The Art of Giving
and Receiving Change in Japan
By Oona McGee, RocketNews24
( Japan Today, May 07, 2015 )
If you’re tired of receiving vacant smiles and flippant customer service at your local grocery store, you may want to make a trip to Japan, where the customer always comes first and every transaction is concluded with a graceful bow.
This remarkable attention to customer service even extends to the handling of cash transactions in shops around the country. Akin to an art form, a simple payment to a store clerk in Japan will inevitably set off a series of steps and precise movements to satisfy the needs of both parties and respectively complete the exchange. Come with us as we take you through the steps of a simple transaction in Japan. The attention to detail and the clever reasons for it will surprise you.
The pictograph was created by Twitter user @M_Shiroh, who was so impressed with the cashier’s skill on a recent trip to the supermarket that they decided to document the details of the exchange.
Next time you make a purchase in Japan, make note of the way the cashier handles your change. If they’re good at their craft, you’ll receive your money in the following order and with a sense of gravitas befitting royalty.
1. Counting your notes
In Japan, notes are adorned with portraits on one side. The cashier will hold out the notes with these portraits facing you and the notes will be parallel to a wall as opposed to the floor. Using two hands, the amount will be counted out verbally as they flick through each note.
2. Handing over your notes
The notes will then be handed to you in a neat stack with the largest one on the bottom. When you put them in your wallet, your notes will now be in order from lowest to highest, making it more convenient for you when it comes to paying for your next transaction.
3. Handing over your coins and receipt
Next, the cashier will fold your receipt if it’s particularly long, and then place the coins neatly on top. By doing this, the receipt will protect the palm of your hand from coming into contact with any coins. You’ll then be able to slide the small change easily into your coin compartment and either return the receipt into the special box that’s often provided on the counter or slide it into your wallet. Cue graceful bow and you’re on your way.
Not only is this a wonderful way to treat the customer and ensure there are no mistakes or disputes, it’s also a great way to keep long queues moving quickly.