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The Tabo Test: Is MUJI’s Water Dipper Worth It?

The Tabo Test: Is MUJI’s Water Dipper Worth It?

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Photo by the writer

MUJI went viral this month for advertising one of their products on Facebook: a bath dipper, or tabo, as Filipinos call it. But it wasn’t the fact that a popular Japanese store was selling an everyday item found in most Filipino homes that made it viral.

It was the fact that the tabo cost P365.

Bath dippers can be bought in all types of markets in the Philippines. You can find them in any department store next to all the home plasticware products. If you’re on a budget, you can find a few stores in your local palengke selling them along with other household items. And if you really want to spend less, you can probably find someone selling them in Quiapo or Divisoria for less than P20.

The tabo is an iconic item in Filipino culture because anyone, regardless of wealth or social status, has most likely used one and probably has one in their home right now.

That MUJI is taking an everyday item in a Filipino household and pricing it the way it is makes it no surprise that Filipinos are reacting to it the best way they can online: with memes.

And as Modern Filipina’s resident meme queen, I wanted to see if the meme reactions to MUJI’s bath dipper were really warranted, or if its “easier-to-scoop-water” design is worth the price.

Setting Up the Experiment

This #TaboTest will compare MUJI’s bath dipper with five other dippers I’ve bought from a department store. I’ve asked my little sister, Jillian, and a few writers from Modern Filipina to give their insight on each of the dippers, and then rank which one is the favorite down to their least favorite.

To start, I went to the closest MUJI store, which was in Greenbelt 3 in Makati. I was worried that, because of the viral trend of MUJI’s tabo, it would be sold out. like that time I wanted to buy Lush Cosmetics’ Sleepy Lotion. MUJI only has a few stores scattered around Metro Manila, and I didn’t want to go around searching for the tabo.

Luckily, there were plenty of dippers in their Greenbelt store.

At P 365 per tabo, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that these haven’t sold out yet
Photo by the writer

After purchasing the dipper (while trying to avoid eyecontact with the saleslady who might have been wondering why I was only there to purchase a dipper without browsing through anything else), I went to the nearest department store, Landmark, to find other dippers.

I’ve never bought a tabo before, and having just purchased a really expensive one, I imagined they’d cost like P100 in a department store. I thought I’d have a hard time trying to keep this experiment below P1000, but when I got to the top floor of Landmark and found the dippers, I was so surprised when I found that none of the dippers cost anywhere near a hundred pesos.

I was a bit disappointed because I couldn’t find any Orocan dippers after their funny response to MUJI’s dipper ad. But because of Landmark’s low prices, I bought five dippers ranging in size, color, shape, and features just for variety. When it came time to pay (still avoiding eye contact with another saleslady probably wondering why I’m buying five different dippers), the total of all the five dippers cost almost P210.

These five dippers cost Php 208 in total – that’s P157 less than the one MUJI dipper
Photo by writer

The Experiment

I’ve asked Jillian and four other Modern Filipina writers to give their thoughts on each dipper and then rank them from their most favorite dipper to their least favorite.

Here’s what each of them had to say.

Dipper 1: The MUJI One-Handle Pail

Price: P365

Photo by writer

MUJI advertised this pail as “not your ordinary bath dipper.” Aside from its simple design typical in MUJI’s minimalistic style, its advertisement claims that its ergonomic handle makes it easier to scoop water without putting a lot of weight on the wrist.

Jillian: Three hundred sixty-five pesos? To wash your butt? It does feel easy on the wrist, but not really on your wallet.
Ashley: Why would I need to buy a tabo worth that much? It’s not even a necessity. A lot of homes have showers and bidets, so you don’t really need a tabo in most homes anymore. So why would I spend that much money on it?
Karol: It’s matte! The plastic is kind of matte, and I like it. But it’s a bit heavy and expensive compared to the other tabos.
Peri: It’s so expensive. Its handle is like a tube, so you can’t hang it like the others. But you can spin it around your hand, see? Wee!
Chryss: It’s kinda small for its price. *places it over her head* See? The handle is also a bit heavy.

Dipper 2: Amason Dipper

Price: P49.75

Photo by writer

Out of the six dippers, it’s the smallest but not the cheapest. Like the MUJI tabo, the handle is inclined upward rather than a horizontal handle. Does this mean it is also ergonomically designed? Let’s see.

Jillian: It’s tiny, but it’s expensive for its size. It looks more like a bowl than a tabo. (She then proceeds to hold the dipper like a bowl Oliver Twist-style.) Please sir, may I have some more? See? Makes a really cheap bowl, though.
Ashley: It’s so small, but at least it’s cheap. (I point out that it’s not the cheapest one.) It’s not? What? Why? (“Um… maybe because it’s branded?”) It’s not even Amazon. It’s fake Amazon, Ama-SON.
Karol: This one is my favorite. It’s a cute size, and I love the color.
Peri: Why is it so small? It might work, it’s a bit stiff. But it’s so small.
Chryss: It’s so small, it’s not gonna work for me. Maybe if I have to pee. But (for) anything else, it’s too small.

Dipper 3: Wings Dipper Square

Price: P49.75

Photo by writer

Trying to find some variety for the dipper choices, I got this square-shaped dipper. Features-wise, its unique selling point is that it’s square, and it has a small spout on one side that helps with . . . I don’t know, dispensing?

