Saturday, November 21, 2015

When Your Favorite Company Falls Out of Your Favor, Or Why I'm Done with the POPSUGAR MustHave Box


I've been singing the gospel of the POPSUGAR MustHave Box since 2012, when I discovered it on my friend Suki's blog & decided that it was, well, a must-have. Every month, they send me a box of goodies, from snacks to home decor to fashion to entertainment. I look forward to my monthly box of surprises, an ongoing treat to myself.

In fact, when I moved over the summer, I realized just how many of the items I own came from  MustHave boxes: my Spongelle loofah with the built-in soap, the Judy Blume book I was reading, my favorite coffee mug, my everyday wallet, my Too Faced eyebrow kit, a decent percentage of my scarf & stationery collections... POPSUGAR has turned me on to all kinds of products & brands that I've grown to love, & because of that, I've long been brand-loyal to the box itself.

It's been a fun ride, but I think that love & loyalty has come to an end.

As much as I hate to admit it, the company has been falling out of my good graces for awhile now. Though I still enjoy receiving a monthly box of surprises, I've started to dislike the actual company so much that it doesn't feel worth it anymore. Why?
  • Customer service: Their customer service - only available online - is notoriously slow & frustratingly robotic, the kind of responses that give you the impression that nobody is taking the time to read the words you send them. I've repeatedly had to resend my requests to note that they haven't actually answered my questions. To top it off, they are frequently short, snippy, & bordering on snarky. Not appreciated.
  • Spoilers: They recently started posting spoilers for upcoming boxes on social media - like, multiple spoilers. If you like them on Facebook or Instagram, there's no way to avoid these posts - & even after I unfollowed them, I'd get spoilers in the ads they targeted at me on both platforms! I don't want your effing spoilers. I order a box of surprises for a reason - to be surprised. They could easily make the spoilers opt-in click-throughs, yet they choose to ruin the experience for a large swath of their customers just for the sake of, I assume, good-looking online engagement numbers.
  • Content: Their products used to be the best, all kinds of stuff I'd never find on my own. But lately I feel like they just grab whatever overflow junk they can find & try to pass it off as worthwhile. Example? This month's box included a goddamn bingo set 
  • Price: When I first became a subscriber, this box cost $35 flat. My last box, after shipping & whatever else they've added on, was $43.1. To ship me, in part, a goddamn bingo set.
  • Issue resolution: Countless comments on social media show that items in other boxes have arrived damaged or haven't arrived at all, & the company responds online to encourage customers to contact them by email. That didn't prove helpful to me when, a few months ago, my box was missing one of the main items, a voucher for three months of a free online yoga program. When I contacted the company, they eventually apologized & told me they'd put a replacement in the mail. It never arrived.
And finally, my biggest issue: POPSUGAR MustHave recently changed their referrals program to that, in my view, borders on being hostile to their longtime loyal customers. Upon their site relaunch, they reset all past referrals to zero, nullifying my ongoing efforts to achieve the holy grail of referrals: a few months of free boxes. I was just a couple referrals away &, but now, all my existing referrals have been nullified - they don't count for anything, I get nothing for them, & it's like they never happened at all. What a nice thank-you for telling all my friends!

Their new referral program is whatever - one free box after three referrals (starting from zero, of course), followed by $10 off per next box for every referral thereafter. Yeah, not quite as compelling as multiple free boxes, but I would've been fine with it had they not made all my past referrals disappear.

Today, I cancelled my subscription & sent POPSUGAR an email telling them I'm done with them. I love the boxes themselves, & I know I'll miss receiving them, so maybe I'll be back eventually. For now, though, I need to acknowledge my ongoing frustration with this company & stop giving them my money, my loyalty, & my referrals.

That means I'm on the lookout for a fun new subscription box, preferably one managed by a company that gives a damn about its customers. Any recommendations?
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