Thursday, April 30, 2009
The scum of the earth comes a calling...
Generally, if you run into me for whatever reason and need to talk to me, I might not be the friendliest person you've ever met, but I'll treat you respectfully enough. Even if I'm called up by some aggressive telemarketing person I will be polite enough up to a point and probably at little bit more patient than most people even.
However, there is one type of people here in Japan that this does not apply to and I think you all know who I'm talking about here; the NHK representative. Since I moved last time to my current crib two years ago I have been spared any visits by these pesky people, but earlier this week one of them had located me and called on my door.
As my own general philosophy being located here in Japan, being a guest in the country I do try to do things correctly and the $10 a month that NHK collects is hardly a big deal even though the total time I spend watching NHK/month can probably be counted in minutes and usually consists of the rare newscast or other, but in principle I can accept that I should pay my tv license. But there is just something about these reps that come around that really really rubs me the wrong way.
They have a special aura about them that just brings out the worst in me, they look a bit like down and out salarymen with particularly dumpy looking polyester suits, think cross between a homeless person and a normal salaryman and you get the general picture. They usually seem to understand that they are considered to be human garbage by most people they come calling on and when they find out that they are dealing with a foreigner they usually get even more meek and apologetic.
I do pay, but I tend to be a bit of an asshole about it, clearly showing how annoyed I am by the whole deal and how busy I am to be dealing with things like this. The previous rep annoyed me to the degree that I refused to set up a bank transfer to have it done automatically, I kept paying in cash just so he had to come back to my place every two months and go through the whole proceedure with me, the times I didn't deliberately go into hiding. It was painful for me, but I did it because I knew it would be even more painful to him.
Once, he came in the middle of a typhoon and was, as always pretty stressed with the whole situation but managed to quite quickly get the money and get on his way out. Unfortunately he was also in such a hurry that he forgot his umbrella and didn't seem to dare call the doorbell again to pick it up. At that point I felt a brief sting of pity for the man, but it passed.
The guy who came around this time I didn't feel the same strong dislike for, just annoyance and pity, and decided to just get over with it and have the transfers done on my visa card from now on. But apparently he got very nervous in my presence and managed to fumble and mess up the process several time which made my annoyance even greater and his nervousness worse making the process take a fair bit longer than it should've otherwise. Again, it was painful for me, but even more painful for him, somehow making it worth it.
Rationally, I know that these people are just trying to do their job and I can't blame them for that, but for some reason they just rub me the wrong way. I guess it's the same with a hardened professional criminal who doesn't like cops out of principle.