Saturday, September 20, 2014

I just wanted a TV...

I just wanted a TV.

Why then, do you ask, did I leave the store today with a TV, fridge AND a microwave oven? Well. First. I needed them. Second, I figured it would be easier to pay off a bill $200 at a time rather than $400 in one go, $200 in another and $500 in another. The TV, I'll admit, was purely for selfish (and hopefully hanging out) reasons. The fridge and microwave oven were necessities. When your toaster oven sets things on fire and your microwave looks like it's been around since the 80's, they need to go. My fridge has been leaking water for the past month and is only suitable for keeping food around if you're five years old. It's that small. So yeah. I unfortunately finally bought these things.

So. Big deal. I got my TV. Right?

Well yes. I did. And it looks FANTASTIC in my living room.

40" of spectacular. Now I'm afraid of the NHK guy.

However. Paying was an issue. I walked into this store with enough money to buy a TV. Just that. A TV. I JUST wanted a TV. I clearly walked out with more than I bargained for. So, after my JTE's husband haggled the price down by about $100 (Really, you can do that???) I went to the register to pay. I'm paying part cash, part card. Okay. No problems there. Using a Mastercard. Not a problem in Japan. Japan loves Visa and Mastercard. Okay. How many months will it take you want to pay off this purchase?

Um. Excuse me. Why do you need to know that? That's between me and my bank, isn't it? Isn't it?

Well. The Japanese system works like this. You use a credit card to pay at the store and the company gives them the money. So far, so good. However, in Japan, you "credit card" is more like a debit card with options to have the money automatically withdrawn every month. In doing so, you can break it down into payments (i.e. 12 monthly payments, 24 monthly payments, etc.). Then, every month, it's automatically taken from your bank account by the credit card company who you've agreed to pay. So. If you spend $100 and choose a 10 month repayment plan, $10 a month comes directly out of your bank and to your credit company. 1 payment, $100 the next month, you get the idea.


Well. This all makes sense. But I just want to put the whole remainder on my card. My credit card has the system where you pay X% of your total balance each month. Which I always assumed was normal.

"Put it all on my card." "Okay. How many months repayment would you like?" "Excuse me? No. You just, put it all on my card and my credit card company decides these things." "No. You don't understand how the Japanese system works." "No. I don't. But this is an American credit card." Proceed to an hours explanation of the Japanese system, I finally tell them, just try telling it twelve months, but the American company won't accept it, because they won't understand. "No. It'll work. Definitely." "........" "It was declined. Why was it declined? I did it right?" Proceed to wait another 20 minutes while they call to figure out that, because it's an American card, they just need to put the order through all at once.


Moral of the story. If you're paying for a purchase using your American credit card and they ask how many months? Tell them one. One month. "But that's a lot of money!!??!!" Don't care. One month. Tell them one month and avoid ALLLL the hassles. :)

There we go. Boring, but useful. So now you all know what to do. Tell them "one month" when they ask.

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