Does 店番{みせばん} have the same meaning as 店員{てんいん}? Can these words be used interchangeably?


店員 is a primary term for clerks of stores of any size. Workers at convenience stores and supermarkets are typical 店員.

店番 is someone who looks after a small shop alone while the owner is away. 番 is a kanji that means watch, keeper or lookout. 店番 usually sell items like regular clerks, but they don't necessarily do so. Even a child or a dog can be a 店番 (of course this is not common). At least in modern Japanese, 店番 doesn't refer to store clerks in general.

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