Mr. Sato stormed off to the company’s office with two very specific demands.
The other day, our industrious Japanese-language Mr. Sato heard of a Japanese company with a shipping policy that’s very unusual, even by his standards. The company, an electronics repair operation called PC Naoshitai, had mailed a customer’s PC back to him after finishing the job, but instead of bubble wrapping the item, they used Umaibo, a popular Japanese puffed corn snack, as cushioning instead.
When the customer opened up the box, he found his computer in the center, surrounded by a protective barrier of Umaibo. There was also a letter of apology, explaining that the company had run out of bubble packing material. Also included was a series of photos demonstrating a cooler way to open the Umaibo packaging then tearing it with your hands: popping the wrapper open by banging one end of the stick against your raised knee.
Impressed by the unique apology and humor, the customer shared a snapshot of the letter on Twitter…
…and to Mr.Sato’s surprise, he saw himself in the photos!
Those of you who follow the enlightened path of Mr. Sato’s teachings might recall seeing these photos in an article we published in English three years ago, which our Japanese-language sister site ran all the way back in 2011.
Mr. Sato contacted the Twitter user and obtained the letter, but looking over it, he couldn’t find a single mention of his name or that of our website. Despite his appearance, Mr. Sato is a professional, and the more he looked at the letter, the more convinced he was that he couldn’t’ just let this slide.
▼ Like we said, a professional despite his appearance.
So Mr. Sato decided it was time to pay a visit to PC Naoshitai. Donning an outfit coordinated to complement his new, thuggish punch perm hairstyle, which probably included punch perm-oriented underwear (though we didn’t confirm this point ourselves), he hopped into the Satomobile for a drive to the PC Naoshitai office in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.
▼ “You punks think you can get away with this, huh?”
▼ “If you think I’m the same as I was six years ago, you’re wrong. DEAD wrong!”
This isn’t the first time Mr. Sato has seen his image or words show up in an unlikely place. As a veteran of these sorts of things, he knows that if you’re going to ask for an explanation in person, it’s only polite to bring a souvenir, and so along the way he stopped at the store and bought 90 Umaibo.
▼ Before you go thinking that Mr. Sato is rich and/or deciding which dark alley to roll him in, be aware that a single Umaibo only costs around 15 yen (US$0.14).
Stepping into the PC Naoshitai office, Mr. Sato couldn’t see any employees, but he could hear the sounds of them working busily in the workshop behind the counter. He rang the service bell, and while he was waiting, he noticed…
…a basket full of Umaibo!
While PC Naoshitai primarily operates by mailing customers’ devices back to them once repairs are complete, they also allow you to come and pick them up in-person. Doing so saves them the cost and hassle of shipping, and so as a thank-you, pick-up customers are allowed to take as many Umaibo as they’d like.
Mr. Sato began to think that maybe the folks at PC Naoshitai weren’t such bad guys after all. He also saw that the office had restocked its supply of proper packing materials.
▼ Plenty of bubble wrap
At this point, an employee came out from the back. Mr. Sato handed over the supply of Umaibo he’d brought, introduced himself, and showed the employee the apology letter that included his photos.
Mr. Sato: “So about the guy in this letter. That’s me, and I’d like to know how the decision to use these photos came about.”
PC Naoshitai employee: “Unfortunately, there’s no one who knows anything about that here at the moment.”
Mr. Sato: “I see. Well, in any case, I’d like you to stop using these photos.”
PC Naoshitai employee: “Yes, I understand.”
This was all going rather smoothly. But really, this was only the first of two demands Mr. Sato had come to make, and he wasn’t about to go home half-satisfied. He locked eyes with the employee, boring into him with his steely gaze, and said:
“I want you to retake the photos and use the new ones instead.”
Like Mr. Sato said, he’s not the same as he was six years ago. That doesn’t mean he’s become a hard case in that time, though. It’s just that he wanted the photos being used to accurately reflect his current more mature, sophisticated appearance.
So if you’re getting your PC fixed in Japan, make sure you look through the paperwork and see if you can spot Mr. Sato. In the meantime, he’s looking forward to helping PC Naoshitai update their apology letter again in 2023.
[ Read in Japanese ]
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[ Read in Japanese ]