Now that is service (2004-02-29)

When we were setting up home in Tokyo, we bought some appliances. Yeah, I can remember that day...running around Akihabara (kanji), a place that sells electronic things and hi-tech stuff at bargain prices and a haven for computer geeks. We hopped different shops in search for the cheapest white goods. Every staff at the stores was smiling, warm and curteous to us despite the fact that we spoke nearly no Japanese. All in all, our first interaction with Japanese strangers was a positive one.

The service given by the people delivering our goods was very impressive. First there came the men with our washing machine. They greeted us with a bow upon entry to our apartment, took it out from the box, removed the packing materials, placed it in the right spot and plugged it in to make sure it's in working order. When all was done, they took all the cardboards, packing materials, bits and pieces down to the last shiver of paper with them when they left, bowing on their way out. My husband and I were just amazed at their efficiency and thoroughness. We were shown the same level of professionalism by the people who delivered our fridge and TV. The man who delivered the upright fan even assembled the whole thing for us even though we could have easily done it ourselves. And these people work hard because it is their job to do so, not because they want a big tip from the customers. Now that's service.

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