Good & Bad Buys at the 100 Yen Store

Nov 12, 2017

Every household in Tokyo is sure to have some hyakkin, items bought at any of the 100 yen stores that are now an indispensable part of life for the busy city inhabitant. Almost anything anyone needs, and any useful item that can be invented can be found in big Daiso and Seria stores. And yet those who regularly visit these thrifty stores have surely experienced coming into a 100 yen store to buy just one or two items and then coming out with big bags full of unnecessary things.


As you probably know not all items found in the 100 yen store are necessarily cheap. Part of the profit to be gained is lining up items slightly overpriced along with the underpriced items. Also, not so recently, 100 yen stores began selling items that are multiples of 100, meaning 200, 300, even up to 6 or 700 yen. What you need to know is how to differentiate those overpriced items from the cost worthy ones and save you from the overshopping syndrome.


What items will you not regret buying at the 100 yen store?


1, Chopsticks, eating utensils, bowls are all worth buying. You have to eat to live and if you have no particular desire to use elegantly designed plates and glasses then the 100 yen ones should be fine.


  1. Notebooks (except the school notebooks), memo pads (not the sticky ones), paper clips are also great buys. There is a huge variety of cutely designed notebooks to fit your mood and very small stationery cannot be bought for a cheaper price at the bookstore/stationery store.


  1. Innovative kitchen items are worth it, such as the frying pan cover rack you hang on a door or the cup holder you attach to the underside of any shelf. Space utilizing dividers, like the in-refrigerator vegetable holders, and the bowl stacking holder, are genius ideas and never fail to make your kitchen beautiful and neat. Magnets all work fine whether they are kitchen items or shelves, but sometimes the glue attaching them to their plastic parts is poor quality and come off after some time.


  1. There are a great number of coloring books, sticker activity books and other fun writing activity notebooks for the eager learning child. If your children do not especially care for brand anime books, then these items are entertaining enough.
  2. Birthday balloons are amazingly cheap, especially as you can have them filled up with helium if you ask at the counter. Try it!


  1. Art paper is worth it if you go for variety in small amounts, and if you go to a big store, the handicraft materials are wide-ranging and quite fun to browse. The 100 yen store is heaven to handicrafts beginner who wants to explore new handicrafts.


  1. Gift wraps and gift boxes, bento items, and picnic or lunchboxes are all available in different designs to suit your mood and style.
  2. Hairpins, travel-use cosmetic bottles from the 100 yen store are lifesavers to the thrifty traveler during long vacation season.


  1. A pack of small tissue packets (not the boxed one) can be found at double the price in drug stores.


  1. Floor wipes can properly clean your floor and can be bought in reasonable amounts.


  1. Wire hangers are weak, but they are useful when you have plenty in stock. Check out the internet for innovative life hacks using wire hangers to make things like plant hangers, photo frame, and paper towel holders, frying pan lid holders and belt hangers if you bend the wires into creative shapes.


  1. The princess aroma bath, while not necessarily great for making your skin smooth and silky, is a big hit with children because it doubles bubbles in a bath when under strong running water.


But what is not a good buy in a 100 yen store?

Some items are fine, if you really cannot find elsewhere, in a 100 yen store, but are actually cheaper, perhaps in bulk, if you take the time to find them in regular supermarkets or drugstores or even other discount stores such as Don Quijote or Hero Supermarket. These items you will likely regret buying in the 100 yen store.


  1. Toothbrushes will become bristly and unusable quite quickly. The drugstore toothbrushes are inexpensive enough.


  1. Pens, and markers lose their ink quite fast. Crayons do not color properly and watercolor paints have a strange texture. Pencils have a lead that breaks at the softest pressure.


  1. Towels don’t have enough fiber in them and hardly absorb moisture. They feel rough on the skin too.


  1. Makeup is incredibly cheap but you need to think hard, maybe your skin deserves something better. Regular makeup that attunes to your skin and lifestyle is a better deal in the long run.
  2. Similarly, the skincare items like soaps and lotions hardly do their work on your skin and make your skin rough or dry.


  1. Decorated hair clips and bands may look cute and lovely at first glance but look cheap and plain when actually worn.


  1. The pillows are almost designed to not let you go to sleep. They will give you a neckache in the morning.


  1. Anything that can be attached with suction cups almost never works. I have never found a suction cup in the 100 yen store that didn’t fall off after one day.


  1. The hundred yen bottled drinks can all be found for 80 yen or so cheaper in big discount stores. Candies are sold at too little packets and the amusing unique foods like ume tea or azuki milk seemed like great ideas. They did not taste much after all.


  1. Knives, razors, any cutting tools are quite dull or are hard to handle. You can buy better cutting knives from Nittori or Aeon. I used 100 yen scissors for a long time until I discovered how beautifully and neatly proper, regularly priced scissors can cut and I can never go back.


  1. Masking tape, scotch tape are just not sticky enough. Do not use them for taping boxes because you box will collapse open under heavy weight.


  1. Ladies stockings are too unbelievably thin and will run quickly. Even your sharp nails will cause a run as you put them on.


  1. Car perfume loses its scent after 2 days.


14, Last but not the least, the foldable laundry cloth baskets, though sold for 200, will tear or have their wires pop out under just slightly heavy weight. What is the use of a laundry basket that cannot carry weight?


So there you have a summary of my experience of decades of neat buys and mistake buys at the 100 yen store. If I look back and ask myself did I save money or did I spend too much money at the 100 yen store… I would say my life was just made more interesting thanks to the 100 yen store. I hope you learn the trick of buying smart far better than I have. Enjoy  your shopping and think before buying something!


Tricia, Philippines



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