Thursday, January 8, 2015
Daiso: The Japanese Store That Puts The Dollar Tree and Poundland To Shame
Heck yes, I brag to my UK friends about The Dollar Tree back home all the damn time. Betty Crocker kitchen accessories? No probs, the dollar store has it. Gift bags, tissue paper, ribbons, and cards? As much as your heart desires. Pregnancy test? Got it. Marijuana drug test? Stocked next to the pregnancy tests (for reals).
Ev-ery-thing is $1. Not like, if-you-look-closer-at-certain-items-they're-actually-$4.50 kind of $1, but $1 = $1.
Poundland in the UK, on the other hand, is more of a #wompwomp disappointment. It's good for cleaning supplies and the occasional toiletry, but other than that, I wouldn't make a special effort to go and grab myself a bargain - simply because the products that are sold there aren't all that nice.
But, but, but ... Japan has a store to kick The Dollar Tree's b-u-t-t and it's called Daiso. Ever heard of it? There are stores in the US, Canada, Australia/NZ, the Middle East, and Africa, but there's not a single store in Europe (though Tiger comes close), which is hugely disappointing.
Around 95% (that's my estimate) of the items at Daiso's Canadian locations are $2 - including these two pretty trinket bowls pictured above (well, they're actually sauce bowls, but I'm using them as trinket bowls) that I found in the kitchenware section - easily something I'd see for three times the price at Anthropologie.
Daiso has everything. Things you didn't even know you needed - like, if you wear tall boots in the winter like me, Daiso has pretty-patterned boot inserts to help them keep their shape (and make them look nice and orderly in your room/hallway/closet). For $2. I just looked up a pair on Amazon.co.uk and they cost £5. Can we say rip-off?
Also, it's insanely good for Japanese beauty products. I always stock up on oil-blotting sheets when I'm there and, while I wouldn't necessarily purchase their make-up (I'm a little discerning when it comes to the quality of my make-up), their beauty tools and accessories are kind of amazing. So you might find yourself walking out with a weird haul like this:
What do BerryCarnival Pocky sticks, Daiso's own version of Breathe Right nasal strips (YES, in case you were wondering, apparently I SNORE - John threatened to write a "guest blog post" about this but I've beat him to it, obvs), pore strips (continuing the list of glamorous products I picked up), and oil-blotting sheets have in common? All items that made their way into my Daiso shopping bag.
Even John, who is usually the most far-removed from the word "shopaholic" you can get (he might be "shop-phobic", in fact) went a little bit crazy during our most recent visit to Daiso (it was his first time). Kitchen tongs for cooking (5 styles and 10 colors to choose from - with silicone and non-silicone options), clips for appliance cords, bakeware ... by the time I found him in the gardening section, his eyes were a little glazed over and he was holding a variety of mismatched objects in his hands. "We need these," he said in a robotic voice. I gave him a strange look, put the items in my basket, and gently suggested he "take a break" from Daiso by grabbing a smoothie in the Food Court instead.
Our best purchase? A set of gorgeous earthenware tea cups and bowls with delicate red and blue stripes, which my mom painstakingly bubble-wrapped to put in my carry-on luggage. Each bowl and cup cost $2, whereas they'd easily go for £10 per item here in London's expensive furniture shops. I even splurged on a beautiful $2 sake carafe which I'm planning to re-purpose as a small vase.
So, yeah. Daiso. Amazing stuff.