Japanese customer service: boxes and bags

The Japanese are masters of customer service. Shops are always thinking of new ways to make things more convenient for their customers. A good example of this is when we bought our rice cooker. It was a heavy machine in a big box. Rather than giving us a giant plastic bag, they attached a handle to the plastic wire around the box, which made it super easy to carry. I’d never seen such a thing in Belgium. Ah, the wonders of Japan!

Japanese box carrying device
Convenient handle for carrying boxes. So much easier and sturdier than a giant plastic bag!
Japanese box carrying device
Here’s a cute couple that happened to stumble into one of my pictures, carrying a box with a similar contraption.

There is something else that almost all shops do: when they give you a plastic bag, they attach a piece of tape below the handle to keep the bag closed. It makes the bag a lot easier to handle, especially when you are carrying several bags and are still trying to shop at the same time. Japanese people are so thoughtful!

taping the bag for convenience in Japan
Closing the shopping bag with a piece of tape makes it easier to carry and prevents object from falling out in case of vigorous movement.
taping the bag for convenience in Japan
Close up of the ingenious little piece of tape. It’s all in the details!

Some attentive readers pointed out that the purpose of the little piece of tape is also to prove that the product was paid for and to prevent theft by making it difficult to add unpaid items to the bag later on. Thank you everyone, for contributing and teaching me new things about Japan! 🙂


11 thoughts on “Japanese customer service: boxes and bags

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  1. I never knew that little handle was Japanese!! And yes, “the tape” usually is a sign for proof of purchase and shops would “tape” merchandise as well when we say we don’t want/need a bag.

    1. Someone recently told me that he’d seen the little handle in Belgium as well. So it does exist here, but I don’t think it is very common because I’ve never seen it myself.

  2. I thought purpose of that tape on the shopping bag is supposed to be just a seal, a proof that you have bought this. Like if you buy a can from Lawson, they will tape the can with Lawson tape. I never thought, it actually had practical purpose.

    I would like to point out, sometimes it feels that Japanese are wrapping too much (for example in book store).

    1. It’s a very good point about the seal. My explanation in this post is just my own idea, so it is possible that it is a seal. I will ask my Japanese friends about it.

      I agree with you about the wrapping. They use so much paper and plastic to wrap things. Sometimes I tried to explain why I don’t like to use plastic bags, but I think my environmental concerns where completely lost on them.

  3. yes. i would agree with their attentiveness in presentation. this is one of the many things i love about japan and encourage me to do shopping there. but as with the sticker below the handle of the shopping bag, this also can be found in some asian countries. the purpose of this, at least here where i live, is as a prove the product is paid for, and to avoid possibility of stuffing unpaid items into the bag by those who want to steel things.

    1. Thank you for pointing that out. The explanation in my post was just my own interpretation, but what you say makes a lot of sense. So probably it is the same in Japan. Or maybe it’s both. On some occassions where I had a really full shopping bag, they did their best to keep the bag closed with extra pieces of tape.

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