Subscription Boxes and Customer Service

Customer service is a big deal to me. If a company has poor customer service, I really don’t want to do business with them. I always start off contacting a company in a polite and friendly manner if I have a problem, so their attitude toward me is also an indicator of whether or not I want to continue with their services. Lately, I’ve had a few customer service issues, shipping issues, and item quality issues with subscription box companies. Here are two instances I’ve dealt with in the past two weeks or so.

1. Naturebox – I like Naturebox. It’s just a little expensive for me right now. However, they have no means of cancelling your account online. None. You have to call their toll-free number to cancel. To me, this is unacceptable for an online-only company. For a brick-and-mortar store, sure. For a company that deals only in online business? No.

I called pretty much as soon as their business hours started. After the automated stuff, someone did answer right away. However, the customer service representative was somewhat rude and had an attitude in their voice. (I’m using neutral pronouns because I don’t want the person to get in trouble [as if anyone from the company would read this, lol] in case they were just having an off day.) I get that it’s early, but it’s also technically business hours so you should be in business mode. The representative asked why I was canceling, and then cut me off mid-explanation. They did offer me a discount, which is nice, but I declined. After that the representative was fairly brusk with me, but did cancel my account like I asked.

2. Popsugar – My last Popsugar box was pretty good, but I got some damaged goods in mine. I e-mailed Popsugar’s customer service, and they were really nice. They sent me replacement items for the ones that were damaged and didn’t even ask for the other items back. They were very polite and apologetic. It’s nice to have a no-fuss customer service experience.

 

It’s weird to me when companies are rude or angry with customers who are being pleasant, especially over the phone. Even if I’m cancelling, I might want to resubscribe in the future, so being unpleasant deters me from doing that a bit. The nicest customer service experience I had was years ago when I had issues with an online video game subscription. I still remember how nice the guy that talked to me was!

Advertisements

Julibox May 2013

Julibox is a cocktail subscription box. It is on the pricier side at $40 a month, or a little cheaper (as low as $36) if you subscribe for six or twelve months. Each month you get enough mixers and alcohol for two cocktails, plus recipe cards to let you know what to make. Julibox emails customers before everything ships to let you know if you need any fruit for the drinks, but everything else is included.

First Impressions: The box itself is really nice, and the packaging is excellent. I received the mixers and the actual alcohol in separate shipments (they come from different states, it seems), but both were packaged securely and with bubble wrap around each bottle. The box with the alcohol in it has lots of packing material so that nothing shifts around too much. It also comes with an envelope that holds information about the box and the recipe cards.

The packaging.

The packaging.

The envelope seal.

The envelope seal.

Contents:

  • Two G’vine Floraison miniatures- This is a grape and herb/spice infused gin.  The G’Vine website states that it’s “well-balanced” and that it will appeal to both people who love gin and people who don’t.
  • Two Bols Genever miniatures- The Bols Genever website states that this is a “whiskey-like” beverage that also has a juniper berry flavor (like gin).
  • One can of Perrier sparkling water.
Everything from the alcohol box.

Everything from the alcohol box.

  • One Tomr’s Tonic bottle- This is tonic syrup rather than tonic water. You mix it with water (hence the Perrier can) to create your own tonic water. It’s supposed to have a much different flavor from your regular grocery store tonic water. It’s made with the various tonic herbs and real cane sugar. Their website specifically recommends mixing it with gin.
  • One Royal Rose Raspberry Simple Syrup bottle- The Royal Rose website states that their syrups are made in small batches and are 100% organic.
  • One packet of powdered egg whites.

    All of the mixer items.

    All of the mixer items.

The Drinks: I will flat out say that I do not like gin. In fact, I hate it. Hate it. That being said, I’m still going to make and try these drinks. It’ll be fun and I hope they have a different flavor than what I’m used to with gin!

  • Gin & Tonic- This is way better than any other gin & tonic I’ve ever had. Still, the gin flavor is pretty present, and I’m just not a fan of gin. The flavor of the Tomr’s Tonic in there is nice, though. It’s sort of like a heavy ginger ale taste.
  • Clover Club- This drink is very frothy, due to the powdered egg whites and tons of shaking involved. I like it better than the gin & tonic because the gin flavor isn’t as strong and is covered up more by the raspberry syrup.

Conclusions: I love this box. The packaging is great. The actual items inside are unique and interesting. The quality of the items is also really nice. Is the total worth $40? Probably not. You might pay $8 or more per cocktail at a nice bar for these sort of drinks (depending on the bar, I guess!), which would be $32. That being said, I think part of the “value” of this box is the actual experience of trying new things and having fun making the drinks. To me, it’s worth the money and I will continue to subscribe.

*I included links to the various product pages in case you want to take a look, but I have no affiliation with any of them.

Popsugar Must Have Box May 2013

The Popsugar Must Have Box is supposed to be one of the higher-end subscription boxes. It’s $35 a month. They sent out “must have” items in different categories, like beauty, fashion, lifestyle, food, etc. This is a re-subscription, because I’ve tried Popsugar once before and hated it. They sent out a 50% off coupon randomly for this month, so I figured I’d give it another shot.

