On 6 February, Osaka Prefectural Police announced that a 45-year-old man working for the Osaka City Construction Bureau had been arrested on suspicion of destruction of property.
In what could best be described as “register rage” the man was upset with the speed of the cashier and took his aggression out on the store’s age verification check with his fist.
Compared to other countries Japan is surprisingly lax when it comes to the sale of tobacco and alcohol. It’s a rare sight to see a person being asked for proof of age. Also, alcohol (previously tobacco too) is easily available from unsupervised vending machines everywhere.
Regulations have tightened somewhat over the years, though. Cigarette machines now require an ID card to operate, and convenience stores have decided to adopt the fool-proof method used by adult websites for ages: a “click OK if over age” system on their checkout screens.
When you buy alcohol or tobacco the register asks “Are you over 20?” Since there often isn’t a “NO” button you’re forced to touch “YES” which simply magnifies how the whole system is – aside from removing any responsibility from the store - completely pointless.
According to police, on this fateful day at around 6:10 p.m. the unidentified city worker was waiting in line to buy a pack of smokes. When his turn came he was asked to touch the screen.
Summoning all of his rage from waiting in line into one mighty touch, he verified his age by allegedly smashing his hand through the LCD screen.
He must have exhausted all of his strength doing that, however, as the convenience store staff – once again showing in Japan they go that extra mile – subdued the suspect, and handed him over to the authorities. They then went back to serve the line which had formed.
The man admitted to charges, saying he was “annoyed with how slow the line was moving.”
And you thought government workers had it easy.