Shopping at Daiso

July 16, 2007

At Daiso, they have a whole room called "Household Plastics" filled with cleaning supplies and containers for everything you could ever want to contain. Boxes for your food! Boxes for CDs! Tiny boxes for nigiri! Big boxes with an easy access flip top for your rice. Boxes with itty bitty compartments for whatever itty bitty things you own. Do you know how much this fills my anal-retentive, highly organized heart with joy?

I did have a list for things I really did need. Like some plastic boxes of an odd size to fit on the shelves of my new cheap bath cabinet from Target, and some trays to help organize some kitchen things.

But Daiso more than met my expectations. How, for example, did they know that I had damaged my exceedingly cheap bath cabinet while putting it together? I did not know there was even a solution to the unsightly hole I had created on the side of the cabinet when a wooden dowel busted through the particle board until I saw the repairing tape, which was basically a sheet of strong, round white stickers. A sheet of strong white stickers! Genius! Not only can I cover up the hole, but I can also cover up the screws on some of my other super cheap furniture. Now when people look at the side of my white particle board shoe rack, they won’t see screws, they’ll see white stickers. Yes! I put the repairing tape in my shopping cart. Since everything is $1.50, you think, oh why the hell not. And then somehow you've oh-why-the-hell-notted your way into $30 worth of junk.

They also have things that I think only an Asian person would use. Such as a fold-up, reflective piece of cardboard that goes around the sides and back of your stovetop, apparently to keep splatters contained to your stove. It's kind of like the equivalent of putting a hard plastic covering over your chair seat cushions or over your couch. Or leaving the stickers and protective film on things that you buy even though you’ve used them for years. Why-oh-why do Asians do this?

Is it because we’re obsessed with cleanliness? Maybe. But I’m inclined to think it has something more to do with being cheap. Perhaps we are trying to preserve the object in case you need to sell it later. Or maybe you’re just trying to get the most mileage out of it. Does anyone know what I’m talking about? Any theories? I think this is a question to ask Interrogasian, our resident columnist here at Hyphen on Asian behavior. If you have any similarly burning questions, you can ask him too. Just email him at interrogasian (at) (our url). He just might have the answer for you in the next issue.


Melissa Hung

Founding Editor

Melissa Hung is the founding editor of Hyphen. She was the editor in chief for the magazine's first five years and went on to serve in many other leadership roles on the staff and board for more than a decade. She is a writer and freelance journalist. Her essays and reported stories have appeared in NPR, Vogue, Pacific Standard, Longreads, and Catapult, among others. A native Texan, she lives in California. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.



well, here in sichuan, i believe it has something to do with the cooking. the vast majority of dishes are cooked in a generous amount of oil in a large wok on high heat, and oil droplets end up evaporating and raining back down and sticking onto every surface. literally, dried old oil will be dripping down all the walls of your kitchen if you don't scrub them down regularly. so plastic on everything helps with that. and preserves the newness, which is well-liked.
can we rename this post - panic at the daiso!
You sound quite racist.
Lisa, you sound quite simple-minded.