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Jillian: It’s reasonably priced, sturdy, and I guess the spout could come in handy. But . . . it’s square. (“What’s wrong with a square tabo?”) It looks weird!
Ashley: It looks like something that should hold sand. The spout is not as big as the blue one, so if you’re trying to use it on the toilet, I don’t think this is going to help a lot.
Karol: I don’t like this one. I don’t like the color, it’s too neon. The shape might be hard to use because we’re used to circle (sic) tabos.
Peri: For P50, I think it’s worth the price. Good size and good shape.
Chryss: I imagine I won’t have a hard time finding this during a brown out. The shape is a bit weird, especially if you’re using it to wash your . . . um, behind. But at least I won’t lose this.

Dipper 4: Dynaplas Water Dipper

Price: P29.75

Photo by the writer

I don’t really know what to say about this one. It’s a dipper. It’s your average-sized dipper with a small spout. It has those bumps at the bottom of the handle for . . . grip? Not the most expensive, but not the cheapest, either. If I find more adjectives to describe this and the next two dippers, do I become a dipper blogger? A dipogger? A digger?

Jillian: Very simple, reasonably priced. I don’t get the spout, though. But I’d buy this.
Ashley: I like that this dipper is cheap, good size, has a spout when you need to wash yourself on the toilet, and has a nice handle for better grip.
Karol: It’s OK, I guess. Saks lang. I like that it has bumps at the bottom for your fingers.
Peri: It’s nice, but I don’t think left-handed people can use the spout.
Chryss: I think the spout is useful. If you’re going to see a MUJI tabo, you’ll probably find it in formal places, like hotels. But this is your everyday tabo.

Dipper 5:  Plasticworld Dipper

Price: P19.75

Photo by the writer

It’s the cheapest out of the bunch, but it’s not the smallest. From afar, it looks like your ordinary tabo. But when you’re holding it and examining it, you kind of understand why it’s the cheapest. The handle is sturdy, but the thing that holds water is a bit soft. The workmanship isn’t the best, and you can see and feel the sharp loose bits of plastic on the side. It has a lot of visible scratches and other marks at many points, and the bottom feels very rough. Not the prettiest dipper out of the bunch, but it gets the job done.

Jillian: I like this one the best because it’s the cheapest, but its size is regular. It’s durable enough on the handle. And I don’t really need the other features ,like a spout, so why spend more when I can have a tabo for much less?
Ashley: I like this one, it’s the cheapest. Who needs an expensive tabo anyway? It’s a bit rough, and there are plastic edges here that could scratch you, though.
Karol: It’s cheap, but it’s very low quality. It’s your everyday tabo, but I’d rather buy something like this *points to the blue dipper* because it’s better quality.
Peri: It’s cheap, but it has a few sharp edges.
Chryss: It’s a bit hard. And I think someone could get hurt from these sharp parts.

Dipper 6: Home Buddy 3-Liter Water Dipper

Price: P 59.75

Photo by the writer

The biggest and the second most expensive one after the MUJI dipper, this dipper’s unique selling point is that it can carry a whopping three liters of water. It might seem excessive, given the current water shortage in Metro Manila and most people’s ability to hold three liters with one hand. But if you want to be efficient and get as much water as possible in one scoop, this might be the dipper you need.

Jillian: Who needs three liters to wash their butt? I don’t think I can even carry three liters.
Ashley: This doesn’t even look like a tabo. It looks like a pot you’d use for one of those big Christmas plants.
Karol: Wow, it’s pretty big. I still like the smallest one better.
Peri: Three liters? I’d use this so I could take a bath faster.

The Verdict

After going through each of the dippers, their prices, and their features, I asked my participants to rank the dippers from least favorite on the left to their most favorite on the right. Surprisingly, their answers were very different.

Jillian: My least favorite one is the MUJI dipper. For me, the price is just not worth the handle, even if it does feel nice. My favorite is the cheapest one because it’s the most affordable. They’re just tabos, so I don’t need the extra features the others have. It’s the simplest, it gets the job done, and it’s the cheapest.
Ashley: I put the MUJI tabo way over here because it’s so expensive. It’s just a tabo, and I’m paying P350 (“It’s actually Php 365.”) – yeah! You don’t need that kind of tabo. On the other hand, my favorite is this blue one because it’s simple, sulit, it has the nice grip and spout.
Karol: My favorite is this small one because it’s small enough and has a nice color. I like the MUJI because it also has a nice color and design. But I don’t like the green one because the color is ugly and the square shape is just weird.
Peri: I like this one because it’s big. I can take a bath with just a few scoops. I like the MUJI tabo the least because of its price and handle.
Chryss: I like the biggest one the best because I like taking a bath with a lot of water. I like the smallest one the least because it’s too small for taking a bath or using it on the toilet. The MUJI tabo only comes in at 5th place because it’s slightly bigger than this one.

Despite the MUJI bath dipper’s ergonomic design and white color, not many people may be keen on spending P365 on a bath dipper when there are much cheaper options that can get the job done just as easily.

So if you plan on heading to your nearest MUJI store and buying the infamous dipper, get your wallets and hope this dipper will last you a lifetime. But if you plan to buy a dipper anywhere else, at least you have more money to spend elsewhere – just maybe not at MUJI.

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  • this is just an honest opinion so you guys can improve your blogs. i think it might help if you guys tried to use the dippers before giving the verdict because its not really a tabo test if you guys just judged it by its appearance and not by its functionality right? im just saying it so you guys can improve and have a better content. xx

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