More Caring Society

To more Caring Society | therefore Sashiko

This article is more like my (Atsushi’s) personal note – may be unrelated to Sashiko. However, I wanted to share my feeling, ultimately to share what the Sashiko we like is – to Caring Society.

While I was writing the article about “asking for the support in Sustainable Sashiko Community“, I realize that I was contradicting in myself. I saw a big gap between “What I hope” and “what I do”. So, this is my penitence to the past and declaration toward the future: To make and live in “More Caring Society”.

more Caring Society main
A hand to more Caring Society

When did we start expecting SO MUCH

I admit that I sometime became a monster-like customer.

When I received an item lightly damaged, I contacted Amazon right away to ask for the “replacement” the next day since I was planning to gift it on the same day. The Amazon is nice (well-organized or big) enough to accommodate the request. But… come to think of it, it is so much to ask for covering an unfortunate event by asking the next day delivery for free. (I hope) no one didn’t mean to damage it. The accident could happen. After all, I should have prepared the gift a lot before the party.

When my Apple mouse started moving strangely under the AppleCare+ term, I contacted them as if it is their responsibility to “fix” it right away. (I have to admit that I was very frustrated because I needed to work on the sensitive photoshop work). I told them my frustration, and I was probably not nice at all. For some reasons, I expected them to fix it, otherwise compensate me for the “uncaused” damages by them (like the hours I had to talk to them when I am super in hurry.)


Probably, I did more of those “crazy” monster-like behaviors to the customer supports. I don’t even remember, and it scares me even more. When did we (or only I?) became so much perfect to expect more from the others?

Yes. It is a customer’s right to demand the item he/she orders in the perfect condition. It is also the company’s responsibility to deliver the item as they promise. Since there is a financial transaction in the order process, the company should deliver what they promise and the customer should get what they paid for.

However, do we really believe that everyone is supposed to be that perfect? If the company (seller) describe the item description accurately, and receive the item (with customer’s misunderstanding), would it be the seller’s responsibility?

You may say it is crazy, but in this e-commerce world, the customer has more power since they have power to leave the review. For a seller operates business online, the reviews are the powerful (and therefore critical) influence to their activities. In order to have better review, the seller provide more service than they are responsible, and the result, we start expecting more and more as the customer.


It isn’t about who is right and wrong

I am not talking about being a monster-like customer is the wrong thing. It is a result of everyone’s choice. The seller wanted to please the customer “no matter what”, and the customer chooses the seller which accommodate everything they expect. So, the seller made this culture of “high-standard customer service.” However, I would like to share a bit of trick behind.

Before the Internet, in order to sell an item, the seller needed to know about the items so they can provide the follow-up. In a store, the seller would advise or talk about the items, then the customer purchases them with good understandings. My family in Gifu Prefecture operates shops to sell pretty much everything about Sashiko. We are the seller, and we are also the Sashiko professionals who have good experience in Sashiko & related field. The customer respected it and trusted our advice. We did our best to meet (& exceed) customer’s expectation. The business was as simpl as that.

After the Internet, a lot of “good-trusted ritual” was (about to) wiped away by the convenience. Anyone can sell pretty much anything now (unless it requires the license). For that condition, the more capital the seller (company) have, the better the customer service & pricing they can provide. Of course, we as the customer become so demanding because we can just talk to the “employees” who aren’t even the sellers himself/herself. (I respect those customer center’s job. I don’t know if I can do that.)

Book stores would be one example of this social shift. I live in the Central PA, and we are fortunate to have the local bookstore – Otto bookstore. The movement of “Support Local” would be our natural reaction to this convenience. We as customer also need to pay attention who are the seller, if the seller are the one who have missions rather than making money.


At some point, I believe, the buyers should start thinking of “customer ethic” and the seller should start “being proud of what they provide” instead of focusing on their “convenient” customer service. I may be wrong, but I feel it is too much negativity on Internet regarding the shopping (because many people leave the negative feedback when they are disappointed – not many people leave the positive review when they receive what they expected, which is a superb thing). I think I can say that because I am also a customer.


There are human behind the monitor

We can make such a scary monster-like demand because we kind of forget that they are human (like us) behind the monitor or over the phone. A consequence by behaving with hostility won’t hurt us because the person is not in front of us. Would we do that when we have them in front of us? At the same time, we don’t leave positive feedback because there is no incentive us to do so.

Hey, when did we become so shallow?

I share the culture of Sashiko. The more I share this Japanese hand-stitching culture, the more I learn how we, as human being, were before the Internet. I love Internet. I cannot live without it. However, it doesn’t mean that we should give up the caring society over the convenience.


“Speed”

“Problem Solving”

and therefore we need,

“Innovation”


Yes. We need it to be speedy, solving the problems, and therefore innovative. However, I will let the other to take care of it. I will focus on the other side of humanity.

“Care”

“Self-Acceptance (Less Judging)”

and therefore we will appreciate

“The moment (mindfulness)”


I decided to marry my wife when she told me one phrase. “I love who you are, not what you do.”

It is very difficult to have “unconditional love” to the others, even to the family or someone very close to you. However, when we can care and respect “another human” who we come across, the world may be a bit better place to enjoy.

Sashiko is only a simple form of stitching. However, in a process of stitching for hours of times, we “remember” who we are. In stitching, the stitcher talks to oneself. No googling for the answer continuously, or no comparing oneself over Facebook. It is a quiet time to enjoy feeling who you are.

We welcome anyone to be part of this stitching. I am here for that and the reason I am translating everything I have in my mind in form of wisdom.

2 thoughts to “To more Caring Society | therefore Sashiko”

  1. I have experienced this dichotomy that, even though I hate having to deal with cranky customers – I work in retail – when I’m out shopping I am often *that* cranky customer. Your response is so admirable, I will try to emulate you! Have you ever read the story by Kenji Miyazawa ‘The Ungrateful Rat’ (or ‘A Mouse Tale: Xe’) – he’s always saying ” I demand compensation! Pay up!” A good mirror to look into! P.S. Never apologize for your writing – not many anglos can write a blog in Japanese!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Kathie.
      I hope I declare that “I will try my best” in the context 😀 This dichotomy exists as long as we are human.

      You recall my old memory. Yes, I believe I have read about the Mouse Tale, Xe.
      It is perfectly okay to have demand while hating to be demanded. Yes, it is also good to be mindful and “caring” to what we do, like the lesson we can learn from the story. And for me, it is Sashiko to remind me that we aren’t perfect.

      Thank you for the compliment to my writing, too. Well, I immigrated to the US, so I should be proud of my “first” language. I will keep brushing it up 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.