which leads to all kinds of incidents and money trouble.

Glad to see you are back.
Take care!

K and S said...

Hi Planethalder,

I am pleased to hear that you enjoy this blog. I am having fun blogging. I hope your trip to Japan will be a memorable one, especially in October, when the leaves should be changing color.

Take care and thanks for stopping by.