Twisted logic for special prize sign leads to a visit from the cops.
Though they all, obviously, involve cranes, there’s actually some variety to the crane games in Japan. While the most common style has you trying to directly pick up prizes sitting inside the machine, others have you grabbing capsules that contain pieces of paper which you then exchange for prizes. Sometimes the capsules are even made out of opaque plastic, so that even if you’re skillful enough to pick up one of the capsules, you won’t know for sure what you’ve gotten until after you open it up.
That double-layer difficulty can be daunting, so these blind-capsule crane games usually need to rely on some sort of really desirable prizes to convince players to try their luck. For example, the one in the video below from Japanese YouTuber has some pretty plain stuff in its bottom prize tier. If you grab one of the rarer Class 1 Prizes, though, you could end up with an air purifier or Blu-ray player, and way at the top in the Special Prize class, you can win a Nintendo Switch!
So with his eyes on a shiny new video game system, Tsurunaka started playing. Sure enough, the first couple capsules he pulled in were Class 3 prizes (like dish soap). But he kept playing, determined to get that Switch.
How determined? Over the course of two days, Tsurunaka dropped approximately 60,000 yen (US$570) into the machine, and only stopped because he’d nabbed every single capsule in the machine, but his final haul was:
● 40 Class 3 prizes
● 3 Class 2 prizes
● 1 Class 1 prize
Even with the machine now empty, he hadn’t gotten a single Special Prize capsule, the one which would have gotten him a Switch (or his choice of some other top-tier prize like a PlayStation 4 or GoPro). But remember, he’d won his 44 prizes over the course of two days, so maybe someone else had won the Special Prize while he wasn’t playing? Nope. Tsurunaka asked an employee if anyone had one a Special Prize since the last time the machine was stocked, and the employee told him that no one had.
Because of the video’s privacy pixilation, it’s hard to tell if Tsurunaka was playing at a full-blown arcade or just the game corner of a shopping center. Either way, though, the on-site employees work for a different company than the one that stocks/owns the machine. So Tsurunaka had the on-site operator get the owner company on the phone, who revealed that there had never been any Special Prize capsules in the machine, and offered this as justification:
“There’s a sign on that machine that originally says it’s stocked with Class 3, Class 2, Class 1, and Special Prizes, but ‘Special Prize’ has been lightly painted over in green.”
Now, there are two problems with this attempt to pass the problem off as a misunderstanding on Tsurunaka’s part. First, if you’re going to paint over part of a sign because that particular portion isn’t true, you shouldn’t do it just “lightly.” But the bigger problem is that even though the owner says they painted over “special prize” in green, the background for the text is yellow, and the “light” painting left the outline of the words completely visible. The sign can be seen in the video here (特賞 = Special Prize):
No reasonable person would look at that sign and think “Special Prize” is “painted over” and come to the conclusion that the machine didn’t contain any capsules of that class. Just the opposite: by leaving the text’s outline visible and using a different color than the background, “Special Prize” jumps out and demands you attention, all but shouting “Hey, Special Prize machine here!”
Not at all satisfied with the twisted logic, Tsurunaka asked the owner company to send a representative to the arcade, and they agreed to do so the next day. Right off the bat, he got another excuse, with the owner employee saying “In essence, ‘Special Prize’ has been erased.”
However, Tsurunaka had also invited the police to come to the meeting. While the officers didn’t go so far as to arrest or write up the owner for fraud, they told him that the sign was misleading, and instructed him to cover “Special Prize” with duct tape until the company can replace it with a new sign that’s clearer about what’s in the opaque capsules.
Sadly, Tsurunaka was not given a Switch, but he was given a full refund, and with the Nintendo systems back in stores, 60,000 yen is more than enough to buy one. Meanwhile, the rest of us were given a reminder to stay vigilant when watching for crane game fraud, and also that nothing is ever certain when dealing with UFO catchers.
Source: YouTube/つるなか via Livedoor News Japan/Real Live via Jin
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