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About Shopping Etiquette in Japan. 2006/4/4 12:32
I was told that upon entering a store, when the employees greet you with friendly hellos the proper response is to simply ignore them! Is this true, or is my friend just trying to make me look like an idiot? (As he often does.)

Also, please share with me any other tips for shopping in Japan, they would be greatly helpful! Thank you.
by Alexandria  

... 2006/4/4 12:45
Yes, just ignoring him or her is the common response.
by Uji rate this post as useful

After all they're humans 2006/4/4 14:40
As Uji mentioned, I would say it's the "common" respones, but I wouldn't exactly say it's the "proper" response (although some young locals may really think so).

I often give them a quick smile or something. If it's the kind of a small store run by a family, such as a local fish retailer, I might even say "konnichiwa" or get right to the question about today's recommendations.
by Uco rate this post as useful

respond 2006/4/4 21:31
I usually smile at them, but I never say anything unless I actually know the person. Sometimes I do ignore them, and it seems as if most people (in Tokyo) do the same.
by Malakuma rate this post as useful

Ignore or you may startle them! 2006/4/5 11:57
Lol, reminds me of when I went back to Japan after so many years. I still spoke Japanese but you should've seen how startled the store clerks were when I actually responded to each one of them when they greeted me with an ''irasshaimase.'' Soon, I learned to properly ignore them like the locals.... But yes, if it's not a big department store but a small Mom and Pop shop, it may be more natural to respond.
by Manako rate this post as useful

replies 2006/4/5 16:32
small store some kind of greeting, anything else just ignore it or you could be like Homer Simpson and shout HELLO back.
by moo rate this post as useful

.. 2006/4/7 00:10
They say that to everyone that walks in the door don't they? :)

If you walk out and then come back straight away they'll say it again. Then do it once more and they'll say it again but if there either start to have a laugh or get a bit annoyed by now. I've done this just to play with them a bit.. they always love foreigners having fun with them.

Sony is going to invent a
robot which does the job soon... or they already have ? :)

by Rouge rate this post as useful

.. 2006/4/7 00:11

Substitute the 'out' with an 'in' sorry.
by Rouge rate this post as useful

Re: 2006/4/7 02:13
"Irasshai-mase" is one of concierge services by rights, but is now the noise.
while watch my face,
employee: "Irasshai-mase"
me: "Doumo"
I can do my shopping in a good frame of mind.
but then,
without seeing my face,
employeeA: "Irasshai-maseeeee". employeeB: "Irasshai-maseeeee". employeeC: "Irasshai-maseeeee". employeeD: "Irasshai-maseeeee"....
me: "Doumo, Doumo, Doumo, Doumo,,,,."
I will be exhausted before I do my shopping. So, I ignore them.

"Ikahodo-deshou?" is a better word than "Ikura?" or "Ikura-desuka?" when the customer asks a price, but I'm very sorry that it rarely hears in present Japan.
by dot rate this post as useful

Reactions 2006/4/9 05:16
You could ignore them, but if you have a little more integrity in you, you might give them a nod or acknowledge
them in some way.
by Allen rate this post as useful

... 2006/4/9 10:16
Not reacting on a shop staff's greeting has nothing to do with a lack of integrity, especially in large stores, where the staff might not even be looking at you. Why won't you simply accept that there are different customs in different countries.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Just give a little smile and slight nod 2006/4/11 07:43
I just give them an aknowledging little smile and head bob/nod
by Isamu rate this post as useful

What "they" think 2006/4/13 22:28
Since this wasn't the first time this topic arose on this forum, I decided to do a questionnaire on a different forum.

I posted a question on a popular Japanese internet forum addressed to hosts and hostesses in Japan who actually greet people in "larger" shops and events. I asked them what kind of reaction _they_ would prefer.

Following is the gist of the answers (some of the answerers might have mis-understood my question, due to my lack of comprehention ability);

- I don't mind if I'm ignored, but it's not that I "wish" to be ignored. I'd be happy if customers react with a smile or greeting.

- Customers either greet me with a simple bow or just ignore me.

- Those who ignore just don't know their manners. Every person I personally know at least responds with a simple bow.

- If I greet directly to a specific customer, I would appreciate a greeting in return, but if I'm greeting to the general public and someone greets me back, I would be shy.

- A sincere greeting should be responded by a sincere greeting, but a routine greeting without feelings deserves to be ignored.

by Uco rate this post as useful

One time... 2006/4/15 04:50
I had to pick something up from a very large Shinjuku department store, and because the person I was picking it up for had an early flight, I had to be the first one in the store. Normally I nod or smile at the people greeting me to a store, but...

I was greeted by more than 100 different people, and nearly all at once. No matter where I went, the next person to see me bowed deeply and welcomed me. If I had tried to nod at all of them, I would have turned into a bobblehead doll.

I've had nightmares that are less scary than that. If I had waited four or five minutes, it would have turned into a normal department store agian, but time was very pressing.
by Old Ant rate this post as useful

.. 2006/4/15 04:54
I have to agree with Uji, just ignoring them the vast majority of the time is fine. In fact I find in the vast majority of the time especially in larger stores the employees aren't even looking, if someone walks behind them or next to them they greet you as if they say it a bazillion times a day, its like a robotic response everytime someone walks by or enters a store. It's OK to ignore them.
by .. rate this post as useful

. 2006/4/16 05:51

A bit unrelated but thought I'll share this with you guys now that I suddenly remembered...

Was in a Supermarket where there was this lady cooking up some sample Aussie beef for customers to try...

Anyway she greets people who walks past and urges them to try out the Aussie beef..

I walked closer, asked her if its on special as a gesture of politeness and went on to try a piece out.

And just as this was happening this crazy Japanese guy in his 40's comes to the counter, got a tooth pick and starts shoving 2-3 pieces of meat into his mouth each time until every single piece of meat on the sample dish was consumed.

And then the guy left - and this lady cooking the meat looked at me and started complaining really softly about this guy lol - even though I think they're trained not to argue with a customer!

It was gold to see the lady's reaction lol!
by Rouge rate this post as useful

Answer 2007/10/20 05:02
I don't think it's polite just to ignore them! As someone above me said, it would be nice to nod your head and to smile to show the person you've heard it and to show some respect!
If the person shows kindness, why wouldn't you too?
by wana rate this post as useful

set phrase vs friendly greeting 2007/10/20 17:30
It really depends. I wouldn't necessarily call "Irasshaimase" a friendly greeting along the lines of "Hi, how are you?". It's more of a set phrase to be uttered by the staff as people enter the store and the staff will often just repeat it automatically without even looking up from what they are doing.

In some places like GAP or Starbucks the staff will actually look at me and say "Konnichiwa", which IS a friendly greeting, and so I usually smile and answer them.

I actually used to work in a restaurant in Nagano and we just said "Irrasshaimase" as customers walked in and didn't expect acknowledgement. The staff saying it are often quite a long way from the customer when they come in the door, and this is why I don't think of the word as a greeting.
by Sira rate this post as useful

hi 2007/10/20 21:19
When you reply, do you say konnichiwa or konnichiha?
by Saus rate this post as useful

greetings 2007/10/20 22:34
Konnichiha? It is written like that in hiragana but is always pronounced "konnichiwa". Sometimes I say konnichiwa, sometimes I just smile and nod.
by Sira rate this post as useful

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