Monthly Materialism

While I was doing my daily bit of overthinking, I remembered something called Birchbox that used to be advertised every two seconds on Pandora while I was trying to listen to music. I think it is (or used to be; not sure if it still exists) a subscription box service where every month you get a new box full of makeup and other beauty supplies or personal care items.

There are similar subscription boxes for basically everything under the sun. One of the more popular ones is the Loot Crate, which is filled with various video game, pop culture, and “geek” paraphernalia. The more I thought about the Loot Crate, the more I thought that you have to really be a die-hard fan of basically everything in the world of video games and pop culture. The Loot Crate contains a random assortment of stuff from all kinds of different franchises, so you may end up with a bunch of junk you don’t want or have any interest in. So what do you do? Do you sell each item individually? Do you let it sit around and collect dust? Do you unsubscribe from Loot Crate?

Other companies are creating different subscription boxes for each video game franchise, so if you subscribe to one of those, you have a much greater chance of getting stuff that you’ll actually like.

However, the subscription box phenomenon in general bothers me because it’s just “stuff.” To some degree, I can understand getting a Graze box because all it contains is food, which is consumable and won’t sit around in your house forever. But I don’t like the fact that subscription boxes are like “a little Christmas every month” because the whole concept seems to epitomize the materialistic culture we live in. And it reminds me of this stand-up comedy routine from George Carlin.

Have you ever ordered a monthly subscription box (for you or for someone else)? What did you think?

5 thoughts on “Monthly Materialism

  1. I haven’t got a subscription box as you describe them. I’ve looked at the Graze box but didn’t pull the trigger. There are others I’ve looked at as well, mostly around food or dink, but have never signed up for one. The closest I’ve gotten is there is a book store in the Bay Area that sends you a book of the month. They pick it and mail it to you. I did that for six months and I enjoyed the eclectic mix of books. Now I’m signed up for a weekly CSA box — fruits and veggies every week from a local, organic farmer.

    I don’t think I’ll ever go the route of the type of boxes you suggest primarily for the reasons you cited.

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    1. I like the idea of a book subscription service, if it’s like a remote library–you receive a book only after sending the previous one back. Then you wouldn’t have tons of stuff accumulating in your house (even though books are good to own). CSA boxes are good–I have no opposition to food boxes if all the food gets eaten. 🙂

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  2. The New York Times has a quarterly subscription “box” of 6 wines that I like to send as a gift. The wines they pick are always good and presumably just when you run out they send another. Not sure what the other boxes would bring…

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