Recently I discovered subscription boxes, which are basically an updated version of a Book of the Month Club, only they're not just books.
There is just something intriguing about the idea of getting a box of surprises -- and that is how these people make their money; humans love surprises.
I looked at a lot of different book-themed subscription boxes, and I finally decided that Lit Cube would be the best for me. I looked at videos of "unboxings" of some of their previous months' stuff; people were showing off nice tote bags, books, cards giving codes for free ebooks, jewelry, cute bookmarks, and beautiful journals. (I'm a sucker for tote bags and notebooks or journals.)
I signed up for a one-month "gift box" for September, with the theme "We will never be royals."
The website said they shipped on the 16th of the month, but when that day drew near, I got an email saying some of the merchandise had been damaged, so, most boxes would ship on Sept. 17th and 18th, but about 100 would ship no later than Saturday morning -- with a little extra something inside them as an apology.
Thursday I received an email from Lit Cube saying my box had shipped! There was a link to the USPS tracking website showing that a shipping label had been created at 10:03 AM that day -- but nothing else had happened.
I waited. And waited.
I'd been so excited for this box. I could hardly wait; it was like Christmas!
By Saturday, twitter and instagram were alive with people who'd gotten their boxes, but I hadn't. In fact, the USPS tracking site still said it was still in pre-shipping.
Sunday I emailed Lit Cube, asking what was happening. I was assured that mine was among the boxes awaiting replacement items.
I asked why I'd been sent an email saying the box had shipped when it hadn't been shipped. I received no reply.
Monday at 8:44 PM, according to the tracking website, my box was finally delivered to the post office in Florida.
Finally, Wednesday when I arrived home from school, the long-awaited box was there, waiting for me!!
I eagerly opened it.
I can sum up my review in a single word: Meh.
This is what was in the box:
Next was a coupon for a discount on audio books. The insert card claims this to be worth $7.99, but it's worth nothing unless you pay for it. It's not for a free audio book; it's just for a discount. Since I don't like audio books anyway, it's useless for me. What a waste.
Then there was a bookmark. Not a cute bookmark, mind you, but an ad for another book shoved into a smelly plastic sleeve with a scribble on it in Sharpie which may be an autograph. But it's so poorly written that I haven't yet decided which way is up on it, let alone what it says. This is worthless. It's an ad, not a card for a free ebook, and it's not even attractive.
Then there was a little collectors' card with a pic of a castle and the theme on it. What's the point of this? It's another waste of money.
Then there was a mug -- a 1/3 sized mug. I guess it's for espresso. It's too little to use for a drink, too little to use as a pencil holder, too big for a doll, too fragile for a child. I guess I can put paper clips in it.
The insert card said the mug's worth $7.99, but to me it's worthless.
Then there was a soda insulator wrap printed with "Write drunk; edit sober." I can't recall I've ever really wanted a soda insulator, and I find the message rather offensive (I don't drink.), but at least it's full-sized. It's probably worth a dollar, but the card doesn't mention it.
Next was a card advertising yet another book (not a code for a free ebook, just another ad), but this one said it had nail decals. Stapled to the back was a tiny plastic baggie containing five -- not ten, mind you, but FIVE -- little gold crowns. So, I guess I could do the nails on one hand. Or maybe every other finger. How stupid is that? I guess I can use the crowns in a craft sometime, but they're very tiny. Still, they're more usable than the stupid mug is. The card doesn't mention this item, but I guess it's worth maybe 25¢ at most.
Then there was a little tin, decorated with a VW Beetle and the word "Emma." Inside was something that I think is tea -- loose, with no sanitary wrapping over the contents at all, so heaven only knows whether or not it's contaminated with anything. I don't drink tea, but even if I did, I wouldn't touch something questionable like this. I guess I can use the little tin, but I don't understand why it's a VW named Emma or what on earth that has to do with the "royals" theme. The insert card says it's worth $4.99, but I'm thinking more like $1.50. The tin is cheap and it's only decorated with a sticker.
Finally, there's the book: Cage of Deceit. I have to admit that it looks pretty decent -- except that it's published by Clean Teen, which means it may very well be filled with Sunday School lesson stuff, which I loathe in a book.
The insert card says it's worth $12.99, but Amazon says it's worth $11.30.
Still, I hope it's enjoyable, as it's the most acceptable thing in the box.
My overall thoughts on Lit Cube would be, "I paid $34.95 for THIS?!!"
None of the cute stuff of previous boxes was in this one: no jewelry, no tote bag, no cute book mark, no journal, no notebook. Most of what I did get is useless.
Also, the problem is the range of ages here is too weird. The tee shirt and the book are clearly for young teens. The nail stickers could be for any age. The insulator has an "adult" message, and the tea and the espresso mug are geared toward adults. Hello, Lit Cube, who's your intended audience? Make up your mind!
I haven't written them off entirely, but I'm not signing up for another month right now. Instead, I've purchased an Owl Crate for October. I don't like the Owl Crate subscription payment bit as well, as there's no way I can buy October and then see if I like it or not before paying for November, but I will see if their box is less pathetic than this.