For some reason, Japanese shoppers love lining up in absurdly long lines to buy the latest popular thing — whether it be new electronics, tickets, or merchandise at Comiket.
The latest and most famous of these lines was on New Year’s Day in Sapporo, Hokkaido, where Apple fans lined up in snowy January weather to buy special fukubukuro — lucky mystery bags that contained Macbook Airs and Beats Wireless among other cool things. But this phenomenon is nothing new, really. Another is the line for the special edition Suica card, which we featured in this article. The Otaku event, Comiket, is another event which is infamous for its huge lines.
Often the most motivated shoppers set up camp overnight to get a head start and be the first in line. Many stores and events ban this type of behavior because of its physical dangers, noise , litter, and bad manners, and to maintain the fairness of the events.
But these rulebreakers are very persistent… no matter what measures the planners take to discourage them, they still keep coming back.
But has a solution been found once and for all?
One store’s clever and non-aggressive solution was featured on Japanese TV.
It’s against the rules to line up before 5 a.m. at this store. But the overnight campers ignore these rules. At 5 a.m., the staff quietly line up. When the store opens, the people that lined up behind the staff get in first.
This should be used at Comiket, too.
It’s simple and obvious once you figure it out, but it’s very effective and almost foolproof.
Instead of throwing the overnight campers out (which doesn’t work as well), the staff secretly get in the line after the time that customers are allowed to line up. When it’s time for the store to open, the staff know which people to let in first — the customers behind them, who followed the rules.
If the staff dress like customers, the overnight campers in front can’t get back in line: they don’t know where the actual line starts!
Did you see on Sukatto Japan (a TV program)!?
So that’s one way to get rid of overnight campers!
Of course. The staff get in line when customers are allowed to line up, and hand out tickets to those behind them. It’s really simple.
Other Twitter users replied,
-If everyone did what this store owner did, the overnight campers will disappear!
-Overnight campers should be destroyed like this.
-Comiket should do this too. All the people in front of this staff are overnight campers, so they’ll have to wait!
-The rulebreaking overnight campers get what they deserve, it feels good!
This strategy really reflects the passive-aggressive, but still polite, side of Japanese culture and personality.
Maybe this will effectively deter rulebreakers in the future.