The other day, Lime was helping me look around the Korean online markets to see how prices for tank-topped water-coolers compare to offline prices. In my old place, in Jeonju, the water tank company let subscribers have the cooler for free if they bought a certain minimum number of bottles a month, and let me tell you, in a country where the taps don’t gush drinking water, a cooler is a wonderful convenience: it’s not only nice cold water on call, but also hot water on call, hot enough to make a cup of tea immediately, if you like.

Well, the final verdict was that they’re about W50,000 — around fifty bucks US — cheaper online, but it took us a while to figure this out. We saw all kinds of ads, but one of the strangest we ran across was for this little guy:

The funniest water cooler ad I\'ve ever seen!

Now, for those of you who don’t live in Korea, or don’t want to jump to conclusions, let me clarify: yes, Cass is a kind of beer, a sort of lite beer. The TIP! noted is basically just that you can use this little penguin cooler not only for water, but for any liquid you care to fill up a tank with. (Beer and juice specifically are mentioned. Let’s hope there’s no pulp in the juice…) It’s a mini cooler, portable by the look of it, and I don’t know if it even plugs in, but the online markets are full of pictures of this thing. It’s really small, and Lime was going on about how cute it was. This, she realized, was one major reason why I’d never want it in my house, but man, the ad itself was funny. Can you imagine inviting your buddies over, and then offering them nice, cool beer from…

“Oh yeah, man, my funky new penguin beer cooler! Check this out! My girlfriend’s got one for orange juice in the other room, too. Isn’t it cute?”

Ah, the endless wonders of mysterious Asia

5 thoughts on “TIP!!

  1. I think it is smart to buy one for even 120. You can hopefully resell it for 50 when you leave, unless you are here a long, long time. Also, remember all those times you paid for water you didn’t use during vacation. Do you remember the constant pressure I am under to drink my quota of water. It isn’t easy man. If you own the machine, you have no pressure. You can drink or not drink as you see fit. That’s freedom. Cheap freedom at that….

  2. Well, yeah, I think it’s a pretty good idea. However, there are a couple of differences from the system in Bucheon:

    1. The guy only comes on Fridays, so if you want a bottle for the week, you have to be finished the first one by Friday. (Not gonna happen this week.)

    2. There’s not even the option of renting one from the company here: they just don’t offer that with the company that everyone in this building uses. Instead, a lot of people use pumps. I myself simply opened up the bottle and used a big fridge jug because I didn’t have a cooler. My new place is small enough that I thought about just doing it that way all along, but I’m not sure I want to be lifting a big jug like that too often.

    3. Yeah, the whole “pressure to drink water” thing is just not that cool. I didn’t so much mind paying the machine rental fee while away on vacation, though, since after all it’s a subscription service. But you’re right, a straightforward pay-as-you-go system is definitely preferable.

    By the way, how much are coolers in the shop down there? Up here, the cheapest I saw at E-mart was W160,000, but online we saw one for W110,000 that looked almost the same.

  3. I’ve bought two, one for home and one for my office.the big 20L jugs cost 5,000 won each and when they are empty we call the guy and he comes takes them away and replaces with new ones. Any day any time. We do 2 jugs at a time.

  4. Right, but they have a system here and the guy comes on Fridays, or at least that’s what everyone tells me. But I’m okay with that. I think I’ll be in good shape for a bottle on Friday. In fact, I think I’ll make sure, just because having a little extra is better than not having enough. This I know very well from personal experience. :)

  5. By the way — the other thing I love about having one of these things in the house is that it frees me from having to carry out so much recycling. I HATED not only the waste of plastic, but also the annoyance of carrying down bottles by the bushel, which is what you’re stuck doing when you buy 2L bottles one by one. With a big tank, a lot of hassle and some environmental unfriendliness go out the window. Win-win situation, if you ask me.

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