Tokyo store concierge service helps clueless men shop for girlfriends

Tokyo store concierge service helps clueless men shop for girlfriends

TOKYO —

With White Day a week away, thousands of men in Japan are currently feeling the heat. Having received gifts from their loved ones on Valentine’s Day, it’s now time to return the favor by buying their sweetheart something that simultaneously says “thank you” while acting as a token of their affections.

But when most men think of the words “great gift”, they often envisage things like video games or iPad-controlled helicopters, and the chances of such items going down well with their wives or girlfriends are slim to none.

Thankfully, help is at hand. Available at Tokyo’s Tokyu Hands department store, the White Day Concierge service is designed to help male shoppers on the hunt for a romantic gift find something that their other half may actually like.

Operated by Takashima Bookstores, the special service uses uses marketing information and customer profiling to help point men in the right direction. But could this really be a useful addition to the shopping experience, or are we gullible men simply being milked for our cash in the name of love? A reporter from Japan’s Gold Rush website headed down to the store to check it out.

Rather than simply asking men to describe their other half and what she’s into, the (very cute, according to Gold Rush’s reporter) concierge asks customers to match their wife or girlfriend’s age, character and fashion style to one of the predetermined profiles on a chart. Is she in her 20s, 30s or older? Does she go for a casual, cute or sophisticated look? How important is it that you make up for all your wrongs this year? (Just kidding.) After conveying all the relevant information to the concierge, you’ll be given a number of suggestions for products that your partner may – according to the market research – be interested in.

According to the concierge of the day, Ms Mizutani, White Day gifts have become a much more difficult purchase for men in recent years. In the past, it was custom for men to give simpler presents like marshmallows, white chocolate or white chocolate cookies (hence the name), but it has become fashionable to give a small, non-edible gift. With so much to choose from it’s often hard to pinpoint something appropriate or, when opting for some kind of fashion accessory, to find something that matches her personal tastes. It was for this reason that the Takashima group began the service in a small number of stores back in 2010 and is making an extra push this year to let men know that they don’t necessarily have to wander around for hours wondering if they’re making the right decisions.

Thankfully, this concierge isn’t simply trying to entice men to spend as much as possible at the store. Mizutani suggests that, particularly when buying a return gift for coworkers, it is better not to overspend.

“Sending expensive gifts to female coworkers may have the reverse effect of making the situation difficult or awkward. It’s best to spend around 1,000-1,500 yen. A girl can never have enough small bags or pouches.”

At first glance, some of the items being displayed as possible gift ideas may seem a little uninspired or even dull, but with the custom of “giri choko” (giving chocolate out of obligation or regardless of any real sentiment) still in existence in Japan, many men find themselves having to find something appropriate to give in return the following month. Although chocolates or cookies are usually a welcome return gift, there’s no denying that going the extra mile to find something a little more original will be a nice surprise for the recipient, regardless of their level of attachment to the gift giver. And of course, if it’s someone special you’re buying for, with the concierge’s help you might just make their day. And if it all backfires, at least you’ll have someone else to blame, right?

So if you’re in Tokyo and looking for something special for your wife or girlfriend for White Day, why not head in to Tokyu Hands and take advantage of the service? The White Day concierge will be available to help out from now until March 14 and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. this weekend. The clock is ticking, gentlemen.

Source: Gold Rush

Read more stories from RocketNews24.
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RocketNews24

  • 7

    Moonraker

    Try cheese. It is white, tastes good and is special and overly expensive. What's not to like?

  • 5

    Mocheake

    If you are clueless on this, you may be clueless in a lot of other more important things. Use the gray matter inside your skull.

  • 3

    Lowly

    helps clueless men shop for girlfriends

    Thot the headline meant "get a girlfriend." Couldn't understand what was written for a few lines.

    or are we gullible men simply being milked for our cash in the name of love?

    Ya, that would be it.

  • -1

    SauloJpn

    Getting a gift for someone of the opposite sex who has different perspectives in general is a tricky move. If it is white day I would say go for something generic. If it is for someone very special you should know exactly what to get or that one person is not special enough for you to pay attention! Then go back to the playstation...

  • 0

    Wakarimasen

    Lowly - I read it that way too. I am pretty clueless and need all the help I can get, but buying a White Day gift really doesn't require that much grey matter.

