The futility of subscription "crate" programs

With Father’s Day upon us, many of you are no doubt looking around for the gift you should have planned ahead and bought a month ago. One popular idea seems to be a subscription to one of those “crate” programs. There are a lot of them out there, such as Man Crates, Loot Crate, Gentleman’s Box and more. Some of them seem to be tailored to a specific area of interest (hobbies, fashion, grooming) while others are puzzlingly random. The one thing they have in common is that a box or crate arrives at your house every month full of items which are ostensibly “curated” specifically for you.

Allow me to offer one word of advice if you’re searching around for the perfect gift for that special man in your life, particularly if he’s a bit on the older side. Take a pass on this.

This entire phenomenon has turned into “a thing” on social media and it’s just so full of failure. It’s led to a proliferation of “unboxing videos” where people open their crates and display all the stuff inside. Here’s one example in the form of a five-minute video in which the guy who receives the gift literally spends two minutes of it trying to figure out how to open it.

Here’s the thing about these curated subscription packages. What it comes down to in the end is that it’s a box full of… stuff. And the older you get, the more you realize that we all start accumulating too much stuff in our lives There comes a point where you realize that you’re either going to turn into a hoarder or you’ll have to start getting rid of a bunch of stuff.

And what are the odds that the stuff in these crates and boxes is going to be “perfect for you” as is so often claimed? Sure, there might be one or two items in a given box that you could be excited about, but unless someone knows you personally they don’t know what’s right for you. And since everyone is generally getting the same box each month, they can’t all be a good match.

I saw one box from a while back that was entirely filled with movie memorabilia from a recent blockbuster. It included a t-shirt, action figures, a poster and more. (Some of it Exclusive to the subscription service!) But what if you never even saw the movie and really didn’t have any interest in it? Another one had custom shaving equipment and supplies. How many of you guys over the age of thirty haven’t found your own favorite brands of shaving equipment? Either way, now you’ve got another box full of stuff you just have to get rid of.

We have a unique relationship with all of our stuff. When you pick something out for yourself that’s going to hang on your wall or take up space on your desk or your workbench, you need to give it a lot of thought. You’re going to be looking at it for a very long time. And you really don’t need a fresh box of seemingly random junk from a total stranger showing up every single month for you to deal with.

So if that’s the gift you’ve got in mind, please… spare us. Or at least check with us first before committing to a yearly subscription. Most of us have too much stuff as it is.