Are Japanese Convenience Store Clerks Really Robots?

Hmm…I have been in Japan all of about 3 years and nine months. I have been to every convenience store that Japan has to offer. After having gone to so many, I have an odd theory. I think Japanese convenience store clerks may be a part of a top-secret, world-domination, conspiracy plot. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out.

Tell me if any of this sounds familiar. Have you ever walked into a store and just seen those clerks who just seem a little bit, well…programmed? You walk in and what do they say? “いらっしゃいませ!” or “Irasshaimase” of course. But you might say, well grocery store clerks do that, too, Donald. Yes, you’re quite right. All that means is that the conspiracy may be even larger than we think, huh? I don’t know about convenience/grocery store clerks in your state, but back in Georgia, clerks don’t do any of that. A lot of the ones back home don’t really give a flip whether you’re coming or going.

I know somebody out there reading has walked into a conbini (コンビニ, the Japanese term for a convenience store) and seen that clerk that’s just a little bit too pretty or a little bit too handsome, whose smile was just a little too perfect…almost as if they were…yep, you guessed it…manufactured to be the perfect employees.

The most convincing piece of evidence, though, is how the clerks always remember to follow protocol. If you buy sushi they always put chopsticks in your bag or ask you if you need them. If you buy a drink, they always put in a straw…and I DO MEAN ALWAYS! Somebody knows what I’m talking about. You know you’ve been to a McDonald’s in or something, somewhere in America, where the worker remembers to give you ketchup, straws, and napkins about half the time, if you’re lucky. If you’re living in Japan, when’s the last time a clerk forgo to give you a straw, or utensils? Don’t you find that a bit strange?? Why is it the Japanese convenience store clerks never forget? It’s because they’re robots I tell you, robots!

So the next time you’re in a Sunkus, Family Mart, Mini Stop, Lawson, or your favorite Japanese convenience store, keep your eyes and ears open. When you go to the counter to purchase those items, pay close attention, you just may be conversing with your future robot master (sorry, Nanami-chan…I stole your line ;) ).

Of course everything I am saying is bogus. I did finally (after nearly four years of being here) have a clerk forget to put in a utensil for ice cream that I bought on Saturday. That’s what prompted me to write this post. This mistake led my mind to a soul-settling epiphany. Because the clerk made a mistake, it proves that Japanese convenience store clerks are human!! WHEW!! I honestly had my doubts for a very very long time.

Wait a minute…could the clerk’s mistake have been because of a human error?…(please press the play button, then quickly read the last line!)

Or a computer malfunction…AHHHHHHhhhhhh!!!

Donald Ash

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  • Rebecca Quinn

    Hahaha love the sound effects!

    • Donald Ash

      :) Thanks, Rebecca.

  • Petaris

    *waves hand jedi style* These are not the clerks your looking for…. Mwahahahaha!!!! ;D

    • thejapanguy

      Love it, Petaris!

  • I can’t count how many times those faulty robots forgot to give me a spoon with my ice cream.

    • thejapanguy


  • Nanami

    どなーどくん XD did i get the hiragana right? It’s totally right, they are robot overlords I swear! xP

    • Donald Ash

      I actually your way would be close to the way it sounds in English. Here in Japan, the use these four katakana ドナルド. Maybe I should change my name to Nanami, it’d be easier for them to pronounce :D

    • Donald Ash

      Hee hee, robot overlords. Sounds like a movie you should be in, Nanami.

      • Nanami

        It’s been a long time since my theatre days! I’ll try to remember that’s how to use it. We’re just getting really getting into Katakana in class. I’m still having trouble with it a bit.. -laughs- Nanami? I don’t know -tilts head- You should go by my alter-ego name! Captain NamNams!

        • Donald Ash

          I totally missed this. Captain NamNams! You know I’m gonna use that, right?

          • Nanami

            oh dear.. lol. ^ ^;

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