  • 0

    sleepy dog

    Or just do it like in Western countries: both of you give each other gifts on Valentine's day and if the nice intention of your gift doesn't find its way into her head, give her a Valentine's present she'll never forget: walking papers.

    But when most men think of the words “great gift”, they often envisage things like video games or iPad-controlled helicopters, and the chances of such items going down well with their wives or girlfriends are slim to none.

    Really? Since Fred Flintstone got Wilma a bowling ball for her birthday we've been dealing with this. Men spend wayyyyy more on women than the opposite, so can we let this hackneyed cliche die already?

  • -8

    Robert Dykes

    @barry it is in very bad taste to give someone a bottle of alcohol unless you know them very well. You never know who is a recovering alcoholic, or sober by choice becûase maybe their mother or father was an abusive drunk or family member has been killed in a drunk driving accident. While it was very common long ago to give alcohol as a gift. In the west, is now considered unaccepltle business gift.

  • 1

    ChibaChick

    A girl can never have enough small bags or pouches.”

    Yes she can. I just threw our about 10 that I never use. The rest went to my 8 year old.

    Or just do it like in Western countries: both of you give each other gifts on Valentine's day...

    Or - just dont do it at all! My husband and I agreed this year not to bother and just bought ourselves a lovely bottle of champers and had that together with some expensive strawberries. Perfect!

  • 0

    ChibaChick

    Women give chocolate on Valentine's Day without the slightest thought as to what would be well-received.

    Barry - you are totally missing the subtleties of it! Snickers bar from the conbini - duty chcolate. Super expensive hand made Belgian type: score! Watch for the signs - they ARE there!

  • 2

    billyshears

    Try cheese. It is white, tastes good and is special and overly expensive. What's not to like?

    cheese breath...not romantic

  • 1

    ChibaChick

    @Robert Dykes - anyone that uptight that they would be offended by a genuine mistake deserves to be insulted with an inappropriate gift.

    I'm the daughter of a man who drank himself to death. It sucks. But if anyone wants to buy me a beer or two I would be grateful for the thought. And then swap it with my husband for his chocolate :)

  • 3

    ikemen

    Mr Chibachick sounds like a lucky guy

  • 3

    fupayme

    I give my wife gifts everyday. The roof over her head, the electricity turning on, hot water, and food in the fridge.

    Oh and the comfort of knowing that her future and our families future will never be in need

    Its why anything more that I give her, is always 100% appreciated, no matter how big or small

    I feel bad for the guys who have to pick out the perfect gift or else it leads to arguments / emotional backlash

  • 0

    Kimokekahuna Hawaii

    What did the mystery shopper buy? What is wrong with a nice place for dinner ... does not have to be expensive just fun. 1,000 Yen for a bag? Starbucks gift cards are good non romantic gifts for coworkers. In America there is no day women buy things for men.. Valentines Day is for women to get chocolates, food, jewelry, flowers or edible underwear.

  • 1

    FightingViking

    @BarryMcCokkiner

    Now it's out turn to repay the gift we never asked for

    This is Japan - it's an ingrown custom to "repay" gifts and not only on Valentine Day or "White Day". In spite of living here most of my life, as a European, I STILL cannot get used to it !

    ChibaChick : I agree with ikemen : Mr Chibachick sounds like a lucky guy !

  • 1

    commanteer

    I'm glad my wife doesn't buy into these fake holidays - Valentines is just as fake as White Day. What's romantic about being obligated to buy a gift for someone? "Honey, here are some flowers. Not because I love you, but because everybody has to do it."

    Outside of the house, though, I just take it for what it is, and do my White Day shopping for those who provide the chocolates.

  • 0

    ChibaChick

    Thanks guys - I will show Mr Chiba Chick your kind comments - just to make sure he gets it ;) !

    We will be having champers on White Day together too. Any excuse!

  • -1

    Serrano

    Can't go wrong with cheesecake topped with blueberry or raspberry sauce.

  • 0

    theFu

    I am completely clueless and did a little wikipedia reading on White Day.

    Seems that in China, Korea and Japan, Valentine's Day is for women/girls to give presents to men.
    White day is for men/boys to give presents to women.

    Just for clarification - do men give presents/candy to women on Valentine's day too?

    I'm soooo confused.

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