Adopted as an integral part of Japanese fashion culture in Second Life, Lucky Boards “Lucky Chairs” are designed to generate more popularity and sales at shop destinations by offering free gifts to the shoppers who wait for the first letter of their avatar’s name to be called. Lucky Boards may have exclusive prizes – usually more fun, light-hearted gifts – or offer free versions of otherwise expensive merchandise to reward customers who patiently stand at the store. A Lucky Board may have a timer of the shopkeeper’s choosing before it switches letters, most generally do three minutes, five minutes, or ten minutes if a more expensive prize. Some shopkeepers are more generous than others but definitely Japanese shops are the most giving when it comes to these free goodies.
Other countries too use Lucky Boards but the Japanese culture has definitely adopted it the most, I often see Japanese fashion goers in Second Life “camping” my own board at strange EST hours, clad in fairy kei, himegyaru, Fruits!, traditional yukatas (casual summer kimono), lolita clothing or other ‘kawaii’ (cute) fashion styles with accessories, teleporting their other friends to join in while talking over waiting for the Lucky Board to switch to one of their names’ first letter. It definitely generates plenty of customers who spend time exploring the shop while waiting for the timer to switch on the Lucky Board in hopes of a free gift, shopkeepers aspire for the shopper present in the store to spread word about the Lucky Board or perhaps buy a piece of merchandise as well along with earning the fortuitous gift.
While wandering the Japan SIM, I found a bountiful amount of girls dressed in dainty, often soft-colored clothing waiting at +RUI+ to have their name called on the 10-minute timer for the Lucky Board for the Black & Pink Gothic Lolita Mary Janes newly stocked. If a shopper lacks time to wait at the board, they can be purchased inside for $150 Linden per shoe color. Unlike the non-Japanese Lucky Board-goers, these girls stood silent for the most part, with the exception of teleporting one of their friends in to win the prize followed by “ありがとう” (“Thank you”) before exiting upon claiming her prize. Many shoppers do this in order to hurry the board up to choose the next letter instead of waiting the full 10 minutes at +RUI+ for another letter to be re-selected.
At more internationally popular places like Love Soul, the Lucky Chair is shared between all sorts of cultures and sometimes the annoyance can generally be felt when cultures clash between two friends from Europe spamming sound clips “gestures” and talking nonstop and the Asian friends typically keeping chatter in IMs or only typing when congratulating the winner of the Lucky Chair. It’s really interesting to view the fashion differences between different cultures waiting for the same free product from the Lucky Board too, those from Japan generally in more refined, feminine styles as opposed to the American’s more casual or sometimes skimpy fashion. It’s a wonderful way to acknowledge potential friends and acquaintances who enjoy the same stores and fashion styles as you do too.
All cultures enjoy Lucky Boards – despite the fact it’s definitely more prevalent amongst Asians and specifically the large Japanese population on Second Life – and it’s a great way to have an eternal ‘hunt’ event, keeping shoppers at your store while upping your population count up for your area., the population count ultimately attracts even more customers if nothing else. It’s intriguing to meet people whose blogs you read online or a shop designer or shopkeeper, who too wait for the same item on the board as you do, literally all walks of life camp for the prizes to be won at the Lucky Boards.
And while I may have been the only non-Japanese avatar waiting in line for my gothic lolita shoes in pink and black varieties (and stood out like a sore thumb, as demonstrated by me carrying a multitudinous amount of colorful bird balloons in my hand and my rather American-looking, and confused “Why are we here?!” friend next to me), I always enjoy learning about new stores through the beautiful array of clothing and accessories worn by those shoppers around me, especially during a new Lucky Board release such as the quaint white shop in the Japan SIM, +RUI+.