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.
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.
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
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.
Dipper 2: Amason Dipper
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.
Dipper 3: Wings Dipper Square
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?
Dipper 4: Dynaplas Water Dipper
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?
Dipper 5: Plasticworld Dipper
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.
Dipper 6: Home Buddy 3-Liter Water Dipper
Price: P 59.75
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.
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.
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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Justine is a Slytherin who loves cosplay, horror fiction, and puns. She is the certified favorite human of her dog, Pud.