Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My Geeky Goodies Review: April 2015

Geek subscription boxes can be tough, because these days, everyone seems to want to be part of geek culture. It's ironic, since most of us who grew up geeky were tortured about it for years, only for it now to be the thing to do. So there are a variety of boxes and they all tend to be similar, but there's something really special about My Geeky Goodies. (I would say this goes for Geek Fuel, too). Take out things like Custom Fan Box, which is customized and therefore going to appeal to you since it's based on your interests and not random themes, and Collectible Geek, which is a more expensive collectible box, and you're left with several mystery geek boxes in the $15-$30 range each month. How do you stand out then? I think it's easy for My Geeky Goodies, because they advertise as a box FOR geeks BY geeks - and they mean it. 

A lot of people love Loot Crate and that's fine, and from a casual observer's standpoint, there may not be much of a difference between something like that and My Geeky Goodies. In April, both boxes included a shirt, a value item in the $10 range, and some filler. But for me, as a hardcore nerd and gamer, there is a dramatic difference - and it comes down to something very simple: curation. 

I've had a hard time explaining this, but I am going to do it this way. My parents and in-laws don't really know or care much about my interests. I don't mean that in a bad way, but we're all people living our own lives and I don't really know much about theirs, either. When the holidays come, unless someone asks for something specific, there's a lot of generic gift giving happening. Beyond gift cards (the savior for when you have no idea what to buy), we tend to shop on a superficial level. My dad likes to garden and my mom likes taking baths. That's kind of shallow, but I know I can pick up some gardening supplies and bath products and they'll probably like them. I can't, however, select specific seeds. My mom collects these weird wooden figure things and birdhouses or something, but I couldn't tell you which kind or which ones she has. And it's the same for us. They know I play video games. They know I love Harry Potter and Doctor Who and Game of Thrones. If you asked my parents to name a house in either Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, they wouldn't have a clue. (My dad could tell you about Tom Baker, since he got me into Doctor Who as a child, but he didn't even know it was back on.)

How does this relate to geek subscription boxes? Well, it relates a lot, actually. A set of Game of Thrones magnets or a Harry Potter luggage tag is something my parents would get me for Christmas. It's fine, but they don't have a clue what the different magnets mean or what 9 3/4 is. Last month, Geek Fuel sent a dragon glass arrowhead. My parents would NOT buy this, because it means nothing to them. It means a great deal to me, though, as a fan. THIS is the best way to explain the difference in curation. I feel like the people sourcing items for My Geeky Goodies and Geek Fuel get it; the people sourcing for Loot Crate are not appealing to fans, as much as they're appealing to generic concepts and franchises. And really, superficial enjoyment of popular franchises is, for me at least, the absolute antithesis of geekdom. Again, it's a slight variation, but little bothers me more than corporate greed. 

So, going along with this, the April My Geeky Goodies box included some filler items, two of which I love and one I'm not sure what to do with. One is a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. This demonstrates what I mean about curation. It's a filler item and probably has less value than a luggage tag (although I would never pay more than a few dollars for either), but it's more reflective of the inner circle of fandom. You don't have to be a die-hard Harry Potter fan to know what these are, but you have to have seen the movies at least. 

Also included was a Garbage Pail Kids pin. First of all, I love Garbage Pail Kids and now I want to go through our collection of original cards. Secondly, My Geeky Goodies digs into the heart of fandoms (previously they included a DVD set of He-Man) and I love that. Finally, this is a legitimate pin - copyright Topps 1986. For many people, value comes from what they can sell and trade, but for me, at $25 a month, I just want to like what is in the box. I'm not going to bother with selling the items, but I will definitely put this pin out on a shelf because it's reflective of me and what I consider geeky.

The last filler item was a handicorn and I admit I have no idea what to do with this! 

For the shirt, it's a chestburster Kool-Aid man. This is hilarious. That's it - it's just hilarious (maybe the reason I love My Geeky Goodies is based on age, too, because it seems like they're more in my wheelhouse and I grew up in the 80s and 90s with all this stuff, so I like it more than a lot of the kiddish, contemporary stuff you see in some of the other boxes).

For two months now, My Geeky Goodies has included a shirt AND POP, which is awesome. They advertise that you will get at least one, but that's been a big draw for me. I love the POPs and I love that the ones I've gotten from My Geeky Goodies are unique. Cthulhu last month and now Ash. These aren't obscure by any means, but they're also figures people are less likely to have (rather than sending, say, Tyrion). That makes me even happier. And Bruce Campbell makes a fantastic POP. :)

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