Updated: Sep 11, 2019
There is nothing more exciting than receiving a monthly nerd subscription box! Have no idea what I’m talking about? There are monthly nerd subscription companies who will hand select and deliver a smorgasbord of collectibles from all of your favorite nerdoms, making every month feel like Christmas.
I have been a loyal monthly subscriber to one of these said companies, LootCrate, for three years and have been mostly impressed. However, after a few back-to-back disappointing boxes, I started wondering if I had any other options. Turns out, I did!
A quick search on le Google showed me that there were tons of other monthly nerd subscription box companies. I perused a few, but had a difficult time trying to decide which would be the best fit for me. They seemed so different yet similar.
I realized I’m likely not the only person struggling with this decision! So, for my blog posting this month, I decided to try-out one month at each of the nerd subscription box companies, and here are the results:
POP! IN A BOX
Witch King Pop! Vinyl from The Lord of the Rings
Joyce Pop! Vinyl from Stranger Things
The way the Pop! in a Box subscription works is that customers get to choose between a few different themed options: Classic, Marvel®, Disney®, Television, Animation, Movies, Games, Heroes, Sports, Star Wars®, Harry Potter®, Game of Thrones®, Dorbz, or Rock Candy. Phew! But before you select the box of your choice, you can actually go through all of the Funko Pop! Vinyls to "thumbs-up" or "thumbs-down" them, and the company vows to never send you a Vinyl you don't want!
Once I went through hundreds of Pop! Vinyl's (and there were still hundreds more to go...), I decided the category I wanted the most from was Movies, so that was the subscription I went with.
Quality of Goods
I'm not gonna lie, I was crazy-excited about both of these! First of all, Joyce was free! When you sign-up for a monthly subscription, you get to select a free Funko Pop! Vinyl (from a limited few) and it is shipped with your first monthly delivery.
But aside from being spoiled with a freebie of my choosing, The Witch King!? Are you kidding me?! Of course I was elated; he's like the coolest Vinyl on the website! You can't see it in the picture, but he has a FLAMING SWORD!
In addition, though this didn't happen for me, there is a slight chance you could receive some exclusive Vinyls. Some are variations (like Georgie from It missing an arm) while others are plated (I saw a gold-plated Goku).
Some boxes might vary on pricing, but from what I could tell, opting for one Pop! per month is $10.99. There are other options too by grouping how many Pop!s you want to receive at a discounted rate:
2/mo for $18.99
3/mo for $26.99
6/mo for $49.99
12/mo for $99.00
There really isn't any way to go wrong with this subscription in my opinion. You practically get to hand-select your collection by their thumbs-up/thumbs-down system, it's affordable, and Pop! Vinyls are the most collectible collectibles in the market! On top of everything, I love being spoiled and feeling like I'm valued; throwing in that free Pop! Vinyl at the very start of our relationship had me feeling like the most loyal customer in the world. I would definitely continue this subscription.
THE BAM! BOX (HORROR)
BAM! Box Exclusive "Time to Play" Fan Art Pins by Artist Nick Cocozza
BAM! Box Exclusive "Redrum" Fan Art Collection Art Ptint by Artist Davis Rider
Sleepy Hollow 2nd Seal by Dark Matter Props
BAM! Box Private Signing with Daeg Faerch Who Played " Young Michael Myers" in Rob Zombie's Halloween
One-Of-A-Kind Animation Cels and Sketches from Animation Ink Archive
BAM! offers two boxes: BAM! Pop Culture or BAM! Horror. Now, for those of you who know me, know I’m obsessed with Halloween and anythng horror related (movies, books, fog, etc), so I couldn’t resist opting in for the BAM! Horror box, despite the BAM! Pop Culture box fitting in with the theme of the other subscription boxes better. Especially once I read that each box comes with something hand-signed.
