The Power of Being Mendokusai

Some few months ago, before Dirty Shoes arrived in Japan, I went to Bic Camera to find out some cheap phone plans that both of us could use.

I had been using docomo some 4-5 years then and decided I don’t want to pay so much for phone bills anymore and while speaking with a Japanese staff, he told me there was a promotion and that if I signed the plan that day, the 3,000 yen (approx. SGD$36) registration fee will be waived. It was the 2nd last week of May then and I was sure I wasn’t going to sign the plan on the spot since I still had my docomo contract. But I suspected something fishy, so I asked, “does the promotion end today?”

The staff said, “Yes.”

I said, “Ok, thanks,” and was about to turn and leave when he asked, “When does your current phone contract end?”

“End of June,” I replied. And he very shamelessly said, “Oh, actually the promotion lasts till the end of this month, so you can come again next week and sign up for it.”

Asshole. That made me decide not to look for that guy ever again due to his dishonesty.

A couple of weeks later, I went back to the same shop and spoke with a different guy who somehow went to get his Chinese colleague over to speak with me upon realising I wasn’t Japanese. That was the best. I love talking with Chinese people here because they are more flexible and less dishonest than some Japanese staff, as you may think otherwise.

I asked the Chinese UQ mobile staff if there was still a promotion going on to waive the registration fee of 3,000 yen and he told me he could do it for me because there’s no such thing as promotion. It was up to each individual staff to offer it to their customers in order to close a deal and he could do it for me. Now you see how dishonest Japanese people can be too.

Eventually, we went to sign up for Y! Mobile. But the Chinese UQ staff very kindly referred us to another Y! Mobile staff from Mongolia and said he would ask her to waive the registration fees for us. So fast forward a month later, while I was checking the phone bill, I realised that Y! Mobile was charging us 3,000 yen each for the registration for a total of 6,000 yen.

I was flabbergasted.

I immediately emailed Y! Mobile to ask them why in spite of being told we were getting the 3,000 yen waived, we were being charged for it. A staff replied saying that upon verifying our accounts, she found that the 3,000 yen offer was not applied to our accounts and thus it was charged. Followed by something to the extent of “This is the end of our reply and this support ticket will be closed.”

What kind of customer service is this?

To an innocent customer, who might have gone, “Oh I see. I thought it was waived for us. Thanks for clarifying!” they would have paid that 6,000 yen. But I decided to be the mendokusai (troublesome) customer and responded, “We signed 2 contracts with you because we were told the 6,000 yen would be waived, so I don’t think it is right to think you can close this support request just by saying ‘Oh because it’s not applied to your accounts.’ Would it be possible for you to waive it for us then?” deliberately phrasing it to make myself sound like I was going to be a super mendokusai customer if you don’t waive it for me, but still making the request in polite grammar.

The next email I received from them read, “Ok sir. I will waive the registration fees for you.”

Great, we got our fees waived but that made me wonder, why does one need to be mendokusai in order to have things done properly? The world does take advantage of the nice, doesn’t it?


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