Is 1,000 yen okay??

So often when I go to a store, like a convenience store or supermarket, I put down a thousand-yen bill (equal to about $12). The employee says, “sen en de daijyoubu desu ka?” which means, “Is 1000 yen okay?”

I have to say, “Yes,” or the transaction won’t continue. I have to nod or grunt, or sometimes they wait until I actually verbally say “Yes,” which is really annoying and what promoted me to write this.

Yes, I put down 1000 yen, so it’s obviously okay to take it and give me my product and let me leave. What’s the problem?

Years ago, when I first came to Japan and someone asked me, I thought I had mistaken the price. Otherwise, why would they say something?
“Isn’t this 105 yen and this 105 yen, so the total is 210 yen?” I asked the girl in the 100 yen Lawson (in Japanese, of course).
“Um, yes….” she said.
“So put down 1000 yen….is that wrong?”
“Wrong? What? Is 1000 yen okay?” She repeated.
“Did I get the price wrong?” I asked, confused.
“It’s 210 yen, is 1000 yen okay?” she asked.

WHAT THE HELL are you talking about?

Finally…she hesitantly, as if she were BREAKING the rules, just took my money, because obviously this dumb foreigner wasn’t going to say “yes.” So I just started saying yes, and accepted that Japanese cashiers are weird.

So….LOL….today, the cute guy was working in the 100 yen Lawson store, so I jumped at the chance took the opportunity to ask him why the staff always ask me that.

“It’s because many people put down a bill, and then when the cashier rings it up, the customers start bringing out change. Then, we have to go back and correct the transaction and it takes a long time. So we have a rule, which is a ‘service’ to the customers, to check to make sure they don’t have any small change that they want to use. Customers have complained at having gotten back a lot of change they have to carry around. So it’s a courtesy to you customers.”


OH. Come to think of it, they only ask me if “it’s okay” and WAIT when I put down a bill. If I put down a bill and small change, sometimes they still say the amount but don’t wait, and just whisk it away.

Very interesting! 😀…