FEATURE: More shoppers using discount tickets to save on spending.
An increasing number of consumers are visiting discount ticket shops to help make savings on their spending, as the prices of wheat flour, beer, tissue paper and various other products continue to rise.
A 39-year-old resident of Higashiosaka in Osaka Prefecture said she goes to such shops to get gift certificates to use when purchasing clothes. ''When I use gift certificates from discount ticket shops at department stores, I can buy goods as cheaply as is possible.''
With gift certificates available for 2 percent less than their face value, ''The higher the price of the clothes, the greater the amount I can save,'' she said.
At discount ticket stores, various tickets and gift certificates are available for general consumers, from coupons for Shinkansen bullet trains and stamps to beer tickets and postcards.
Special benefit tickets for shareholders are another advantage. At a shop in Tokyo's Minato Ward, 30 percent discount tickets for use at nationwide chain hotels can be bought for 300 yen each, while another store offers tickets that reduce the cost of domestic air fares by half for 5,500 yen each.
In addition, holders of gift certificates and various other tickets can exchange them for cash at discount ticket shops.
Recently, competition among such discount stores to buy tickets and gift certificates has been intensifying. At stores near JR Shimbashi Station, department stores gift certificates can be sold at about 95 percent of the face value.
Yoshikazu Komatsu, a certified public accountant who knows how discount ticket stores operate, revealed how to save parking fees. It usually costs 1,000 yen to park a vehicle at a lot in central Tokyo, but if goods worth 5,000 yen are bought at a department store parking can be free for two hours.
When doing this, a gift certificate should be bought at the department store. ''If the receipt is presented, parking will be free for two hours. The gift certificate can be used the next time you park, and if you sell it the price will be about 4,750 yen,'' he said.
When tickets and gift certificates at discount ticket shops are resold, people may feel unrest about possible fakes. The Japan Ticket Association of Tokyo, a group of nationwide discount ticket shops, is accordingly holding lectures to show people how to distinguish between real tickets and counterfeits.
''Shops where there are appraisers who have finished attending such lectures are putting up signs. If such shops are used, there is less risk of being involved in trouble with fakes,'' said Koji Ijuin, executive director of the association.