Cross performance art with marketing strategy and you get Ogori Cafe in Kashiwa, Japan located in Urban Design Center Kashiwa-no-ha. The concept is you get what the person before you ordered and the person after you gets what you ordered. You don’t find out what the person before you ordered until after you order something yourself. It’s like a test of your faith in the person before you and a test of your moral to see what you buy the person after you. Cabel Saasser, from Oregon, wrote about his experience at this cafe here. He seemed to truly enjoy his experience. One thing I thought was a nice bonus was that you get a card telling you who bought you your snack and/or refreshment. I think it’s also great that it encourages people to interact with others. An interesting fact that I ran across in the blog’s comments is that “Ogori” is derived from the verb “ogoru,” meaning to treat someone (to a drink, meal, whatever).
Here is an excerpt from Cabel:
“The guys behind the counter and I immediately launched into a humorous, protracted, Englishanese attempt to understand what the hell just happened. Through judicious fumbling, and after a great deal of precise hand-waving and mangled pronouns, it turned out to be something like this:
At this cafe, you get what the person before you ordered. The next person gets what you ordered.
Welcome to the Ogori cafe!
As I sat down to enjoy my surprise Appletizer, loving this insane idea and wondering what would happen if you tried it in America, a Japanese woman approached the cafe. Since she could actually speak Japanese, she could read the large sign at the front and, fortunately or unfortunately, got advanced warning of what she was in for. Before making a final decision on what to order, she quietly snuck up to me to try to ask me what I had ordered, knowing that it would be her unwavering refreshment destiny. The staff put a quick stop to her trickery, and I didn’t answer.
Of course, regardless of what she ordered, she got the orange juice I ordered a few minutes earlier. But here’s one of the moments that make this experiment cool: she actually chose orange juice, just like I did. So she got what she wanted. Ogori cafe synchronicity!
Before we left, there was one last thing hat had to be done.
Mike went up to the cafe, slapped down a couple thousand yen (~$25), and ordered a little bit of everything: some ice cream, some snacks, some candy, some drinks, a Japanese horn-of-mysterious-plenty intentionally set up as a shocking surprise for the next lucky customer. (After his order, Mike received single iced coffee.)
As we walked away from the cafe, with just the right amount of delay, we heard an extremely excited “arigato goazimasu!! thank you so much!!” yelled in our direction, from an ecstatic mom and her equally excited young son. They truly appreciated the surprise.
It was so worth it.”
Photo credits for attached photos and header photo goes to Cabel Saasser