I have previously talked about how we as a community find it hard to buy ABDL diapers. But there are many home-care diaper sellers out there today, online and offline. And I thought it would be a little fun to discuss how these people sell diapers.
Many of these brick-and-mortar retail shops are staffed by roughly the same profile of salespeople – Singaporean Chinese in their early to mid forties. Some of them are small businesses that they own, while others are pretty large and supply products to medical institutions.
In fact, diapers form a significant part of sales. Just walk into any one shop and you’ll see at least a quarter of their display products. While there are many other products on sale such as walking aids and nutritional products, the large variety and spread of diapers makes it clear where money comes in from.
So that would mean most staff know the nuts and bolts of their top selling product. It’s interesting however to note just how different it can be to sell a medical diaper as compared to an ABDL diaper.
Browse through any ABDL store online and you’ll see an emphasis on appearance, plastic-backing, and privacy during shipping. In the medical diaper industry, these things are a non-starter. For the latter, absorbency, comfort and price are key.
A friend joked that the uglier the medical diaper, the better it was at absorbency and retention. We ABDLS often like to complain that medical diapers look very “medical and boring” but that’s because things like misplaced wetness indicators and colour codes are there to aid caregivers. Many premium diapers also focus on ‘breathable sides’ – what we call cloth-backed diapers – and though visibly more pricey than plastic-backed ones, are enjoying healthy demand.
I’ve never been to an ABDL retail store before (well there are but a handful in the world), and so online, ABDL sellers often focus on the afore-mentioned three points of appearance, plastic-backing and privacy during shipping. They do talk about things like absorbency, but for most ABDL diapers they would fall under the ‘high absorbency’ category for medical diapers.
That’s because it’s an expectation in the ABDL community – that if we buy printed diapers for little space, then we are not going to change after just one wetting but rather stay in it a bit longer. But for medical diaper users, changes occur after every wetting, except overnight. That’s why they sell diapers with varying absorbency levels.
But at the end of the day, the sales pitch is meant to help confused customers. I was in a home-care retail shop in Saint Andrews Community Hospital. I was greeted by a forty-something lady. She was very chatty and when I asked for some high absorbency diapers. I was looking for some Molicares, but she prodded me to get Tena Slip Maxis instead. I thought she had some quota to hit. So I pulled out a trump card and said that I was asked to get Molicares.
“Ah, Molicare is used in St. Luke, but (in this hospital) they use Tena Slip. Ah boy (referring to me), you should use this thing called ‘breathable’. It allows the skin to breathe one.”
I was trying to stifle my smile, because little did she know that I was getting them for myself indeed. But her Singlish was professional-sounding regardless. She then picked up a sample Tena Slip diaper and showed it to me.
“And this kind is also good, because it has this technology called ‘SAP’ it’s very absorbent,” she said, pointing to Tena’s Feel Dry Layer.
I think she saw my concealed smile and at that point sensed that I was a DL. Or maybe that I had done my research and knew she was bluffing.
But seriously, as a DL I’m not sure if I’m to be worried at this misinformation or to merely laugh at it. Because after all it doesn’t change the fact that the TSM is a very absorbent diaper.
It reminded me of another cringeworthy sales pitch at a home-care shop in Tampines Hub. I had been eyeing the ID Expert Slip Plus (ISP) diaper for some time and managed to alter my schedule enough that day to go buy them. The sales guy saw me staring at the diapers and came up to ask if I needed assistance. My mind went blank so I asked something pretty generic.
“Do you have any promotion going on for your diapers,” I asked, slightly hopeful.
“Promotion? No, only the prices you see here,” he said with a somewhat rehearsed tone.
I was a little surprised that there was no promotion given that the GSS had kicked off and the diapers were occupying a large and prominent part of that store. So I asked how much the ISPs were for. He told me, and I pretended to think for a moment. All this while, he was keeping his eyes on me.
He then suddenly asked, “How often do you use?”
“My grandma needs one a night usually. We will try this one,” I lied somewhat naturally.
“For night use can try this Lille brand here. Made in Germany one, very good,” he replied.
I however, knew that they were made in France, and I was also curious as to how he knew that they were ‘good’. But I was not in a mood to probe that day.
At the end of the day, we must acknowledge that these sellers here have not tried these products on themselves. A shoe-seller might have tried on similar shoes, a car-seller may have driven a similar car. But a person selling diapers most definitely would not have tried on on themselves. And it shows sometimes. There’s nothing wrong in that, given that the people they sell it to very likely won’t use it for themselves too.
But it does make for funny sales pitches.