Convenience Vs. Cost

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Delivery service is very popular in Japan. Standard services exist for sending luggage to the airport from many convenience stores. Some of my former customers would send their golf clubs ahead to their hotels for vacation. My neighbor gets prepared meals sent to her home, ready to cook. My favorite calligraphy supply store will send paper, inks, brushes, or whatever.

The cost for most items is quite reasonable and extremely quick. Other teachers have been telling me that books from Amazon usually arrive in two days, and you can pay extra for expediting.

Last week I got visitors from Meiji Dairies (明治乳業). They were telling me about their convenient home delivery service and gave me a catalog (宅配商品カタログ) to peruse. Also, they gave me a bag of free samples (試供品) to taste. I noticed that the bag was hidden behind one salesperson with more deftness than any magician I’ve seen. When they realized I understood them and that I was curious about their service, then the bag appeared with a smile.

Everything comes in cute little milk bottles: either 200 or 100 ml in size. If you sign up for service they put a little cold box on the doorstep for delivery. After drinking the products, the bottles should be rinsed and placed in the box for pick-up. The small bottle sizes are convenient for packing with lunch or for portion control. The prices were a little vague, but I found a list for eleven of the products. This is where the rub comes in – most of the products are about 120 yen; which extends out to 600 yen per liter. I don’t check the prices at the store and I don’t buy a lot of milk, but I think it is around 200 yen per liter.

So, it really comes down to paying for cute bottles, in convenient sizes, delivered right to my door step. Personally, I don’t think it works for me, but it was sure tempting. I did notice a line in one of the fliers stuffed in the catalog that I hope I am misunderstanding. It looks like it says:

From this point on, it is unacceptable to be unable to order (our service).

こちらから無理にご注文をいただく事は、絶対にございません。

This could be the source of another interesting post, but I’m guessing I can resolve it easily enough in either case.

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5 Responses to “Convenience Vs. Cost”

  1. Sylvia Says:

    They made you an offer you can’t refuse, eh?

  2. びっくり Says:

    Yeah, I might have to use the universal sign for ‘yakuza’ during my discussion. There are some shady bars in Tokyo where you order a drink and then they ask you for $100 after you’ve had the drink. When you complain, they point to a tiny sign with the price on it. A very large man will stand behind you to help explain the pricing or help you find your wallet. One friend encountered a place like this in the early 90s. I have avoided such ‘interesting’ establishments.

  3. Sylvia Says:

    Yikes.

  4. Non-Existent Threat « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] wrote two weeks back, about the milk delivery service offer and the apparent message that I must order their service. Well, this week I showed it […]

  5. びっくり Says:

    Just an update: my translation was wrong. It should have read:

    We absolutely do not require mandatory ordering.

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