Subscription boxes are a hot thing lately. My wife subscribes to several of them for things she likes…make-up, smelly things, mom things…every month a box of goodies comes. Pretty cool. As I talked to her about it and looked around, I found there is a subscription for box for just about anything.
Loot Crate, flawed from a the start
I’m not sure how I found Loot Crate. I think I just did a random search and ended up there. My wife had heard about it so I figured it was a popular one. Loot Crate’s target audience is geeks and nerds with a dash of hipster. I thought to myself, “hey, I’m a nerd, I’ll like this,” but what I found is that I’m not quite the nerd I thought I was.
But even with the first box I quickly discovered Loot Crate’s problem…their audience is too broad. Claiming to be things for geeks is a big net, even bigger than the stuff my wife got, like “make-up” or whatever. Isn’t everyone a nerd these days? So by trying to fill a box with toys that will make everyone happy, they almost get to the point where no one ends up happy. At least I didn’t.
And for some reason, Loot Crate lets you know what’s in the next box you’re going to receive. I’m sure it’s easy to not be spoiled (just turn off emails) but before I even got my first box, I got an email that said the theme of the box was “fantasy.”
Great. Fantasy. One of my least favorite genres. So right from the start I had a negative expectation of Loot Crate. For one, I’m not a fantasy fan so I figured the stuff inside I wouldn’t like. Second, they robbed me of the fun of a getting a present in the mail…not knowing what’s inside. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same if you knew what was in every present before opening them. That’s the fun! Loot Crate takes all the fun out getting presents in the mail.
My first Loot Crate came, and as I expected, it was filled with licensed stuff I don’t really care about. Best thing was a Dungeons & Dragons t-shirt. The rest of it was tiny crap that I wouldn’t wanted had it been free…like several Game of Thrones things. Okay, so the Princess Bride playing cards wasn’t too bad but I’m not a diehard or anything. So the $20 I had spent for that month’s subscription basically got me a t-shirt. Woo hoo.
Giving them a chance
But I was willing to give Loot Crate a chance. I was going to go through at least 3 boxes before I decided if it was worth my monthly fee. The second box’s theme was comic book heroes…at least this was something I’m into (or at can at least fake it). Overall the items were better but really boiled down to another t-shirt. However, whereas I would actually wear the D&D shirt, this shirt was a Power Rangers shirt. Sigh. Of course the one item worth anything is not a franchise I care for. There were some cool Team Fortress 2 pins but beyond that it was just more clutter crap.
Loot Crate is now 0 for 2 in my book and I really started to question myself and my geekiness, but I’d wait until the next box to make a final decision. Maybe the next theme would hit the sweet spot and include a bunch of great items.
My third box had a theme of robots and cyber-ness. Yes! Something right up my alley. I was hoping that it would include something more valuable than just a t-shirt…and it did but the box really put things in perspective for me.
The cyber box was loaded with things about Transformers, Terminator, Blade Runner and a few other things. This was certainly the box that spoke to me the most, but the items inside were once again items I didn’t really want or value. Another t-shirt, this time with Optimus Prime, so it’s a keeper. A plastic Terminator skull…meh. A Terminator key chain…pretty neat. Stickers. A mousepad…really? And a iron patch with a Blade Runner logo…super cool.
In this last box, my $20 basically bought a t-shrit (again) but the things I thought were coolest were those tiny items…the keychain, the patch…and I could have bought those for probably $5 each at retail, saving myself $10. And thus with this one it hit me…I don’t like “stuff” anymore.
Strike 3, you’re out
There was a time when my home and my office at work looked like an aisle at Toys R Us. But now for some reason I’m allergic to “stuff.” Sure, I have a few things here and there but nothing like before. I’m going to blame my kid for this one. Her toys and clutter are everywhere so I think I’m just tired of seeing small objects thrown about. So that evolution combined with the fact that these Loot Crates didn’t have many things I thought were cool in the first place, told me that Loot Crate was not for me. Sorry, Loot Crate, you failed.
But to be fair, I think Loot Crate is a great value…if you like stuff and are a very general geek that likes everything from Harry Potter to Blade Runner. I’m not sure how many people fall into that category but I’m not one of them. Well…that’s not true either. I am, but that doesn’t mean I want shoe laces and bow ties. However, thankfully I know enough people that a lot of the stuff I got will become presents.
I admit that 10 years ago I would have gotten use out of all these items in some way or another, but that was then and this is now. I’m (clearly) not the fan I used to be and so Loot Crate is just a monthly clutter subscription. I think subscription boxes are a great idea but this experience has taught that if I want to do it again, find a box that is very specific to something I know I like…like, I dunno, Hot Wheels (you listening Mattel?!). I just saw that Nintendo is going to be doing a subscription box, so if other video game companies or franchises hop on board, I might test these waters again.
There’s a subscription box out there just for you (and me)…but Loot Crate might not be that box.