Martin's Japan Pages

Our Man In Japan

15 February 2007

An easy way to ruin all that hard work.

Some salespeople in Japan have an interesting way to drum up new business. Instead of randomly sending out thousands of leaflets by post, the salesperson will actually come to the school and visit every department office. When they go to each office, they politely ask to be allowed in and then introduce themselves to each teacher and give them a business card and a leaflet. If a teacher is away, they carefully place the business card and leaflet on the teacher's desk. Then they politely excuse themselves and move on to the next department. Very time-consuming, but worth it to provide that personal touch.

So, every now and again, I'll turn up to one of my schools and find a new business card on my desk. I usually ignore it because the card will be from someone trying to sell something I don't need, like insurance or school textbooks. But I'll keep the ones from travel agents, since I'm bound to be making some trip in the future.

Over the last three weeks, I've got five business cards from the same travel agent, which means he is putting in a lot of effort to get noticed (visiting two of my schools once a week over the last three weeks). Maybe he is just hawking for Graduation and Spring Break trips, but I was genuinely impressed by his persistance and was thinking of paying him a visit. After all, I need to book transport to Narita soon for my trip to Bangkok, as well as book the ferry to Hokkaido and plan my 'Golden Week Japan Tour'. As it happens, I was in the office when he visited today. I said "Konichiwa" along with everyone as he introduced himself, then watched him give business cards to everyone except me. Then he left. The guy had totally blanked me! Why I can have his card when I'm not there, but when I am I can't? Why did my presence make him decide "Oh, best not give one to him"?

I'll never know what it was about me that put him off, but I'll take my business elsewhere so I don't cause him offense again.


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