Do not screw with Ms. Hiraga of Tokyo’s necklacesPosted on May 26th, 2009 2 comments
Did you know QVC had a Japanese channel? Did you know that they had a very amusing exchange with a customer live on TV several days back that’s become a viral-video sensation over there? Now you do!
QVC Japan is a bunch of wimps and has been removing the video (depicting two hosts selling an “18K Italian-Made Fancy Chain Necklace”) left and right across YouTube and Nicovideo, although people are re-uploading the clip to Nico on a pretty frenetic basis — Streisand effect, Asian style. Here’s a currently active Nico link.
I am too lazy to re-upload the sucker to YT and do my own subtitles, but here is a transcript:
Hostess: All right, we have a customer on the line. This is Ms. Hiraga from Tokyo. Hello?
Hostess: Ah, Ms. Hiraga, good evening!
Hiraga: Good evening.
Hostess: So, which of Today’s Special Values are you…are you buying the necklace?
Hiraga: The necklace.
Host/Hostess: Thank you very much!
Hostess: If I may ask, how many of them did you purchase?
Hiraga: Five of them.
Hostess: (sticks hand out, fingers spread) Five of them! Thank you very much! Um, are you going to be using them for a party, or for presents?
Hiraga: For a family gathering.
Hostess: A family gathering?
Hostess: Oh, that’s wonderful!
Hiraga: No, it’s not wonderful. It’s not wonderful at all. It’s nothing unusual.
As the hostess tries to find something to say besides “Oh, I see,” Ms. Hirata continues.
Hiraga: Do these come with a guarantee?
Hostess: As far as the guarantee is concerned, we include this gold card [a 90-day return form] for you here–
Hiraga: Oh? The navigator…I mean, not the navigator [the term QVC Japan uses to refer to its hosts], the operator just told me that it came with a guarantee.
Hostess: Ah, yes, we are including this gold card for you, so–
Hiraga: So there’s not a guarantee that it’s made in Italy?
Hostess: A guarantee that it’s made in Italy…
Hiraga: You keep going on about how “it’s made in Italy, it’s made in Italy,” but you don’t include a guarantee for that?
Hostess: Um…Mr. Kato, as far as the guarantee…
Host: Well, it’s definitely made in Italy, so there’s no mistake about–
Hiraga: If there’s no mistake, then how am I supposed to know unless there’s a guarantee?
Hostess: Yes…well, but at QVC…um…
Hiraga: Why are you giving us that nonsense? You can do that without including a guarantee?
Hostess: No, no, we aren’t doing–
Hiraga: I mean, this feels really cheap to me.
Hostess: ……………… I deeply apologize, um…we will connect you…um, I apologize, we’ll connect you to an operator in just a moment, so I apologize for this, Ms. Hiraga–
Hiraga: I don’t need them! I ordered five of these, but if they don’t come with a guarantee, I don’t need them.
The two hosts then go on for a little bit to convince viewers that while there is not an express guarantee included that the necklace is from Italy, it does come with an import invoice, so it’s really from Italy, okay?!
Nico denizens’ opinions on Ms. Hiraga from Tokyo seem to be split in half — one group saying that she has a good point, another seeing her as a witch just trying to yell at someone. (I’m leaning towards the latter, especially because Ms. Hiraga sounds just like a lot of bitchy Japanese middle-aged ladies I’ve run into over the years.) Others are simply amazed that QVC actually puts real customers on the air instead of plants.
Why is Ms. Hiraga so worked up about a stupid little country-of-origin guarantee, you ask? Because there have been some cases of fraud along similar lines in the past — a department store selling Chinese-made furniture as Italian, JAL’s inflight catalog flogging China-manufactured wallets as Italian — that were heavily publicized by the news media when they broke. No doubt Ms. Hiraga, who sounds like an incredibly nosy individual who loves shopping, heard all those reports and wanted to be absolutely sure she was getting real Italian.
Maybe she should’ve just given her family Wiis instead — it wouldn’t have cost much more than the necklace’s list price of 16,628 yen ($174) plus tax, shipping included.
Put me in the “I can’t believe QVC takes calls from actual customers” camp.
Also, it would be wonderful if someone made a documentary about the folks who watch QVC and the people who receive gifts from them.
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