Tokyo discount store Takeya has launched a “smile campaign” with staff wearing masks emblazoned with photos of their smiling grin. Honestly, they look kinda creepy. This is a good idea and in a terrible, most unusual year, I appreciate the sentiment. But…yikes!
I’ve worn masks in the past due to seasonal allergies, but now because of covid-19, I’m wearing one all the time. While masks have been key, I think, in helping to keep Japan’s novel coronavirus cases lower than they could be and certainly should be worn, one frustrating thing is they inhibit non-verbal communication — namely, it’s not possible to convey a smile.
Takeya’s idea to put staffers in smile masks certainly does make the shopping experience seem more friendly — though, yes, it’s rather odd, unnerving, even, to see everyone smiling all the time. According to Takeya, even though you cannot see it, staff end up smiling more while wearing these masks.