Lootcrate Review 2/2: The Box I Bought Accidentally
Ok, the internet. Welcome back. In real-world-as-I-type-this-time, it’s been two days since I last hunkered down and pounded out the last post on my keyboard. You can find part 1 here if you haven’t checked that out yet.
The long and short of it is that Lootcrate is a company that sells boxes of rando pop culture stuffs through subscriptions of various levels. I was intrigued, I bought one (that I enjoyed), and then I forgot to cancel my account before it auto renewed for the next month. I basically got Columbia Housed into paying for a box that I didn’t particularly want or need. Let’s face it, rarely is pop culture memorabilia anything someone needs, but there’s not even a particular item I’m looking forward to in an “I need that” kind of way. I needed that Ant-Man shirt last month.
I did not need an additional credit card charge, but whatev. Rules are rules and Lootcrate was clear. I’m just dumb sometimes. I vaguely remember seeing in an email the theme for this month is “Mayhem”– which, by the way, why not save that for May, Lootcrate? Are you too good for puns? You’re not. Nobody is. Puns are the best. I wish I had a good pun here. If I did, I would use it. I would never pun-ish my readers by withholding a pun. Anyway, other than the name of the theme, I have no idea what is coming in this month’s box. Other than the three minutes I spent cancelling my subscription so I don’t get Columbia Housed again, I’ve avoided all Lootcrate info in the interest of being surprised.
Before I go too far, I should mention that I’m in the basic Lootcrate box, not one of the specialty ones, because apparently Lootcrate sells seventy million different variations of products each month. Under the “All Crates” option on the website, I counted 17 different options, with specific boxes for video games, anime, marvel, clothes, and a bunch more. I don’t think they’re all monthly affairs, but with 17 options, you’re bound to find something that’ll tickle your fancy.
Also, because this was part of the auto-renew 1 month subscription plan (boxes get cheaper the longer you commit), my initial 20% off code for last month did not carry over and my credit card was charged $26.49 after shipping for this month’s box. Let’s not think of the credit card interest fees this box will accrue until I pay off that $26.49 item. Crippling debt for the win! The big question: is there at least $26.49 worth of value in the box? Let’s find out!
First things first, Gwyneth Paltrow’s head was not in the box, and that was a relief. I’ll have a hard enough time explaining to the Mrs. why I now have a small collection of cartoon based pins, let alone celebrity body parts thanks to a subscription box. So let’s put your minds at ease with what actually was there, including….yep, a kitschy t-shirt! Yay! This shirt is Office Space themed, with the broken printer and T.P.S. reports and baseball bats forming a pirate skull and crossbones. There’s even a red Swing line stapler in there for good measure. The shirt is one of those colors that I’m not sure if it’s blue or green or gray or all of the above–I know it will look fine paired with jeans or khaki shorts, which is what I wear in public almost all of the time I get to pick my own clothes. The shirt is one thing I would definitely consider buying for myself in real life, so we’ll put a value of say $12 for the t-shirt. Although if this were real life, I would wait until the shirt went on clearance and buy it for $7, but I’m not going to cheat Lootcrate like that. It’s a good start. That leaves a minimum of $14.49 of perceived value required from the rest of the box.
Up next, there were three possible variations for the next item, a Justice League Pop Socket. People either received a Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman option. Pop Sockets were all the rage last year; they act as a grip and stand that you paste onto your cell phone case. I’ve actually bought one for myself before when Toys R’ Us was going out of business and had them heavily discounted. And, as luck (or poor glue) would have it, that Pop Socket recently fell off of my phone, so my phone has a socket-sized hole that it needs filled. And as even more luck would have it, my box had the coolest possible option: Batman! Everybody knows that Superman’s not cool, and Wonder Woman is pretty cool, but not as cool as Batman. Plus, my phone case right now is made up of a hard black plastic shell surrounded by a light gray rubber casing: perfect Batman colors. This is yet another thing I would legitimately buy. We’ll say it’s a $10 value, which is what normal Pop Sockets go for. They upcharge the licensed versions to $15, but that’s a rip off. $10 is fair. That would leave just $4.49 in value for the rest of the box.
Next, there is an 80 page Harley Quinn exclusive journal. I don’t recognize the artist on the cover, but the only 2 distinctive Harley Quinn artists I would recognize are Bruce Timm and Terry Dodson. It’s not one of those. It is Harley in her original costume, which is my preferred version of Dr. Quinzel. I’m not sure if the pages are lined or blank, but I’m going to leave this shrink-wrapped and give it away to someone who would appreciate it. We’ll put the value at $3, as this is something I might pick up as a last minute add-on to a birthday gift for a niece, if I was all about providing my nieces with fictional killers as role models, which I’m usually not. It’s not to say it’s a bad item…just not for me or my nieces. That’s ok.
