I was very surprised when I first came to Japan. When we enter a shop in Japan we are usually greeted by the staff with “いらっしゃいませ.” Also, it’s not only one staff member who says it. The “culture” (rule) is that everybody says it. I was very surprised because in the UK we don’t say anything when people enter shops. I think the way of thinking about business is different. If we think about the English translation, maybe we would say “welcome.” However, “welcome” in Japanese translates to “ようこそ,” which is not really used in this situation. いらっしゃいませ means something similar to “the customer is here” or “please come in” by exact translation of meaning, but I don’t think there is an exact translation by culture. When I checked the internet, many people say it means “how may I help you?” I think that is wrong because it comes from いらっしゃる which is a humble, honorific way of saying 来る／行く／いる(① come / ② go / ③ be).
As a British person, I think about myself when I go to a shop. I don’t think about buying a product for the company’s or shop’s sake. So I actually feel awkward, uncomfortable and a little stressed when I enter a shop and hear something overly welcoming such as “いらっしゃいませ” because then I feel bad if I leave without buying anything. It creates a strong “professional only” relationship with me, which makes me think they only care about my money. Being overly welcoming has a negative effect on me. As a customer, I just want to enter and leave a shop casually without worrying about formalities and politeness to that extent.
- What do you agree or disagree with?
- How do you feel in foreign countries in shops?
- Do you think it’s better that everybody says “irashaimase”?
- What do you think about casual business services?
- What would you change with customer service? (JPN, Other)
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