Thursday, June 18, 2009

Japan midnight vigil for ETCs

It's 630am and we are number 70 out of the current 150 people lining
up and out of the parking garage of the saitama naps in hopes to get
one of these coveted ETC devices which allow you to pay tolls auto
magically on highways. The government has an insane campaign which
allows you to spend just 1000 yen to rise as far as you like, and in
response, what was once the benign etc device sold out and went on
backorder immediately across the country. The manufacturer can't keep
up with orders so stores across the country must ration their sparse
inventories. To make things worse, naps is offering an additional
discount for the in device from the regular 45000 and 28000 for the 2
types to 22000 and 11000 for this June campaign. Sounds great right?
Well unfortunately the catch is that they have a total of around 1200
devices to spread over the 11 stores in japan. Each store gets around
100 devices and in the span over 4 campaign days you have people
lining up all night. We got here at 2am to find 60+ people camped
already. What is amazing is that despite the sign that says that there
are already 100 people past a certain point there is a line that
continued outside for another hundred. What are those people waiting
for? Hoping against all hope that some of us will leave? Only in japan.

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