Subscription Boxes

I haven’t written much about hobbies lately because there really hasn’t been much time to devote to hobbies. That’s probably not one hundred percent true, but that’s how it feels.  It hasn’t stopped me from thinking about my hobbies.

On YouTube, I have seen two things that always struck me as interesting, but not overly applicable to me. The first was a subscription service for Japanese candy.  You pay a fee every month and they send you candy from Japan.  The second was those “lucky bags” in Japan where, depending on the store, you pay a price and get a mystery bag of stuff that is supposed to be worth more than you paid.  This is a once a year deal in Japan, but the idea sounds interesting enough.

Little did I know, this idea has really taken off. There are literally hundreds of mystery box subscriptions in a large number of areas.  There are ones for makeup.  There are ones for health.  There are ones for comic books.  There are ones for young adult books.  There are ones for coffee or beer.  There is even one for bricks–I can’t say Lego because there are a lot of different bricks out there these days.

The price for these boxes seems to start at $20 and climb from there. I have seen ones that were more than $75.  Nonetheless, It would kind of be like Christmas every month.  Some months you’d get the gift from your cool uncle and other months you get the gift from the grumpy family member.  What I mean to say is that some months you would probably be thrilled while other months you might be a tad disappointed.

In some cases, the stuff you would get would probably be things that didn’t sell well, or were over produced. Still, it might be interesting.

Does that mean I am going to subscribe?

So far, the one that I have found to be the most interesting is one that introduces a new hobby to you every month. It seems kind of interesting, but I could imagine that I won’t like every hobby.  I know I love a lot of hobbies….but I know there are ones that are not really interesting.

What I would like to see are subscription boxes in the following areas:

  • Trains.  (Either N scale or HO scale) The subscription service could fill a box with a car or two, a building or two, some scenery stuff, a book, and maybe even some paint, or some 3D printed stuff.  It could also have some stickers, or other railroad material inside.
  • Plastic Models. There are so many plastic models that probably don’t sell that this would be the perfect idea to lighten some inventory loads.  Again, books, paint, accessories, tools, and other goods would all fit in well in this box.
  • mini cars. A service that gives you cars from all over the world.  Sounds awesome to me.
  • Robots. Every month could have accessories and modifications to your previous build.

If anyone subscribes to a hobby based subscription box, I would love to hear from you. I am curious and I want to know more.  Also, any positive or negative feedback about subscription services would be nice.  If I can’t find what I want, I may have to start one up.

After publishing this post

I decided to search if WP to see if there was a topic on his.  I found it under subscription.  I will also look there while waiting for your replies.

A Pointy Dilemma

 
The internet has been a boon to the hobbyist.  We can research things and find things we could never do before.  We can order and receive products without ever leaving the comfort of desk chair.  While I have reflected on this before, it bears repeating and re-examining.  While the hobby industry is benefiting, hobby shops are not.  Hobby shops can’t compete with internet.

In most cases, I tend to side with the hobby store.  I appreciate their knowledge and understand that their costs (actually having a store) are going to be higher than someone on the internet.  That doesn’t stop me from looking and comparing, though.  (As I mentioned before, doing research on a new hobby is almost as exciting as the hobby itself–call it armchair hobbying)  I am mindful of the price difference when I enter the store.  As long as the difference isn’t too great, I most often choose the hobby store.

If you read my last post (If you haven’t go back and read it now.  Read them all now!!–We will call that a desperate plea for readers) you will know that my latest hobby obsession is darts.  I have only played once, and have sunk absolutely no money into it so far.  In fact, the only livelihoods I have supported are the Royal Canadian Legion’s and its employees.  That is if you call drinking a couple of beers at ridiculously low prices support.

I digress (as usual).

I have started looking for darts.  I spent part of yesterday’s snowstorm driving around to all the usual stores seeing what they had.  Alas, what they had really wasn’t much.  In the end, I ended up at a store that had a whole range of darts, dart accessories and dartboards.  It was tucked away in an industrial area.  I probably wouldn’t have found it without the help of Google and Google maps.

I spend a fair bit of time at the store, trying out various darts and talking to the store owner.  He was helpful and knowledgeable and didn’t try to pressure me.  The prices were a little high, but it was a specialty store and they didn’t really have any low end stuff.  After some practice, I settled on a set I planned to buy.  I say planned because I need to wait out the credit card cycle a little.
Being research driven, I came home and searched out these particular darts on the internet, and found them for sale on EBay.  The price with shipping would save me about forty bucks, if I understand the tax laws.  Of course, I might get hit by duty, but how much could it be.  Maybe five dollars?  So I would save only thirty-five.

The dilemma for me is that I appreciate the time the owner spent with me.  I also would like to go back there to buy accessories and whatnot.  I don’t know how many customers they get, but while I was there (a not insignificant amount of time) I was the only customer.  I don’t think he will forget my face, and he might wonder what happened.

If this were some nameless, faceless corporation run out of the mall, I wouldn’t see it as a dilemma.  I would probably have bought them already.  Of course, I probably wouldn’t have spent so much time at the store talking to the person either.

Basically, I am asking for your opinions–or if you want to share your experiences.  I know some of you run businesses, so you must give me your honest take on the situation.