One of the major aspect in Japanese culture is “ POLITENESS”.
You may see this situation at the supermarket in Japan as well where there are a lot of customers be it local or foreigners.
When you buy something for your daily needs, you may hear the same phrase all the time from the store clerks and maybe some of you would be amazed by this behaviour.
Well, if you would like to work at the supermarket, there are several phrases you must know and will be required to use while working.
If you’re planning to work at a supermarket, don’t miss learning these!
Here are 5 common phrases store clerks must use while working at the supermarket in Japan.
Hello, Welcome to our store!
お箸はおつけいたしますか？(Ohashi wa otsuke itashimasu ka?)
Would you like to have chopsticks?
レジ袋はご利用なさいますか？(Rejifukuro wa go riyō nasaimasu ka?)
Would you like to use a plastic bag?
お次でお待ちの方、こちらのレジへどうぞ (Otsugi de omachi no kata, kochira no reji e dōzo)
Next customer waiting on line, please use another cashier.
またお越しくださいませ (Mata okoshi kudasaimase)
Please come again!
If we say literally, the meaning of “Irrashaimase” is “Welcome to our shop” but may sound a little weird for the people from other countries. If you hear “Hello, how are you?” from the store clerks, it sounds more familiar and fitting. In Japan, every store clerk must say “Irrashaimase” when they meet customers coming at the cashier. Sometimes they also say this phrase to the customers during shopping.
This is a common practice to start conversation with customers to make them feel welcome and to appreciate them for coming to their supermarket. Not only at the supermarkets, but we also use this phrase at restaurants, shopping centers, hotels etc.
”Ohashi-wa otsuke-itashimasuka?” “Would you like to have wooden chopsticks?”
Maybe this phrase is typical in supermarket, (also at convenience stores). Staff will say this everytime if customers buy items like sushi or side dish that they may need to eat immediately. Not all the stores have this service so be careful. Some stores don’t use this service considering the waste of resources.
However, this service is for customers to let customers use disposable chopsticks thinking of the possibility that they would like to eat it soon. “Nanzen otsuke-itashimasuka?” which means “How many wooden chopsticks do you need?”
If you as a customer wants to have disposable chopsticks, you just tell them how many you want.
Do you get shocked that people can get the wooden chopsticks for free?
This service comes from the respect for customers but some customers would think its unnecessary having them due to waste or they might be in a hurry.
” Rejibukuro-wa Goriyo-nasaimasuka?” “Would you like a plastic bag?”
In many countries, they’re trying to reduce the provision of plastic bags in supermarkets or general stores. We’re also working on that in Japan as well and some supermarkets provides plastic bags with charge paying about 2yen～5yen not giving them away for free. They have posters at stores asking customers not to use them for environment protection purposes.
We normally give plastic bags to customers at the supermarkets cashier but by asking customers if they need plastic bags or not, this may help customers decide to use them or not since some customers are have their own shopping bags already. This may give customers an option to think about using unnecessary plastic bags in the future and to buy their own recyclable shopping bags then carry them when they go out for shopping.
” Otsugi-de-omachino-kata, kochirano-rejie-douzo”
“Next customer waiting on line, please use another cashier.”
Usually, there’s a long waiting line in cashiers and customers wait and line up with their own timing. However, sometimes customers has huge things to buy and takes time to finish all register. Next customer waiting on line need to wait patiently. Since Japanese people cares so much about “Fairness” and consideration for waiting time as well, in this case, the store clerk will say “Next customer waiting on line, please use another cashier.” in order to cutback the waiting time of the customers. What a great deal for customer service in Japan!
” Mata okoshi-kudasai-mase” “Please come again”
The literal translation/meaning of this phrase is, “ Please come back here again” but people normally don’t say these exact terms because it sounds unusual. It’s the same meaning for “Have a nice day” “Have a good day” “Have a good evening” and we say this everytime to customers after they finish their cashier transaction.
This phrase has warm-hearted meaning for customers as “Thank you for shopping at this supermarket, we’re happy and welcome you to shop here again.” Do you think it’s quite a simple and convenient phrase to use?
Hope this helps you to know the common phrases used at supermarkets in Japan which contains thoughtful meanings. Customer service in Japan is truly a huge deal and we try as much as possible to provide excellent business assistance. Store clerks use these polite phrases as the standard duty. If you’re planning to come to Japan in the near future or you’re already living in Japan, hope you all get familiar with this Japanese spirit of camaraderie or “POLITENESS” when it comes to shopping.