Practically everyone and their sister is subscribed to some form of monthly or quarterly subscription box. Whether it be the popular Fab Fit Fun, Barkbox or even the Detox Box from the Detox Market. Subscription boxes reign supreme in the modern age of online shopping. Why? Because everyone loves feeling like they’re receiving a gift… even when they pay for it.
If you can’t remember what you ordered, that should be a red flag!
Subscription Boxes Clash with Zero Waste Living
I have never received a subscription box, though I have definitely thought about it. The idea of being able to try so many products is alluring. As a former beauty blogger that would make my life so much easier－ Being able to stay on top of the latest and greatest.
I’ve even had eco-subscription boxes reach out to me for review. They promote living a less wasteful, sustainable lifestyle and yet here they are pushing excess consumption.
At their core, subscription boxes are a consumers heaven. There’s no way around that. We pay a set price to have junk mailed to us. Not knowing what it is or whether we will even enjoy it. For the brief thrill of the surprise.
Let’s get down into the nitty-gritty reasons why I am anti-subscription box.
Samples are a Waste
Don’t get me wrong, samples can be fantastic. Especially when it comes to finding the perfect foundation shade. We’ve all benefited from a few samples. But when you buy a subscription box, you’re likely not receiving a full product. You might receive a deluxe sample, which can be more wasteful and less affordable than just buying the whole thing in the first place.
More samples = more waste. Simple as that.
Let’s talk Money
We all love our fur babies and want to give them the best lives possible. Whether it be by spoiling them with a bit of human food at the dinner table or ordering them a subscription to a popular product like Bark Box. At its cheapest (and longest subscription) which is $22 for 12 months, you’re looking to spend $264 (before taxes and shipping in Canada) every year on dog toys and treats.
Let’s say we love Fido and want to give him a new toy each month, as well as a bag of treats. A natural dog bone costs around $5 and a squeaky plush toy (like the ones mailed in the bark box) are around $4 each.
For under $10 a month you could still spoil your pet. Without the added waste and carbon footprint that comes with a subscription box.
Alternative ways to treat Fido
While we’re on the topic of dog toys; let’s talk about ways that we can spoil Fido without the added waste. First, don’t bother buying squeaky toys because any dog that is larger than a football will destroy them in a matter of hours. Plus, there could be negative consequences if they manage to eat the squeak box and stuffing.
Instead opt for treating your pet with some *gasp* human food. Believe it or not, years ago, dog food wasn’t really a thing. I know my Grandmother spoke about how her dogs ate scraps from the dinner table. It’s healthier and more cost effective than buying cheap dog food. Depending on your own diet, that is.
Another option is to buy Fido a bone or a toy like a “Kong” which is durable and won’t be torn to shreds in under two hours.
Subscription boxes don’t save you money
Subscription boxes seem like a good deal because let’s say you pay $30 a month and the subscription boxes are “valued” at $45-60 then “technically” (but not really) you’re getting more than you paid for.
Value is relative. It’s likely that you could buy those products on sale for less if you were really and truly interested in them. And it’s likely that only one product out of the few that you receive in a subscription box is something you will use.
I see you rolling your eyes at my voice of reason…
We don’t often talk about the carbon footprint that our online shopping has. It’s bad. If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, cut back on online shopping and visit brick and mortar stores. I know the big bad world is scary, but so is climate change.
You do have options if you can’t find what you’re looking for in person. Either have the item ordered directly to the store for pick-up. Or see if someone else needs something from the company to carpool your package so to speak.
Cutting back on subscription boxes will lower your personal carbon footprint.
The less accepted opinion: It’s just crap
Have you ever looked around your house to just see crap? Hoards of makeup and skincare samples sitting on your bathroom counter? Perhaps you should take a break from subscription boxes… or know someone who should.
They perpetuate the cycle of consumerism and clutter. I don’t know about you, but when my house is cluttered it directly effects my anxiety and makes me feel disoriented, lazy and drained.
So… is there anything good about subscription boxes?
In my humble opinion, absolutely not. It’s a consumer-driven need for wanting more. It can lead to hoarding, wasting money and definitely creating more unnecessary waste in general. There’s very little advantage to subscription boxes other than fulfilling your need to have more and more and more.
What are your thoughts on subscription boxes?