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I am a freelance writer for newspapers,magazines as well as a journalist for TV.
I am from Tokyo, Japan and have been living in Los Angeles since 1990.

#151- Are you nuts? (Yes, I am)

When I bought a car 10 years ago, I didn’t deal with a regular car salesman. I made a deal with a fleet manager, because I didn’t want to purchase a car which some customers touched or tried. And a fleet manager has a power, so I made a great discount deal without a nasty negotiation.

The fleet manager told me, “we just got 20 cars this morning, you can inspect and choose your car from here!” Yes, I got a perfect one at the time, and my car still looks like a brand-new car :)

(By the way, in Japan, they don’t sell a brand-new car which customers touched or tried.)

Anyway, I always check or inspect the product before and after shopping (check twice).


Low standard:

At the Ta****, I bought a DVD of “The September Issue” (I usually don’t purchase CD,DVD or book at the Ta****, but it was $10, so I just got it). It was mistake!!! There was a small hole on the package of the DVD. NO WAY!!!

So, I went back to the Ta**** and I returned the DVD (mine was the only one good condition on the shelf…so, can’t be helped).

At the time, the store manager asked me, “Do you really care for this small thing?”

Me: Of course!!! This is not a perfect product, I don’t want it. Why? If you were in my shoes, are you going to keep this DVD?

Store manager: Yeah, I don’t care about it.

Me: Wow, really???

Three words were on the store manager’s face. “Are you nuts?” In my mind, “Yes, I am nuts and I feel great!”

You know what? When I look back about Ta****, I think that Ta**** has a high standard and knows customer (or me), because they never said, “we can’t exchange it.” (they just don’t get my thing, but they will exchange product for customer anyway. Great store! From now on, I am going to shop more at this store.)


Medium standard:

The other day, I bought a Lady Gaga’s new CD “Born This Way” (two CDs in it) at the Ba**** & No***. And when I came home and looked at the CD (I always take a look at the product, double check), I found the small scratch on the CD (first one was fine, but second one had a scratch on the outside of the CD)…NO WAY!!!

I couldn’t enjoy the music, because of this scratch…! (bad Feng Shui!)

Of course, next day, I went back to the B***** & N**** and asked the cashier, “Can I exchange this? This CD has a scratch.”

The cashier: No, we can’t.

Me: What do you mean? Look at here, there is a scratch on the CD.

The cashier: Scratch has to be on the inside of the CD. This scratch is on the outside of the CD, so we can’t exchange.

Me: Excuse me? I am a customer, I need the 100% perfect product and I have a right to have it.

The cashier: Our company’s policy, I am sorry.

Me: No!!! You touch my CD now and this CD has a scratch and I don’t want it! You know what, I could go to Target to buy this CD, but I like B***** & N**** and your store has a great energy and clean, and Lady Gaga had a bankruptcy, so I just want to help Lady Gaga to buy with a regular price, that’s why I came to this store. I was wrong. I am so surprised that you guys don’t exchange the damage CD! Can I speak to a store manager?

The cashier: Ok…only one time, I can exchange it for you, but you can’t come back 20 times.

Me: Thank you!!! You know what, if I see something wrong again, I will come back though.

The cashier: This kind of problem is not our responsible. You have to talk to a manufacture.

Me: What’s??? Wow, Really??? Why??? I can’t believe what you say. Oh…please don’t take personally. I am a super perfectionist, so…not you, me…!

The cashier: Ahahaha!

(Her face said…“Are you nuts?”)

Me: Do you have a customer like me sometimes?

The cashier: Not really, but once in a while we have a customer like you.

Me: Ahaha! Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it.

(I found two small plastic stains on the inside of second CD again…but these stains are on the edge…so they won’t exchange it for sure and I don’t want them to touch my CD, so I just try to forget these stains or try not to see them and just enjoy Lady Gaga! …right?)


High standard:

My perfect store is Gelson’s!!! They have a great energy, wonderful atmosphere, great products and clean! I don’t have any problems with them. Never.

At the entrance, I always clean my hands and handle of the shopping cart with wipes (they always have wipes at the store front). One day, when I realized that I dropped one of wipes on the floor (I usually have a couple of wipes on the handle of the shopping cart), so I turned around and try to pick it up…wow! The store staff has already picked it up from the floor. I was so impressed by their business.

One more impress thing was, when I was going to put the Nigori-sake (my favorite!) back to the shelf, the empty space was not there anymore, I mean, after I took the Nigori-sake from the shelf, store staff displayed the shelf perfectly right away! I was really impressed by it, so I didn’t put it back, I bought two Nigori-sake at that day.

Gelson’s knows business and me :) Perfect store and perfect me…! (in my mind)


One more “Are you nuts?” story this week. If you are not tired, please read one more story below (I have sent an email to my apartment manager on Monday).


Hi V****** (apartment manager’s name),

I hope you are having a great day.

Thank you very much for your business.

I really appreciate that you are always a good listener and you are a great manager.

Again, Friday and Saturday, #3** (with his girlfriend)’s noise was so bad.

Friday, they woke me up at 2:45am, then I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I had to watch movie until 6:00am.

And they woke me up at 4:45am this morning (Saturday) and I couldn’t go back to sleep again.

Not only the weekends, weekdays are also noisy.

I just let you know that I wrote a note to #3** (please see below) and please talk to #3** again and tell him that respect his neighbor or consider his neighbor.

Anyway, thank you again for your support.

Have a good one.



June 19, 2011 at 6:00am
CC: Ms. V****** **** at ********

Dear #3**,

This is Yoko at #2**.

Could you imagine someone keeps wake you up in the midnight or too early in the morning and you can’t go back to sleep & have to stay up all night because of this issue? As you know, I am suffering with your noise. Especially, your chair in the living room is making noise for every 5-10 minutes, bothers me. And your bed is making noise constantly, bothers me.

Please answer below questions to Ms. V****** ****.

1: Could you fix your noisy chair (in your living room)?

2: Do you have ADHD or alcoholism? (if you do, I understand.) Why are you walking & moving constantly? (your footsteps and your chair are so loud)

3: Could you fix your bed? (why does it make noise so loud?)

4: When you guys (with your girlfriend) have sex, could you consider your neighbor (who can’t sleep with this noise)? Especially, when you wake me up around 2:00am or 4:45am or so many times at once…I can’t go back to sleep!!! (I had to watch movie around 3:00am on this Friday, because of you guys noise).

I tried ear plugs or listening CD during you guys are having sex (or coming home late at night and make noise), but it doesn’t work & no solution by myself… (I don’t want to bother #1** with my CD noise).

Anyway, please talk to Ms. V****** ****, when you have time.




Who is nuts? Here I am!

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles
June 24, 2011
Copyright © 2011 Yoko Fujimoto

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Here is my translation of my column into English from Japanese.
Enjoy :)

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