Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Getting Ink

(Tenmonkan Best Denki, closed for renovations.)

A few weeks ago, I needed to buy ink cartridges for my printer. There aren't that many options within close walking distance. There's one small Best Denki outlet store in Tenmonkan 5 minutes from the apartment, the main store 5 minutes the other direction towards the main train station, Bic Camera in the train station, and Yamada Denki 15 minutes west along the Kotsuki river. I normally don't visit the Tenmonkan Best outlet because it's 1/3 the size of the main store, so I wasn't sure if they had cartridges for the Brother printer line (mostly, they're a front for selling cell phone contracts). However, at the time, I'd be coming from the City Hall area and passing through Tenmonkan on my way home in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. The plan was to swing by the Best outlet, and if they didn't have the ink, continue to the main store, then as a last resort, keep heading to the train station and get the ink from Bic Camera.

(Through the looking glass.)

The Best outlet had been announcing that they were going to close for refurbishing the store, but that had been going on for months and there was never any indication that they were finally going to get around to having a sale to unload merchandise first. So, of course, when I actually do want to go into the store, they pick that day to start the work.

(Remodeled store 1 week later.)

From Tenmonkan, the main Best Denki store is about 10 minutes south along Tram street. I figured that if I was going to go inside there, I might as well also go to the used games section on the third floor to pick up something for the Gameboy DS, and then hit the first floor for a replacement MP3 player. The Korean player I'd gotten 2 years ago for $60 no longer held a battery charge.

With all of my plans, I was kind of looking forward to getting to the main Best store, which jarred with the fact that the entire front of the building was covered in construction screening and the big sign seemed to be missing. I could understand that both buildings might be refurbed at the same time, but there weren't any notices out front announcing a reopening date. I tried looking inside, but all the windows were covered over. It wasn't until I got to the other end that I could see inside. The entire first floor was gutted.

(Behind the screening.)

A couple days later. I went back for photos for this blog. There were a few shelves set up and repopulated, so maybe it was part of the overhaul, after all.

There was still no reopening date, though. In the end, I got the ink from Bic Camera, which I would have done from the beginning if I'd just ignored the existence of the Tenmonkan Best Denki.

(Not Best Denki anymore.)

Now, the scheduled reopening for the Tenmonkan shop was Oct. 25th, and I was at the school watching TV. The news came on and there was a segment specifically on the change over of Best Denki to Edion. Turns out that Edion had negotiated to buy out Best Denki, making it the third largest electrics chain in Japan (following Bic Camera and Yamada Denki). So, it wasn't so much a renovation of the stores as it was a complete brand change. When I went up to the main shop, the name had changed on the building front and it was up and running as if it had always been an Edion.

(Same window, different day.)

We have points cards for Best Denki and Bic Camera. No idea if Edion will honor the Best Denki points. If I knew there was a chance of losing them, I'd have bought my new Sony MP3 player from them a week before the take-over.

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