Former department store employee Takanori Namigishi wasn’t long out of university when he was asked by his boss to respond to a tricky complaint.

A customer had contacted the company about a premium-grade melon he had purchased to serve to a “special client,” but which, he claimed, had turned out to be rotten.

Namigishi was sent to apologize, armed with little more than a kowtow and a replacement cantaloupe.