Subscription box fever: are we over-subscribing ourselves?
The world has gone subscription mad. I don’t mean gym memberships or contact lenses – I’m talking about the totally gratuitous ‘RECEIVE A BOX OF STUFF!’ that gets advertised on little postcards in magazines. Or by annoyingly energetic street sales people in bright vests offering you 95% off your first box of wonky veg. “In fact, we’ll pay YOU to get your first box and get you hooked for life!” kind of thing.
I’ve been there. I’m doing it actually. But you’ll never guess the kinds of things you can sign up to now.
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I first came across a ‘just for fun’ subscription when we signed up to LoveFilm years ago. We create a list online, they send us films by post, we watch (when we remember) and return. A bit like a library service but to your door. Then more recently, we got access to music service Spotify that we got free with an online newspaper subscription. Think of any song from any era and they probably have it. So you can play whatever you fancy, when you fancy, as long as you have an internet connection. Very fun when you’ve sunk two bottles and want a 90s power ballad music-off with your mates after dinner. You just never actually own the tracks.
We recently tried the monthly food box delivery services from Gousto and Hello Fresh where you are sent ingredients and recipe cards so there’s no to think about or shop for the ingredients of what you’re eating that night. Plus you are inspired to try all kinds of new things. Pretty cool, if expensive without the discount codes in my opinion.
And I have more subscriptions that I’m so used to that I forget to include them. We get wine delivered regularly, and the husband gets coffee beans…
So I’m all for the monthly delivery thing, clearly.
But the trend has gone bonkers. Did you know that you can now sign up to receive pretty much anything monthly by post?
Like socks? Yes socks. And toys? And shaving cream? And flowers? And chocolates? Clothes? Meat? And even ladies’ time of the month stuff?
Seriously, tampons, pads, tea and treats in a selection pack. It’s called the Pink Parcel. I was actually about to take the mick of that one as it sounds crazy, but that one is something ladies do definitely need once a month.
A bunch of entrepreneurs must have realised we are getting used to things falling into our laps by the magic post fairies, and it’s fun to let someone else do the shopping so we can simply enjoy the process of receiving a delivery every month to ‘unbox’. Which, by the way, I’ve discovered is an actual thing children watch on YouTube. People taking things out of boxes. Mainly uninteresting things. WTAF? (there’s actually an ‘unboxing channel‘ if you don’t believe me…)
I swear most of it is about getting post. Who doesn’t love that when it’s not your council tax bill? I just think companies are starting to take advantage of the trend and shoehorning their products into a regularly deliverable form because we’re lazy suckers who love post. Fine – a couple of products or boxes each month that makes things fun and convenient perhaps. But what child needs a new box of toys that you haven’t handpicked every single month? They don’t know your baby would prefer a zebra rattle over the tiger one. Half the fun is in choosing things for your children. And if I fancy some chocolate, I’ll just grab some as and when from the shop, ta. I really don’t need presenting with a huge box of it on the 1st of every single month for £30.
Perhaps the next wave of subscriptions will be even more extreme. Subscribe to childcare! A random Nanny you’ve never met turns up and it’s luck of the draw whether she’s worked with kids or animals before. Subscribe to clean air! Fresh country air is delivered to your home to combat nasty pollution and for that sweet smell of daisies all month round. Subscribe to a box of random things you pay £229 a year for – you just never know what random stuff you’re going to get! The fun! The excitement! The frivolousness!
Ah. Would you look at that. A company called Not Another Bill has that already covered!
Featured image credit: Narong Jongsirikul / Shutterstock