The same reasoning that comes into play in trying to reason out the sorts of merchandise that might hypothetically be traded over interstellar distances (assuming that the buyers don’t already have Star-Trek-style replicators) applies when choosing whether to order something from Taobao or from a more trustworthy overseas source (e.g. one of Amazon’s tentacles, Mouser/Digikey, etc.). Then there are additional practical considerations that have to be taken into account.
I wanted more GOOP hand cleaner. The type of GOOP I had used in the past doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Something with superficially very similar packaging is for sale on Amazon: Goop Multipurpose Hand Cleaner Laundry Stain Remover. The thing is that, though the description claims that it contains pumice, the word
PUMICE, which used to be emblazoned on the white plastic of the tub, has been replaced by
MULTIPURPOSE and it’s being marketed as suitable for either hand cleaning or removing stains on clothes. I recall the old GOOP being so pumice-laden that it felt like soapy sand on my hands. What are the odds that the packaging and use cases have changed but the formulation has remained the same?
And Amazon proper doesn’t sell it. That particular product is only available from third-party sellers, some of which (i.e.
fulfilled by Amazon buying options) are using Amazon for warehousing. Then there’s the expense of shipping it overseas. And what if it leaked in transit? Marinating in soap for a few days would probably do a number on other hard-to-get-in-HK items I might purchase at the same time. Shipping the cleaner all by its lonesome to avoid potentially damaging other stuff would verge on subsequently-beheaded-European-monarch levels of extravagance. I wanted to wash my hands with it, not smoke or snort it or anoint myself with it during esoteric occult rituals.
A Taobao seller calling themselves (in English translation)
Goop Waterless Cleaning Champion sells 16-ounce squeeze bottles of GOOP labeled
PUMICE HAND CLEANER at not-insane prices. So I bought four bottles, for a good deal less than the shipping alone would have run me if I’d gone the Amazon route. They also sent a free gift, a container of GOOP stain remover that I may never use.
Brimming with hope and trepidation in equal measure, I shook the heck out of one of the bottles and splooged some onto my hands for a test wash. As I’d feared, there seems to be a lot less pumice in this stuff than in the old GOOP. If I hadn’t taken photos of the old stuff before heaving it, in which a mound of pumice particles is clearly visible, I might have chalked it up to my penchant for letting nostalgia color my memories.
I think that my bought-from-the-PRC GOOP is probably legit and that the formula has changed in recent years. There’s a relevant thread over at JalopyJournal‘s H.A.M.B.: GOOP HAND CLEANER—HAVE THEY CHAINGED IT? But the concern of some posters over there is that one of the other ingredients may have been removed. None of them are griping about the drop in pumice content. That in itself is a mite of a head-scratcher for me.
In any case, it’ll take me a while to use up all of the new-formula GOOP I’ve just bought. Several alternatives to the new GOOP are discussed in the HAMB thread, but none of them are available locally or on Taobao.