So all Lootcrate has to do at this point is provide $1.49 worth of perceived value with 2 items to go. The smaller of the two is an exclusive pin from Courage the Cowardly Dog. It’s a cool pin, but it’s not my style and I don’t particularly care for Courage, either. If it were PowerPuff Girls or Johnny Bravo, two Cartoon Network franchise brethren, I would be way more excited. We’ll value the pin at $.50, because I’m sure some folks were excited to get it, just not me.
So we’re down to the last item in the box. Is it worth more than $1? For sure. Would I spend $1 on it? No, I would not. This is one of the perils of the blind box methodology. What we have here is a really interesting item: an exclusive Rick and Morty “Morty Monster Mayhem” figure. It looks great, but I haven’t had cable TV in ten years. I don’t watch Rick and Morty. Andy’s made me watch an episode or two over the years, and they’re fun. I liked Dan Harmon’s Community seasons quite a bit, and I’m sure I would like the show if I started watching it on Netflix or Amazon Prime or whatever, but it’s not on Prime or Netflix. I have no emotional connection to the show. The same was true with the Adventure time stuff from the last box. It’s cool, but it’s also something I have very little attachment to.
The monster portion of the statue looks pretty cool. Maybe I would buy that for a dollar and just toss the leftover Morty. It’s ok, there are tons of Mortys. I saw ‘em in that one episode Andy made Stew and me watch with the multiple universes made up of all Ricks and Mortys. The statue I could see being worth anywhere from $15-20 because it is cool–just not cool for me. My buddy James knows a used game store he goes to again and again where he’ll sometimes trade in his excess Lootcrate stuff for store credit. Maybe I’ll look into that with this statue and the Courage pin. Everything else, I’m fairly satisfied with.
I spent $26.49 of my own money, and based on my guestimations received $22 worth of stuff I will definitely keep and use (the Office Space T-shirt and Batman Pop Socket). I also picked up a $3 item to add into someone else’s present down the road, and we’ll say $16 worth of stuff to send away so it can find a home with someone who will appreciate it. So that’s $41 worth of perceived value. Heck I would even consider throwing in extra for the box. The box is covered in designs meant to mess with your eyes. It’s neat. I shan’t be tossing this box out any time soon. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but I’ll figure something out.
As far as my Lootcrate experience goes, I would say overall it’s been positive. I’m much more satisfied with my 2 Lootcrates filled with random stuff (and t-shirts) than I was with my Spider-man specific Funko box (which had a hat instead). I am changing my mind about me being in the target demographic. I’m betting I’m probably 5 years older than what they’re shooting for. They’re probably looking for folks that don’t remember Columbia House sending them an overpriced cd they didn’t want after their toogoodtobetrue introductory offer. I’m probably aging out of the demographic that spends cash sight unseen on rando boxes. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop entirely. It just might take another year or two and some advanced knowledge of a “gottahaveit” item. I mean, the boxes are fun. Even when I knew for sure one of the items, the mystery of the others has a value unto itself as well. Then the box arrives, and I think, I never knew I wanted a refrigerator magnet set of the 80’s cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—but I’m glad I have it. I also think these would make really great gifts if you have a pop culture fan in your life and you can’t decide what to get them. Get ‘em a box of random crap! Even you won’t know what’s inside, but it’s all harmless enough.
To wrap up the Lootcrate experience, the first box (the one I wanted) is definitely the one I enjoyed more. 2 shirts, turtle stuff, and a Bill and Ted picture frame—Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a criminally underrated 80’s masterpiece in my opinion—that box had a lot that I specifically got excited about. Even the stuff I wasn’t jazzed about like the Adventure Time things were neat. That box gets an A.
The second box was fighting an uphill battle from the word go. I didn’t really want it, but I had no one else to blame but myself for accidentally buying it. There were good items in the box: I’m a fan of the shirt, and the Pop Socket magically fit a need I had in the perfect colors at the perfect time. The stuff I didn’t care for outweighed the positives this time around. The Harley journal, the Courage pin, and the Rick and Morty figure were all decent items for the people who would want them. I’m just not one of those people. I don’t know what to do with them now. I give that box a B-. It was fun to open, just not as fun afterwards. That box sure does look cool.
Overall, my Lootcrate experience is one that I simultaneously recommend (buy the box if it’s got something you really want; that time worked out for me) and do not recommend (I wouldn’t buy all the boxes. It doesn’t take long to feel like you’re really wasting money.) I did feel there was more value to the Lootcrate boxes than the straight up Funko Marvel box I ordered a few years ago.
I would consider buying a box as a present for a friend that’s a pop culture fan. I’m traditionally a bad gift giver though, so take that with a grain of salt. There’s a chance the box will be equally bad as the other present I would have chosen, but there’s also the chance that the box has that extra-cool something you never could have expected. At a minimum of double the value you paid for the box, it’s worth the risk.
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