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Society New tools for timid shoppers


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Are you sick and tired of chatting with shop staff or loquacious hairdressers? Shops and restaurants in Japan now offer tools allowing customers to decline idle conversation politely. These services cater to introverts who would rather avoid small talk with salespeople, and their popularity has been growing. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to this trend, making many people more cautious about in-person interactions. As a result, those who prefer less socializing now have more choices.

Jeong Yeongsu, 35, who works in Tokyo, feels awkward when sales assistants talk to him. "I know store employees are trained to speak to customers. But as I don't care much about my fashion and hairstyle, I'm unable to answer when they ask various questions," he said. But as he does not want to offend them, "I end up buying even unnecessary items," he added with a wry grin. But Jeong has found at least one shop that suits his personality. He has recently begun patronizing Percut, a hair salon chain for men. Percut is designed with shy customers in mind. The chain's app has a "no customer service" button. If someone prefers not to talk with his stylist, he can choose that option when making an appointment. The app also allows customers to specify what kind of treatments they want. Choosing the "same treatment as the last visit" further minimizes the need for conversation. "I will definitely use such app functions next time," he said.

It's not only hair salons. Shy men can now buy their White Day cakes clandestinely:

Cake.jp, which sells sweets online, installed a vending machine for White Day in a shopping complex at Kyushu Railway's Hakata Station in the city of Fukuoka in March, as some men are reluctant to be seen buying sweets for women in return for receiving Valentine's Day chocolates, as is the custom in Japan. A 2022 survey by Tokyo-based Cake.jp found that 14% of men were embarrassed to shop for White Day gifts, while 20% felt the same about waiting in line at shops.

And Kaiten Sushi:

Self-service is another option that shy people appreciate. Kura Sushi is popular with such customers, particularly its "Smart Kura Sushi " service, which was introduced at all its revolving sushi restaurants by the end of 2021. Customers, who book the service using the app and confirm their tables at a restaurant terminal, can place orders and settle the bill with their smartphones without speaking to restaurant staff at all.

Paywall alert:

I wish they had had this application when I last visited a hairdresser fifteen years ago. :LOL:

Percut app:

And here in the US you have the complete opposite problem. There is never any staff around when you have a question or need something. Not even at the checkouts at a lot of places either as they are all turning into self-checkouts. :(

Though I do think that there is one place where it would be helpful to not have a chat, and that is at the dentist while they have their hands in your mouth, and yet still they want to chat with you. Dentist: So how has your day been? You: Gooorin orrrr kah :ROFLMAO:
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