It’s a problem we all have to deal with at various points in our lives. We like to think we’re perfect and have it all figured out, but in reality no one is above making mistakes in their personal or professional lives. But it’s in these mistakes that through the humiliation of making amends to those we wronged we grow a little and become a better person as a result.
However, now thanks to a new line of business in Japan you don’t have to! Why go through all that painful guilt and general ickiness of facing up to the fact you’ve wronged someone when you can just pay someone else to do it for you? This way you can get back to the important things in life, like your golf swing or finally finishing that watercolor you were working on.
That’s not to say that these services are simply for people looking to shirk responsibility. A lot of people have trouble dealing with the a fear of inadequacy when it comes to expressing regret, and that’s where a “sorry” by proxy may outweigh any crappy first-hand apology you might think yourself capable of.
The way these agencies handle situations vary widely by company and clients’ needs. For example, they may send someone pretending to be your parent to lay down the law and break-up with a clingy lover who just won’t take the hint. They might also simply call into work pretending to be your wife on days you want to take off and suck at making that sick – achk agh – voice when making the call yourself.
Some apology agencies that can be found online include:
■ Shazaiya Aiga Pro: 25,000 yen (US$240) for face-to-face apology and 10,000 yen ($96) for email or phone apology; Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
■ Yokohama Benriya Natchan: Estimates given by phone consultation and they offer “apologies while crying” which is especially effective against angry people.
■ Nihon Shazai Daikokao: Basic charge of 3,500 yen ($33) per hour
That last one might seem like a sweet deal, but according to a company interviewed by NHK, a session between a belligerent soon-to-be-ex-lover and an actor playing the other lover’s parent sometimes lasts up to 12 hours.
Naturally such businesses have come up against criticism. Beyond the fact that they allow people to short-cut a fundamental human experience, they certainly seem to set up a web of lies that may complicate one’s life down the road. That being said, no such problems have been reported about these companies so far according to the NHK report.
The businesses claim this is because of thorough consideration for the client’s situation through consultation. About 40 percent of that customer base is said to be women between 20 and 40 years old, and the most popular reasons for soliciting these agencies are problems with money and/or significant others.
Some might say that these services are preying on the weaknesses of humanity, but I’d like to think they’re out there fighting the good fight and shouldering the burdens of our sins just like our own personal Jesus – to quote Depeche Mode.
Ah, actually I’m sorry… If you were a Christian and in any way offended by that last comment, I sincerely apologize for my insensitive remarks and hope you can find it within yourself to forgive me.
But more importantly, if you found that apology just now really convincing then I’d like to offer my services by pretending to be your father or employer. Fees will be negotiated after a consultation but I assure you that certain someone in your life will end up hating me far worse than they will you. That’s the Master Blaster guarantee!
Come on and lift up the receiver. I’ll make you a believer.