Quality of Goods
I'm not sure if my hopes were just a little too high for this one, but I really wasn't all that excited about my delivery. I guess I like collectibles that are either functional (mugs, t-shirts, etc.) or displayable figurines. This box came with three—count 'em, THREE—poster-ish items, a "seal" that looks like an impractical coaster, and a pin (which, I actually like).
$26.99 + s/h
I wish I would've checked out the BAM! Pop Culture box because I don't feel like this experience can have any weight on the other box. The two boxes are advertised very differently. So, I have no verdict. I personally wouldn't ever re-subscribe to their horror box, but perhaps the experience would be more pleasant choosing their other box.
Maybe I'm just not as much of a die-hard horror fan as I thought—HA! Just kidding. That definitely can't be it.
Lord of the Rings T-Shirt
Voldemort Hot/Cold Mug
Terminator Head Figurine
Batman Classic Vintage Batmobile
Batman Pop! Vinyl
Wiley Coyote T-Shirt
Assassins Creed Notebook
Rick & Morty Beer Glass
Adventure Time Doll
Their process is pretty straight-forward: go to the Zbox website, click subscribe now, and subscribe. There's only one box to choose from, that I'm aware of.
Quality of Goods
You'll notice that I received two of these boxes... this was entirely by accident, and I'll get into that a bit more later, but in a way it was good for this post. Receiving two boxes gave me two experiences to compare. I was less impressed by Box 2 and blown away by Box 1!
It's difficult to tell in the picture, but that Batmobile is awesome! Meanwhile, my Rick & Morty mug arrived broken... And I suppose I could've contacted them but...
I was unimpressed by their customer service. When I went to cancel my subscription, I could find no place online to do so. I finally had to Google it and found out that you have to submit an email to them requesting they cancel the subscription on your behalf. How frustrating! And what an unnecessary step in the process considering so many other companies allow you to cancel of your own free will.
THEN, I received a second box and was immediately confused. I sent that cancellation email like three days after my initial subscription, so I know I cancelled it in time. I emailed them back and they told me they didn't know I really wanted to cancel because I hadn't replied to their response... My first email literally said, "I need you to cancel my subscription and I heard this is how I do it, by emailing you guys. Thanks." Not sure what was unclear about that one... They also wouldn't refund me, despite this being a "mix-up" on their end.
So when I got the broken glass, no I did not have the patience to contact them again.
hg $22.99 monthly or
3mo subscription for $21.99 monthly
6mo subscription for $20.99 monthly
12mo subscription for $19.99 monthly
I think Zbox has some quality items and I could see myself enjoying their subscriptions, but if your company doesn't have outstanding customer service policies, then I won't support your business.
Box 1: Saturday Morning Cartoon
Smurf Card front art by Eric McCarthy Art
Fraggle Rock Mug by @knightmaredaydreams
Powerpuff Girls Candles by @Littlemousebookshelf
She-Ra Enamel Pin by @Ironandinkdesigns
Strawberry Shortcake Necklace by @Elissajdesigns
Pinky and the Brain Notepad by @Beesworkdesgins
Recipe Card and Spoiler Back by @Drawntothepages
Playing Card by @Saraschrokart
Rugrats and Thundercats Stickers & Fruity Pebble Cereal by Enchanted Fandom
Box 2: Witches and Wizards
Spoiler Card front art (Owl) by @kimcarlika
Darker Shade of Magic Bottle by @dreaminabottle
Witches Tea Light Candels y @Littlemonusebookshelf
Sabrina Bookmark by @Jemlincreations
Ursula Key Chain by @Elissajdesigns
Howls Moving Castle Bookmark by @Knightmaresdaydreams
Merlin Woodmark by @Ironandinkdesigns
Recipe Card and Back of Spoiler by @Ironandinkdesigns
Sabrina the Teenage Witch Trading Cards by @Saraschrockart
Once Upon a Time Bag, Harry Potter Shot Glass, Sabrina and Wizard of Oz Stickers, Harry Potter Map, & Luna Lovegood Magnet by Enchanted Fandom
Enchanted Fandom also had a straight-forward subscription format as they only had the one monthly box option. However, when I went back onto their website, I noticed that they appear to sometimes have specials (like a Labyrinth box that was sadly sold-out!).
