Saturday, June 18, 2011

Point cards: lessons in Japanese culture

Japan loves point cards. Every store, most products, and even some vending machines have a point system of some sort. Apparently they are really helpful, and useful and what not. But this gaijin has NO IDEA how they work!

The bulk of my wallet is filled with point cards. Since I've been told they are really great, I signed up for the free point cards where I shop most often, where they give you the card with stamps every time you make a purchase so you might as well try to keep all the stamps on one card, and where getting point can get you cool stuff.

But, like I said before, I have no idea how they work.

I have the basics for getting points.
When you make a purchase the clerk asks, "do you have a point card." You respond, "Hai, motte imasu." and plop down your card.
Then you get your card back with your change. for my supermarket, book store, and Mister Donut cards the new point total is printed right on the card so I can know that I am 27 points away from my Mister Donut coffee mug (eep!).

150pt カラフルカップ画像
(only 27 points away from ceramic awesomeness? must. eat. more. donuts.)

Other places, like our convenience store card, don't print our points on the card. In this case, I haven't the slightest idea how many points we have.
Which, I guess is really fine since my real problem is knowing how to redeem my points.

There is some kind of handy phrase you use you points like money (I think). Something like, "I want to use my points." Only, it's in Japanese.
Some places though, I think it involves going to a counter, using the secret phrase, and perhaps filling out a form of some sort.

(And possibly using these coupons the cashier at the supermarket keeps giving me.)

Then there is another beast.

Sticker points.

(I am not even going to bother figuring out this system.)

Yesterday, a student asked if we had point cards in the US like in Japan
Ummm, no. Well at least not like here.


  1. Hi there! I found your blog from a google search looking up how to redeem the Mister Donuts points card myself, haha! I'd like to know as well. Luckily I have a friend who works there so I'm asking her how to redeem the points. Would you like me to follow up when she responds? =)

  2. @Wapiko Yes! If you figue out how to redeem points at misdo, please let me know how. Good luck!

  3. She replied to me pretty fast! Apparently it's as easy as taking your card to Misdo themselves and telling them you'd like to exchange your points card (ポイントカードを交換したいですけど - point card wo koukan shitai desukedo) and then telling them what you want. Depending on the store though they might be sold out of what you want. She says her store is sold out of the latest promotional item, the Suzy's Zoo towels, but if it's something like those cute 150pt coffee mugs I think anywhere is fine. That's what I'm aiming for, at least! Hope this helped.

  4. Thanks for that post, I am glad to know how to use my Mr. Donut points now!!


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