The food service business can be ruthless sometimes.
On 20 April Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested Shoho Kimoto for “obstruction of business” in what has to be the most literal application of this law I have ever come across.
According to news reports, the 25-year-old restaurant worker would hang out on the streets of Shinjuku and when seeing people approach a competitor he would pretend to be a fellow diner, feeding them a line such as, “They told me it’s full,” or, “I heard it’s a 20 minute wait here.”
For every patron Kimoto could redirect into his employer’s eatery, he would receive a commission based on what they ate and drank. NHK reported that he was raking in about 400,000 yen (US$3,598) a month this way.
Kimoto’s job was supposed to entail standing outside his own restaurant and beckoning people to come inside, but according to police he noticed customers talking to each other about places being full so he just copied what they did.
However, just before his arrest he seemed to have gotten too overzealous and actually pretended to be the staff of a competing restaurant. Checking the waiting list he dishonestly told a party of six that “his” restaurant was full, but that an “affiliated” place up the street had a table available.
This elaborate ruse must have caught the attention of someone who then tipped off police, all of which ultimately resulted in Kimoto’s arrest.
Of course, what he did was illegal, dishonest, and unethical…but, I can’t be alone in admiring this kid’s gumption, can I? I mean when this guy has to go to his next job interview and answer the criminal record question, this must be one of the extremely rare times that saying “yes” could actually work out as a positive.
At the very least, he definitely won’t be getting poisoned by his current boss.