Diaper Sales Pitch

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.

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Typical description of ABDL diapers – Source: bambinodiapers.com

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.

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Diapers on display at DNR Wheels, a home-care retail store in MacPherson

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.


Are Control Plus Diapers Back?

Wish those celebrating today a happy Vesak Day! Hope the rest of you good rest today.

I was in Guardian pharmacy the other day. It was a routine grocery trip but since I was alone I sort of detoured past the diaper section, and I did a double-take. For right in front were the packages of Control Plus diapers!

The shop wasn’t crowded so I took a closer look. The packaging was as I remembered it from way back in 2014, but something seemed different. I couldn’t see if the diapers themselves were plain or had a design but I didn’t really want to prod a pack of diapers too much in public.

Something telling was the fact that these diapers were displayed on the 2m high shelf – a prime spot in retail. I didn’t see any of its sister diapers though – the Control Plus Overnight diapers.


Control Plus diapers in a Guardian Pharmacy in May 2018

I compared this photo with a package of diapers I bought in 2014 and the packaging is identical. Perhaps, it really has been resurrected – there seems to have been enough demand from customers for a major retail chain to want to restock these, and it seems that the Control Plus brand was never really dead these past few years.

I had noted earlier this year when I was doing my Guardian diaper review that some promotions that Guardian pharmacy was running suggested some sort of shift in their diaper sales. But I’ll admit that seeing the Control Plus diapers back on Guardian shelves was something unexpected, especially when you note that they are still retailing their own store-brand diapers.

It remains to be seen if these diapers have truly made a come back for the long-term, and if other retailers, chain outlets to specialty stores, will start to carry them again. I will have to wait till school starts to try these out, but when I do, I will write about it.

– Selv

Mustafa’s Collection

There’s a saying here, that if you need it, Mustafa’s probably has it. It’s one of Singapore’s best shopping malls simply because it houses the largest variety of things, all under one roof. Phones, shoes, toys, medication, souvenirs… you name it and they will have it.

Naturally I’ve been wanting to go down to see what diaper brands they carry. But home’s in the east and school’s in the west, so I’ve been putting off this trip, until today.

I entered the main building, and started my search. They don’t have a proper directory so I had to climb the 4 stories in search of the diaper section. I eventually found it, on the third floor. It was a modest section full of baby diaper brands, and as with all other departments, the guards were posted to the section. There was just one adult diaper brand, something I’ve never heard of and it didn’t even stuck in my mind.

Undaunted, I decided to go to the extension building, as they called it. A bit more searching and lo and behold, I found the DL shopper’s eye candy. Hidden at the back of the first floor was modest selection of adult diapers. What I found remarkable was that the diapers came in all sizes and variants. There were 3 variants of Lille SupremFit, in 3 sizes. There were Certainty diapers, Tena Value Diapers, and of course, Tena Slip Plus and Super.

Alas, the only diaper missing was the very diaper I had come in search for. The M size Tena Slip Super. They had the S and L sizes, but no M! Why???

These were some promotions that are ongoing:

Tena Value: 1 for $10.10, 2 for $17.75.

Certainty: 1 for $7.15

TSS Large: 1 for $19.50

I also finally understood another popular saying – that if Mustafa was out of stock, it’s hard to get it anywhere else. Having glanced earlier at some other shops, it looks to be the case for the Tena Slip Super M size.

I settled for a Tena Slip Plus, so expect a review!

– Selv