System is easy for allies to understand, but invisible to everyone else.
It’s no secret that hardcore anime and manga fans are a visually oriented bunch. That’s especially true of the attendees of the twice-a-year dojinshi (independently published manga) event known as Comiket, where crowds flock to Tokyo’s Big Sight convention center to pick up ultra-limited-edition comics, artwork, and other merchandise.
To give their booths a little extra appeal, it’s not uncommon for exhibitors to have an attractive young lady helping to sell their merchandise, perhaps doing a bit of cosplay to really help pump up the enthusiasm. After all, guys are more likely to pull out their wallets and buy something if they can talk to a pretty girl for a few seconds as they complete the transaction, right?
There’s a difference, though, between a bit of friendly chitchat and a customer creepily parlaying an economic exchange into an excuse to keep the saleswoman captive in an extended conversation she no longer wants any part of. However, it’s not always easy to extract yourself from such situations without a little bit of backup, and so Japanese Twitter user @R18udon devised a way for saleswomen to discreetly alert their boothmates when they need help dealing with a customer who just won’t leave them alone.
トンダ@夜のうどん職人/日曜/東ユ58a (@R18udon) July 09, 2017
@R18udon’s clever idea is to take a strip of masking tape and attach it to the edge of the booth’s table that’s out of customers’ line of sight. On it, he writes a series of message that the saleswoman can covertly point to in order to let the other exhibitors know if she’s been talking so long because she’s honestly enjoying the conversation, or just because she doesn’t want to cause a scene by bluntly telling the customer to get lost.
Another Twitter user, @mitragyna, took @R18udon’s concept and went one step further by substituting the masking tape with small pieces of paper and adding a signal-light like color code.
サークル主と売り子さんの連携ツール、作ってみました。 「長話してるけど…売り子さんの知り合い？それとも絡まれてる？どうしよう…」みたいなとき 机の手前側に貼っておくと、指さしで意思伝達できるアイテム。 ネットプリントから印刷でき… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
倉戸みと@夏コミ3日目 東V-55b (@mitragyna) July 30, 2017
Green indicates that everything is OK, with the comment “He may seem suspicious, but I know him.” Yellow is for “I’ve got a problem here. Could one of you help me out?” for those times when she’d like some backup. Finally, red is for extreme cases described with “Help me! Someone call the venue staff!”
Now all we need is a countermeasure for Big Sight’s venomous spiders.