Monday, November 01, 2010

Good service

I dropped by the Denenchofu Maison Kayser bread shop at noon to pick up some expensive pizza for lunch. Until recently, most shops in Denenchofu have not seemed to be very enthusiastic about actually attracting customers---I have heard unproven rumors that some may have been set up for tax purposes---but MK has always seemed to be interested in doing business. Perhaps they let their prices select for them.

Like almost every shop in Tokyo, they offer point cards where after you buy a few zillion dollars worth of products, you get something "free." At MK, you get ¥500 off your purchase after 20 purchases at a certain minimum price.

I don't go for these things much as the payoff is minimal, and I don't want to carry dozens of point cards around. However, I do like to use one for this shop, not because the ¥500 yen discount is anything special, but because they seem so reluctant to offer one to me.

Today I forgot mine and went ahead and made my purchase without it. The clerk said nothing but the usual thank you. The Japanese guy in the line next to me was asked if he had brought his point card as soon as he stepped up to the register. I suppose I could consider it an oversight on the part of the lady who served me except that I have been going to that shop for 4 years and have only once been asked about a point card. When I got my first one, I had to ask. If I want a new one, I usually have to ask. If I lose mine, I have to ask for a new one.

Perhaps the staff and management is worried about my comfort and do not want to embarrass me by asking me a question in Japanese as they figure that I could not understand. But then again, I always speak Japanese there, and they speak Japanese to me. Perhaps they assume the point card system too complex for me to understand, so they are reluctant to offer one. Perhaps they consider me rich and don't want to offend me by offering a discount.

Not really sure why I get this extra special customer service, but it must be a good thing.


  1. Anonymous2:17 PM

    I wonder if your Maison Kayser and mine in Takanawa compare notes in how to irritate customers. I find the ridiculous over-packing - individual items bag by slow bag, super teinei service, endless wrapping so that at least 3 bags are acquired on every visit, - and the fact that they can't round their prices to the nearest 5 yen , make a visit to Kayser a slow and stressful experience. I don't bother with a point card. But the bread is very nice.

  2. They don't do the over-packing for stuff I buy, but the Denenchofu Precce sure does.

    The bread is good, for sure.

  3. Anonymous9:31 PM

    Reminds me of another favorite retail experience of mine - I (non-Japanese) go shopping with my wife and handle the transaction at the register in fluent Japanese while my wife stands silently next to me...all the while the clerk is addressing her and not me with the various "manual-type responses" such as "have you brought your point card" or "do you want dry ice" etc. - in one case even trying to hand my wife my change! Can someone please amend the Japanese customer service manual to include the fact that staff are supposed to address the person who actually PAYS?