Vernicious Knids

Random musings and snapshots about life, love, travel and everything in between...

Sunday, August 13, 2006


In Japan, the customer is not only always right...they are God!

A few weeks back I was waiting at the train station and decided to purchase some more Kirin Nuda Life Sparkling to quench my thirst. Most PET bottle drinks in vending machines are 150 yen, but for some reason Kirin Nuda is priced at 130 yen. So, after fumbling around for loose change I found 130 yen. I put the first 10 yen coin into the machine, then the second, and then the third. When you insert cash, the amount lights up on the machine. I then inserted the 100 yen coin but the amount didn't register on the machine.

Did I mention that this was a 36 degree day (um that's Celcius!) and that I was parched?

I hit the coin area of the machine, nothing happened. I hit it a little harder, still nothing. People nearby are starting to look at the foreigner attacking the innoncent vending machine. I combine a little hand and foot action, still nothing. Actually, something happens...I'm thirstier than ever!

Suddenly, a Japanese announcement, my train is arriving in 30 seconds but the machine has my money and I have no Kirin Nuda. So I whip out my cell phone to snap a shot of the vending machine number and jump on the train.

Later that day I place a call to the Kirin Beverage Call Center (0120 883 065 if you ever need to call!) to complain. They take my details and apologise profusely for my inconvenience.

Three days later there's a knock on my door...a registered package has arrived for me and requires my signature:

The lovely people at Kirin have not only refunded my 130 yen, they've sent me an extensive written apology and a brand spanking new pencil emblazoned with Kirin's logo.

Now that's what I call customer service!

("Irrashaimase" is what sales staff say to customers to encourage them to spend big!)
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  • At 9:15 pm, Blogger Carmi said…

    I absolutely LOVE stories like this. They reinforce that some companies still get it. Customer service should be any firm's ONLY business. Yet they routinely muck things up and get customers angry with their indifference and ineptitude.

    I'm sorry I don't have a chance to buy Kirin products here in North America. One event like this would be enough to turn me into a happy customer for life.

    Dropped over from Michele's. Great to see you again.

  • At 11:23 pm, Blogger Bearette24 said…

    i covet that pencil!

  • At 12:09 am, Anonymous Janet ( said…

    Man oh man, do I miss Japan!!!

  • At 12:42 am, Blogger Liz said…

    Very nice! I will definitely buy Kirin products, if I ever have the chance. :D

  • At 12:45 am, Blogger Liz said…

    And that reminds me that I need to upgrade my ancient cell phone. You never know when a camera phone will come in handy!

  • At 12:48 am, Blogger ribbiticus said…

    wow! that company should be commended. they do take customer service to the next level. that would definitely keep me coming back for more! ;)

  • At 2:23 am, Blogger My float said…

    Perhaps you could come home and teach us Aussies the finer points of customer service! As you well know, here they're likely to tell you to take a chill pill. Or hang up.

  • At 7:50 am, Blogger Carolyn said…

    We can only dream of getting treated like that here.

  • At 7:51 am, Blogger Bearette24 said…

    C - too true.

  • At 9:43 am, Blogger Stepherz said…

    That is awesome! I would have gotten a big "So What!" here. Customer service is gone in the US. Too bad they didn't also send you a case of the drink-- I was hoping that's what you were going to say!

  • At 10:15 am, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    Reading all your comments it seems that most companies just don't get it! And, this is a great reason to remind me why I like living here.

    I liked Kirin Nuda, I love it!

  • At 10:20 am, Blogger utenzi said…

    Irrashaimase, baby! Now that you have the yen, I have the time. Woo-hoo!

    Customer service can be good here in the US but it's certainly not something you can count on. And it's often actually located in India anyway! LOL The world is just a crazy place and around now is when I have to mention that Michele sent me.

  • At 11:37 pm, Blogger EuroTrippen said…

    Man, in Germany if I called to complain their response would be something like "go back to america you auslander dumkopf" (and while they were at it they would tell me to learn the spelling of 'dumkopf' since I clearly don't know it).

    Tokyo sounds so cool...

  • At 1:20 pm, Blogger Amy said…

    They should have sent you some drinks too :0

  • At 12:19 pm, Blogger Elsa said…

    Wow - that's amazing service and an amazing response. Here in America, you would still be pressing numbers on your phone trying to navigate through the company's phone system.

  • At 6:10 pm, Blogger Helen said…

    Bet that wouldn't happen in many other places in the world! Helen

  • At 4:35 pm, Blogger nutmeg said…

    Don't you just love the Japanese method of naming their products. "Kirin Nuda Life Sparkling" - love it. I heard they called a Subaru model the "Bruce"! It had some connection to Australia, apparently.

  • At 2:32 pm, Blogger MsCellania said…

    I had a Nordstrom-of-Fast-Food experience with Chik-Fil-A yesterday:
    They gave us our order at lunch, VERRRRY Busy that day. I had fed the children at home, but wanted a salad for me, soda and then milk shakes for the boys. A treat, in other words.
    So, I get home, NO CHICKEN FOR MY CHICKEN SALAD! I called the restaurant, and they offered to drive over with the chicken! And I knew they were busy - I had just been there.
    The guy came flying over - took 3 minutes. Handed me piping hot chicken, and 5 coupons for free food items!
    Now, that is customer service. I was astonished. We don't go often, but we will go back.

  • At 10:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You should go for more cash next time

  • At 2:35 pm, Blogger Sakura said…

    Ooh!Japan offers a shopping service which buy Japanese products and ship them for all who live in oversea.
    You can get any Japanese products through this service without coming to Japan.

    Ooh!Japan provides not only the shopping service, but also full information about Japanese culture and its lifestyle. Check out more:


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