Customers now outnumbering salespeople by an infinitely large ratio.
Japan is always on the lookout for the next hidden culinary gem, and that’s something that holds true even more so in the Internet age. With websites and individual diners ready to share impressions and photos of their latest gourmet discoveries, a bit of social media buzz can do wonders for a previously unknown backstreet restaurant, neighborhood cafe, or independent coffee house.
Oh, and also abandoned shopping mall grocery stores, it seems.
Just last week, Japanese Twitter user @yogoren shared a series of photos he’d taken inside Gifu Prefecture’s LC World Motosu shopping mall, which is virtually vacant. Really, the only reason it’s “virtually” vacant instead of “completely” is because the lights are still on in its attached grocery store, which has no products for sale except a self-service stand with a basket of onions.
よごれん (@yogoren) September 10, 2016
@yogoren originally tweeted about the unusual store on Saturday, September 10. One week later, he stopped by the supermarket again early in the morning, shortly after it opened for the day. Once inside, he sauntered over the onion stand…
…and was shocked to find that people have started buying them! As a matter of fact, just 15 minutes after the grocery store had opened its doors, the onions were sold out.
よごれん (@yogoren) September 17, 2016
▼ The coins placed in the collection box serve as proof that people are actually buying them, and that they’re not merely being taken away by wild animals.
The obvious explanation is that people who saw @yogoren’s tweet have been coming in to buy them. That still leaves the odd question of who’s bothering to stock the store, though. Some had speculated that the onions were being grown and left in the basket by a local farmer, but the sign states that the produce is from Hokkaido, which is a long, long way from Gifu.
▼ Gifu Prefecture (red arrow) and Hokkaido (yellow)
Also, priced at 100 yen (US$0.97) each, these are some pretty pricy onions, even by Japanese standards. Still, @yogoren points out that 100 yen is pretty cheap for a bit of entertainment and a story to tell, and the whole thing just proves that no matter what kind of business you’re running, nothing brings in customers like word-of-mouth.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he has to admit he would totally buy some abandoned mall watermelons if he found any.