Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ever been told you were the first customer of the day?

When I first came to Korea in 1977, I was fascinated by the new culture and all the culturally related articles in Korean shops. I would often go into the souvenir, antique, and clothing shops in front of Camp Humphrey just to browse. If I went in the morning, Korean shopkeepers would often tell me that I was their first customer of the day and could, therefore, get a good deal from them. I did not really really expect much of a deal by just being their first customer and would often leave the shops without buying anything. At the time, I did not know that my leaving the store without buying anything portended a bad day of business for the shopkeeper, which was probably one reason that they rarely wished me a good day on my leaving.

Many Koreans used to believe that if they could sell to the first customer to come into their shops, they would have a good business day. If the first customer left without buying anything, they would have a bad day. The Korean expression used to refer to this first sale of the day is 마수를 걸다, which means "to make the first sale of the day." You can also say 마수걸이하다.

Supposedly, the first customer of the day could get the best deal because shopkeepers would be more willing to sacrifice their profit on the first sale to ensure good sales for the rest of the day.


  1. 가게의 첫번째 손님이 사는 판매량은 그 하루 전체의 판매량을 결정하는 것이란 미신이 한국에서 있다. 오직 미신인데 첫번째 손님이 물건을 사는 경우에 그 하루의 사업이 잘 풀릴 것으로 믿는 미신이다. 그러니까 첫번째 손님을 보고 산 값으로 물건을 파거나 그에게 특별한 할인을 제공한다는 경우가 많다. 손님으로 하여금 사도록 유혹하고 싶기 때문이다. 그 첫번째 손님이 물건을 사 두면 뒤에 오는 손님도 상품을 사야란 미신이 있기 때문에 한국에서 샵이 문을 열자마자 들리면 좋은 흥점을 할 수 있을 수도 모른다.

  2. Once i have visited Korea too. I didn't understand their language. Their accent is too bad. Some young were having good accent.

  3. That's interesting..
    It seems that they really believe on traditions and cultures..like India...


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