Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hard-Off Stores of Japan

Hard-Off. Heh. This is not the name of a Japanese girly bar or adult movie. It is a chain of some of the coolest stores in Japan.

In Japan, there is a constant push for consumers to have the newest and best products on the market. Hard-Off does not cater to people that are buying into that philosophy. These stores carry only secondhand items, in virtually every category imaginable.

These stores are crowded with merchandise. I usually go there to look for musical equipment, but they also have computers, toys, audio equipment, jewelry and sporting goods. I saw a set of Ping golf clubs for a hundred bucks there. What a deal!

The items in the stores may be used, but they are not abused. All of the items have been well-cared for, and all are in proper working order. Unless, that is, they are in the appropriately-labeled “Junk” section of the store. You get what you deserve if you pick something off of those shelves.

There are a number of offshoots of the “Off” stores. For example, you can head over to Book-Off to find some used tomes, or Garage-Off, Hobby-Off, Off-House or Mode-Off, for pretty much whatever else you are looking for.

As an aside, when I was trying to find a local Hard-Off store, I went to the concierge desk at an upscale hotel. They had never even heard of the store, and had to find it on the internet. As I said, there is a general perception that only the newest and best will do.

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