Quality of Goods
Look! Another box that I received two of, only this time it was on purpose. After receiving the Sunday Morning Cartoons box, I was a little disappointed. After shipping and handling, this box costs close to $50, so when I saw it was mostly stuffed with stickers, artworks, and a bag of Fruit Loops (this pissed me off the most), I was peeved. However, in the box was a card showing the next month's theme: witches & wizards. I thought, maybe the first box was just a dud, so I gave it one more shot.
I was more impressed with box 2, but not oh-my-gosh-this-is-everything-I-ever-dreamed-of impressed. Much like the first box, there were a lot of "pieces of paper" (art, bookmarks, recipe cards). I think I would've been happier with a few awesome items, rather than ten mediocre ones.
I will say though that some of the items are awesome! I love my Fraggle Rock mug, Harry Potter shot glass, and the bookmarks are honestly beautiful (not sure I needed three though...).
I also had a less-than-pleasant interaction with Enchanted Fandom's customer service. After the first box arrived, I received an email asking me to rate my experience. I don't usually participate in these things, but I was feeling helpful and wanted to give them feedback. I assumed it was anonymous so I was brutally honest: I felt like I didn't get my money's worth and thought that they should focus on 2-4 awesome things rather than a bunch of random stuff.
THEY EMAILED ME BACK!! And they were NOT happy... In the email, they provided me with a breakdown of the cost of each item, told me that shipping and handling shouldn't be considered when looking at the overall value of the box, and took the defense about my frustration with receiving a bag of cereal in my box.
Monthly is $37.00 but you can buy previous boxes for $39.99 (plus shipping and handling). For me, the final cost wound up being $47.00...
I love the idea of supporting indie creators and all, but I'm still not convinced this box was a good usage of my $47 ($98)... If they ever changed their model so that you received more useful and enjoyable items, I might give them another shot. But... I don't know. I was a little taken aback by their response to me.
EXCLUSIVE Back to the Future T-Shirt
EXCLUSIVE Sonic and Rings Adult Collectible
EXCLUSIVE Dungeons & Dragons Die Holder
The Simpsons 25th Anniversary Keychain
EXCLUSIVE Galaga Pin
LootCrate is setup much the same way as Pop! in a Box in that there are a variety of themed boxes to choose from, and they are constantly adding new ones. There is their basic LootCrate, LootAnime, LootFright, LootGaming (then there are specific boxes for certain large gaming fandoms), there are LootCrates for film and television (like Deadpool, Marvel, Adult Swim, Rick & Morty, etc.), and specific crates for sci-fi and fantasy (Firefly, Star Trek, Wizarding World, etc.).
The crates I have the most experience with are LootCrate and LootGaming. Each month, the company posts a theme for their crate and some sample fandoms. For example, the LootCrate pictured above had the theme: Playback and the website showcased Sonic, Back to the Future, and Dungeons & Dragons as the fandoms that would be featured.
Every Loot (as far as I know) comes with a T-shirt 3-5 additional collectibles, and a special pin.
Quality of Goods
This was one of the last boxes that I was super pleased with. There was a wide range of goods tha jived with my interests and I found the items inside fun and/or useful. LootCrate knows what they're doing when it comes to quality. When I was a monthly subscriber, I looked forward to receiving their boxes every month. It was the one splurge I allowed myself (we'll get into pricing, hold your horses).
Prices vary greatly by the crate. The basic LootCrate is a monthly price of $19.99, LootGaming is $28.95, while some of their more specialized crates like Firefly are $41.99.
What I learned from this (expensive) experiment was that the grass isn't always much greener. I personally believe that LootCrate is still the best nerd subscription box out there, with the caveat that Funko Pop! is a fun option but doesn't give the same results.
author: The Awakened series