Plugged In: Subscription boxes not worth the money

In Columns, Opinion

Col_stdImagine finding a box on your doorstep full of wonderful and varied possibilities!

Now imagine subscribing to a service to receive said boxes. Subscription boxes are here and it’s one of the latest online sensations.

Mailing packages used to be expensive. But more and more small businesses have been trying to break into the art of subscription boxes as sending packages continue to get cheaper.

A subscription box is a monthly, biweekly or daily delivery tailored to fit a specific audience.

Some examples include shipments of assorted Japanese candy, makeup supplies and healthy snacks.

The allure to these crates is the chance of finding an item in the box worth more than the subscription fee. Also, who doesn’t like a monthly surprise?

Going the subscription route is more beneficial for a lot of online business and is not uncommon. Even the behemoth Amazon.com gives a small discount if a customer subscribes to certain home goods.

I had an experience with one of these subscription boxes after looking at myself in the mirror, and decided to eat healthier. My problem is I love to snack on junk food throughout the day and night. As I typically do with most of my problems, I turned to the Internet for a solution to my snacking habit.

Graze.com was one of the first results that popped up on my screen featuring healthy snacks delivered straight to my door every two weeks. It was the first time I have heard of these subscription boxes and at first I thought it was a brilliant idea.

On the surface Graze.com had it all. It was easy, it was inexpensive (at $6 a box for four assorted snacks) and it was healthy.

I received my first few boxes and enjoyed each of them. All of the food was creative, tasty and supposedly healthy, plus new ways to eat food is exciting.

But one day I was eating my box of precious snacks in the newsroom and news editor Sam Mountjoy inquired as to what I was eating. Thinking he wanted to try one of my dainty portioned snacks I explained to him the whole process of subscribing to a healthy snack delivery service.

“That sounds like a waste of money,” he replied.

I argued the variety and taste made up for it, but after a few days of thinking, I saw through the fancy packaging and realized he was right. The problem was that every time I ate snacks out of one of these boxes I was never full. I was never fully satisfied. Afterward I would snack on other food that is more readily available and less healthy than the twice a week delicacy.

Also, $6 for extremely small portions of food that doesn’t fill me up isn’t the best use of my money.

It didn’t work out for me as well as I hoped and it put me off to the subscription boxes that are all the rage. Maybe I will come around. Loot Crate looks like an interesting idea for nerds like me, but I am not so sure about random gifts coming once a month.

I know I will eat and benefit from food, but silly toys don’t seem like something that would add any significance to my life.

Sock Panda sends colored socks every two weeks, which in theory would add some color to my giant collection of boring plain white socks. I can see the usefulness in that.

But I can’t help to think I could just stroll down to Target and just buy what I need instead of relying on other people, who have no idea who I am, making purchases for me.

I know I will eat and benefit from food, but silly toys don’t seem like something that would add any significance to my life. 

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