First Impressions: I FINALLY got my box. I feel like Popsugar sent my box out later than many other people’s. It took a week from when they (finally) sent the box for it to be delivered, so I’ve already seen everything in the box all over the internet. The box itself was pretty heavy.

The box, minus the hat and tote bag.

The box, minus the hat and tote bag.

What’s Inside?

  • Kooringal Giselle Mid Brim Hat ($27.99)- It’s a big floppy hat for wearing out to the beach or pool. I do like that the brim has a wire in it so that you can affix the hat in any jaunty angle that you like and it will stay that way. I think the hat is really cute, but I did notice some hanging strings from where the pieces are sewn together. (Maybe I just got a dud, though.)
  • Pacifica Natural Color Quench Lip Tint ($7)- Basically, it’s lip balm. It has a nice scent, but the color is very, very sheer and it feels a little waxy to me.
  • The Modern Margarita ($7.99)- This is a pack of margarita mixers in different flavors, plus sugar to put around the rim of your glass. I’ve seen them in the drugstore (and bought some) before. They taste pretty decent, although most of them are very sweet. They’d be fun to bring to a party!
  • “Questions I Ask When I Want to Talk About Myself” card deck (approx. $13)- This is a deck of big cards with anecdotes and weird stories on them, written by Mindy Kaling (from The Office and The Mindy Project). After the anecdote is a question that you are supposed to ask your friends. However, you would have to be rip roarin’ drunk to actually ask these and expect honest answers from people. Plus some of the questions could lead to really awkward conversations.
  • Way Better Snacks sweet potato chips- Basically, they’re “health food” potato chip, although the bag says “tortilla chips.” I tried one and thought it was dreadful, honestly. They taste like over-toasted sesame seeds.
  • Charm & Chain gift card/coupon- I got a $30 off coupon to this store. As of right now, there is nothing in the store that’s even $30 or under that I could find, so to use the coupon you’ll still have to spend some money. Some of the jewelry is cute, but a lot of it looks huge and clunky. I enjoy some clunky cocktail rings sometimes, but these just look gigantic!
  • The Original Beauty Blender and Blendercleanser- (approx. $35)- This is the item I’m most excited about and am very happy to get. I’ve been wanting to try one of these for quite some time, but I didn’t want to fork over that kind of money for what is essentially a makeup sponge (albeit a really nice one).
  • Plus a Popsugar branded mini-tote which would be useful as a lunch bag or for carrying around some small stuff.

Conclusions: All in all, this is a really nice box. On top of that, I only paid $18 for it which and got approx. $90 worth of stuff. I’m not including the coupon in there, because that’s really not an actual item because you need to spend more money to get anything out of it. I really like most everything, but $35 is a lot for me to spend per month on a box that has appeared (to me) to be really hit-or-miss in the past. In the back of my mind I keep remembering the first terrible box I got and wonder if the next box will be more like that one than this one. I think I’ll just keep my eye out on the next few boxes, and if they seem to have really improved, I will resubscribe for a while.

Goodies.co Box May 2013

Goodies.co is a subscription box company owned and operated by the Walmart corporation, apparently. For $7 a month they send you a box of random assorted snacks. The website states that they’ll send you things that perhaps you wouldn’t normally try out.

First Impressions: Last month’s shipping times were terrible for me. This month they sent the packages out quickly and I got my box within a decent amount of time. I was happy to see that when I opened the box it was actually full of snacks and not just packing paper, like last month.

The box.

The box.

  • Superseedz sea salt flavored shelled pumpkin seeds- I don’t like these in general, so I gave them to my mother because she loves pumpkin seeds. She said they were good.
  • California Olive Ranch olive oil- I like these little packets, and they included two so that there’s definitely enough to try out.

    Olive oil.

    Olive oil.

  • Bronco Bob’s roasted raspberry chipotle sauce- Chipotle is not my favorite flavor in the food world, but this stuff is so good.
  • Numi organic Moroccan mint tea- I like that they included a $1 off coupon with the sample.
  • Beanitos restaurant style, white bean with sea salt- These are apparently like tortilla chips, but made from beans instead of corn.
  • Zico coconut water- I hate coconut water, but I can easily give this away to a friend. It’s a really big sized container, too!
  • Sour Power Straws in both strawberry and four-flavor packs- These are the old movie theater candy you might’ve gotten as a kid. They’re still really good! And sour. So sour.
  • Wholly Guacamole– There is no sample product here, but they included a chip clip and coupon for a free full-sized product.

Conclusion: I really like this box. There’s no theme, which is fine with me because they included so many things. I appreciate that there’s some larger sized items in here and that even the sample sized products are a good size, too.

New Subs and Old

1: I caved and re-subbed to Birchbox. I’ve been seeing loads of good stuff in their boxes lately on some makeup websites, so I’m going to give it another try.  The samples seem bigger and of better quality than when I subscribed with them before. Hopefully I won’t be disappointed again.

