I went to Yodobashi camera to buy some presents for people when I go home this summer. While I was there I also bought a pair of hair clippers. I am not big on “do-it-yourself” but haircuts in Japan are so incredibly expensive ($30-50 a haircut!). Dan suggested that I use clippers and after seeing the prices I realized they will pay for themselves if I cut my hair with them twice.
I am usually the type of person that if I can think my way through a problem, I am convinced I can actually DO the task. This has been problematic because I often find knowledge is not a replacement for some kind of a skill. I decided that is not how I wanted to cut my hair. So I very carefully stepped down the length of the clippers checking intermediately to see if I looked stupid. I don’t. My hair is pretty short right now because Japan is ungodly hot and I can’t take it. I love having hair short enough that I don’t have to comb it in the morning. Equally good is hair long enough that I don’t have to comb it in the morning. But short hair is just easier to maintain so that’s what I going with.
Yeah, what was the point of this? Oh right! I checked how many points I have earned at Yodobashi camera – crap another aside is needed here. See, at most Japanese stores you can get point cards. A certain percentage of your purchase is converted to points which you can use to buy/offset the cost of items. At Yodobashi items typically net you about 10-15% of cost in points. Each point is worth 1 yen. The great thing is even if you use points you still earn points! Points are more or less the best idea ever, and the very high conversion rate makes it affective as a marketing tool. I am more likely to buy stuff at Yodobashi because of how many points I can earn. If the return was miniscule say 1-5% I would not bother to make the trip for a lot of items.
That is the problem with similar programs in the States. From what I understand if you bought every item you ever used and earned points on them, you may be able to buy a bar of soap with your points on retirement. Not so in Japan. I look forward to the inevitable day when everything in Japan works on a unified points system. Every transaction earns you points on future transactions regardless of company. It would be like a second currency. You may laugh at that idea, but if you have been here long enough you know it is true. It is already happening! Some companies are consolidating and accepting other companies’ points. It is an amazing idea. In the future you could buy a house and then have enough points to get some furniture on points! As it is, you can typically buy a DVD player and have enough points to get a big discount on a DVD. I’m telling you, points are the future!
I also say that because in just a few years (I am fanatical about saving my points) I have racked up 60,000 points. That is approximately $600. Though when I think about it that means I have spent approximately $6,000 at Yodobashi camera over the years. Hmmmm see points are good for consumer and company.
I have no idea what I will buy with all my points, but the strong favorite is a Nintendo Wii (it is a definite if it turns out to be region free). Another possibility is a mac mini to drop in my suitcase on the way back to the States. I hear they are quite good at being multimedia hubs and hooking them up to the TV. I would never use a mac as a real computer (because I like games) but it would be nice to have a dedicated computer that allowed me to watch torrents easily on the TV or crank iTunes through a home theater system. The way I’m racking up the points I may be able to do both BWAHAHAHA!