Sunday, October 26, 2014

Small Adventure #36

I recently decided that I needed a paper shredder. Now, if I were in the U.S., I'd just run down to Office Max or Depot or whatever and grab something cheap. In and out in a few minutes. Well, here in Kagoshima, there really isn't anything like an office supplies store within walking distance of the main train station. There is Bic Camera, an electronics and toy superstore, at the west side of the station. They have some shredders, but they're mostly tiny desktop units that take 5 minutes to cross-cut one sheet of paper and have hoppers that fill up with just that sheet. The more conveniently-sized shredders were in the $100 range, which is more than I wanted to spend. There was one unit that looked about right for $50 - desktop-sized, roughly 8 inches to a side, but the salesclerk told me that that model was sold out.

We used to have two Best Denki stores, but they were bought out by Edion, and the Tenmonkan Edion outlet went out of business a few months ago. Edion mostly specializes in cell phones, so that source of electronics (Best Denki) is gone now.

The Daiei department store across the street from the main train station has home and office electrics on the 5th floor, but they don't carry shredders.

My two remaining options were to order off of and pay extra for shipping, or to walk out to Yamada Denki, 15 minutes the opposite direction from the train station along the Kotsuki river. The first time I made the trek to Yamada, I forgot to hit an ATM in advance, and didn't have much money in pocket. I searched the store for a while, mainly because they'd completely relaid-out the floor plan and I didn't know where anything was anymore, before locating one tiny set of shelves with a small selection of shredders. One model, a shredder unit set on top of a small wastebasket, seemed to be what I wanted, and only cost $35, plus tax. Figuring that that was as cheap as I could reasonably expect, I went back home and ate dinner.

The next day, I returned to Yamada, with enough money, and went back to that shelf. Unfortunately, there weren't any boxed up shredders right there next to the display units, and no stack of model slips to grab to show a floor clerk. Instead, I pulled the label off the shelf and left to hunt for a sales rep.

The closest store person was in the washer and dryer department. In broken Japanese, I tried asking him if he could find me someone appropriate to ask if the shredder I wanted was in stock. He took the shelf label from me, scanned it with a pocket barcode reader, and talked to someone over his headset. He then turned to me and told me to wait a couple of minutes before taking off. I waited, and then a second clerk came up, asking if I was the one that wanted the shredder. I said "yes". He scanned the shelf label, talked to someone on his headset, told me that it was in stock, and asked me to wait a couple of minutes before taking off. Pretty soon, the first guy returned, carrying a box with a handle tied to it, verified that it was the model I wanted, and handed it over to me.

Yamada is very diversified. Along with computers, video games and consoles, TVs and stereos, and washers and dryers, the front section of the store also carries cosmetics, snack foods and beverages. After getting my shredder, I went to get a package of 5 boxes of tissues, and something to snack on during my walk back home. Because of the changed layout, it took a bit of searching to find the tissue aisle, and as I was looking, the guy in charge of the over-the-counter drugs section kept looking at me. Finally, he approached to ask in English what I was looking for to try to help me out. Since I had several goals (the tissues, some Oreo cookie clones and a can of coffee), I just replied that I was "just looking". He was a bit surprised that I could speak Japanese, then used the opportunity to practice English on me by telling me why his favorite boxer is Sugar Ray Leonard.

After apologizing for his bad English, the drug counter guy left and I headed for the cash register to pay for everything. Suddenly, the second store rep came running frantically up to me to give me my paper shredder, all tied up and prepped with a carrying handle identical to what I already had. He was surprised to see that I had the exact same thing in my hand, and was left shaking his head as I walked out the building.

Turns out, it's a nice little shredder for an apartment for the price.

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