2: I am impatiently waiting for my Julibox subscription to arrive. Julibox is a monthly booze subscription! I don’t drink that much, but it seems fun. It’s $40, which is a lot for me to spend on a subscription box, but I decided to try it out. You get what basically amounts to four drinks’ worth of alcohol and mix-ins, plus sometimes little extras like muddlers and stir sticks. The box also comes with recipe cards so you know what to do. The only thing you need to add is fresh fruit or garnishes. The drinks are pretty much a surprise until your box arrives. Julibox emails you before everything ships to let you know what you need to do or get. This month all I need is a lemon, apparently. I guess it winds up being what you’d pay at a nice bar per drink, but you get to try things that perhaps you wouldn’t normally try (and you don’t have to get all dressed up and leave the house.) We’ll see!

3. Still waiting on my Popsugar box. I ordered one when they sent me that 50% off coupon, which was right before the cut-off date for this month’s subscriptions. My box did get sent out, but several days later than other people’s. Plus it’s been lingering somewhere in California for about three days, which is making me worry a little about the condition of the contents.

4: I cancelled my Ipsy subscription after the last bag. The more I looked at it, the more I realized there was not a single thing in the bag that I really liked. There has to be at least one or two useable or interesting items in a subscription box/bag for me to continue subscribing, even if it is only $10 a month. I know subscription boxes are all about trying new things and getting surprises, but Ipsy is so hyped up around the internet (and I unfortunately bought into that hype, which is my fault) that when I got the bag it was just like, “Oh. I see.”

Ulta Gorgeous On the Go (Not a Sub Box)

This post is about a product I purchased outright rather than a subscription box, but I decided it deserved its own post. Plus it is technically is box-shaped! I bought Ulta’s “Ulta Gorgeous On the Go” 61-piece Collection. Yes, it’s one of those big ol’ “cheapie” makeup collections, but it was only $19.99 and I had a decent coupon on top of that. Plus it came with a whole bag of freebie extras (also Ulta brand).

The hideous cover.

The hideous cover.

It has eight palettes of eyeshadows and a blush, plus two dual-ended eyeliners, three lipglosses, three makeup brushes, three eyeshadows applicators, and a little carrying case to put one individual palette and a few other things in. (Also in the hideous snakeskin pattern.)

Here's the takeaway case.

Here’s the takeaway case.

The other side of the big case.

The other side of the big case.

A closeup of some of the shadows.

A closeup of some of the shadows.

All in all, it’s actually not terrible. I tested out some of the shadows and blushes, plus the lipglosses. The shadows vary in quality, as would be expected. Many of the lighter colors hardly show up at all. The darker colors show up much better. Applying the shadows with a nicer brush or even just your fingertip works much better than using the included foam applicators. (Oh, and I will say that I’m super pale, so that might help with the colors looking more pigmented on me.) The blushes, for the most part, are basically the same color with slight variations. Some have glitter/shimmer in them, which I do not like. The lipglosses are OK, but a little bit sticky feeling. The colors are decent, at least. The brushes and applicators I probably won’t use, since I already have decent brushes and I never use those eyeshadow applicators. Is the quality of this case up to the same standards as say Smashbox or Urban Decay? No. However, I’d say it’s good for grabbing a palette of colors and a few other items to stash in your bag if you’re going on a weekend trip and don’t want to bring your good makeup. It’s also good for experimenting with colors and techniques, since you don’t have to shell out a ton of money for some of the stranger shades.

Ipsy Glam Bag May 2013

This is my second Ipsy bag. With Ipsy, for $10 a month you receive a makeup bag with several samples and some full-sized products. Each month has a different theme, which the bag and products are supposed to fit into. This month’s theme was “Spring Fling.”

First impressions: I love the bag itself. It’s cute and bright. It seems like makeup will wipe off easily from the bag, which is good.

ipsymay2

The stuff.

The stuff.

What’s Inside?

  • Yaby concealer refill. Really? Really. It seems more like a sample you’d get at a department store than something you would pay for.
  • Mirabella lipstick in “Pixie”- Yikes, this is bright. It’s relatively sheer, but it’s a very bright mix between coral and hot pink. It’s not a good color for me at all.
    ipsymay3
  • Pacifica Coconut Crushed Pearl Body Bronzing Butter- I don’t use fake tanning products or bronzers because I’m so pale that they just look orange on me. This smells like a mixture of coconut and play-doh.
  • Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss in “Fig”- The texture of this in the bottle looks gross, but it does go on smooth, and it has a nice smell to it. The Fig color is a light mauve color that I am not feeling at all and it is chock full of shimmer dust. I tried it on my hand, waited a while, and washed it off, and the shimmer STILL wouldn’t come off.
  • Zoya nail polish in “Jacqueline”- I’ve never tried Zoya polish before, so I was really excited to hear that it was going to be in this month’s bag. I am a little disappointed because this color is essentially a creamy white. It’s the luck of the draw what color you get, but it’s not something I’d really wear.

Conclusion: This is not my favorite bag ever. I’ll perhaps use the Zoya polish and the actual makeup bag, but the rest of the stuff I guess I’ll give away to friends. After reading all of the spoilers Ipsy puts out and all of the hype on various websites, this was a big disappointment. I guess I’ll try Ipsy next month, which will be my “keep this sub or not” decision month, but now I know not to give into the hype.