I have actually had good experiences with Quarterly, since I have selected curators based on their interests that match mine. I was really looking forward to the Rosario Dawson box this month and I loved it. However, with that said, I won't be subscribing to any more Quarterly boxes. I will discuss why at the end of this post, but first let's look at how great this box is.
For starters, it was so FULL. In fact, the Wil Wheaton box had the least in it of the three I've tried and his cost twice what the ones from Rosario Dawson and Naomi Kyle did. I really wasn't expecting nearly this much to be included.
There was a pretty multi-tone "HOPE" necklace, an amazing soy candle that actually smells like Christmas, and a pair of socks. I won't wear the necklace most likely, but it's very pretty and I could definitely give it to someone. I will definitely use the candle and socks, though.
Probably the least useful items for me were the tea and beaded waistband. I don't drink tea and I don't wear waistbands, but both are giftable. I could also turn the band into a bracelet instead, and that would work. However, the seed bombs are awesome and I love the suggestion of just planting them somewhere on a walk that needs a little life and beauty.
Some of the smaller items included a pack of Pop Rocks, a set of hair and body care products (cruelty-free!), and an amazing Orange Cypress air freshener from Honest. I love what all of these companies stand for and I love that Rosario Dawson makes a point to select socially conscious items.
Finally there was a tea cup/bowl and a pillowcase. I will definitely use both of these and I thought the box was fantastic. I suppose it included more than the others from Wil Wheaton and Naomi Kyle because there was no one big item, but I prefer this honestly.
Okay, so why not continue? Well, I was already back and forth on the Wil Wheaton one, since I was really only doing it on the hope that it was great 80's stuff, but I loved Naomi Kyle's. Then she released the spoilers for her next one and it's all about food. Why? Her entire promotion of the box was that it would be gamer/art items. I don't need more food boxes, especially not for $50. So I decided to cancel and I explained why in my exit survey. I figured I could always sign up again later and I was still planning to keep this box if I liked it (which I did), but then Quarterly contacted me to follow up.
The message wasn't rude by any means, and they were trying to explain the rationale behind changing the themes that had been promoted. However, in the message, it became clear that they really do expect customers to spend $50 or $100 for the name of a midlist celebrity. One of the things I hate most in the world is celebrity culture. It's sickening and I think there's something wrong with people for doing things just because someone they liked on TV is doing them. We have a real problem with that in the US especially, but I figured Wil Wheaton is a big fan of tabletop gaming (despite his love of Big Bang Theory, which is everything I hate about geek culture), Naomi Kyle knows a lot about gaming, and Rosario Dawson has proven to be focused on social good. So I wasn't subscribing for name, but because they represented things I care about. However, to be expected to spend $50 on a mystery food box, especially when I'm a vegetarian and I may not even be able to eat the items, because of someone's name? That's absurd, and I don't think Quarterly and I are in the same place. It's sad because they have something to offer, but few things bug me more than people throwing money away because someone not even really that famous said to.