This year is the first year I really delved into trying out various online stores and subscription boxes. So with the year just about over, I thought I’d go through all the things I tried out and give you my two cents on each them. The stuff I’m talking about range from things like clothes, food and a ton of nerdy merchandise.
So let’s hop to it!
AliExpress – While not a specific kind of store, I tried this online shopping center on a whim. This year I’ve been looking for a ton of anime figures and this site had some I was looking for on the cheap, so I gave it a shot and it went well. Then as I hit the end of summer, I decided to try some of the clothing you can buy as well. Granted, a lot of what I got was cheap and you get what you pay for, but I’ve had a number of items come in that I got way cheaper than I ever should’ve gotten them for and they were great quality and fit perfectly. It may take a little trial and error to get good at figuring out what to buy and who to buy from and what size you are on that particular site, but once you’ve got it all figured out, it’s definitely worth going after. Just expect everything to take over a month to ship to you.
Happy Socks – The end of this year I was looking to get out of the plain old white/gray socks that I’ve been wearing forever, so I went looking for a site that could offer me what I was looking for. Happy Socks was my first choice and it was a passable choice at best. The socks were a little thinner than I was expecting and I tried out their underwear as well and I honestly didn’t like the pair I got, it doesn’t feel as comfortable as the price tag should’ve had it at. I feel I was better off paying $15 for a 5-pack than almost the same price for a single pair.
Insert Coin – Arguably the best video game related gear you can buy, granted it’s pricey but that’s what you pay for. The store’s products are clothes mostly designed to be nerdy references that the average person wouldn’t recognize right away, some stuff looks like clothes you’d find it an Abercrombie & Fitch store, it just happens to have a Destiny reference to it. Again, they’re pricey but if you’re looking for one or two really good items, this is the place to go.
MeUndies – When they advertise the world’s most comfortable underwear, they ain’t lying. Everything I’ve purchase from them has been of the best quality and they are every bit as comfortable as they advertise. They have tons of different types on underwear, along with a pretty decent size range and a ton of designs to choose from. The only gripes I have with them is that they don’t restock older designs, I missed the boat on a couple good ones. Also, a lot of their newest designs (they come out with a new one every month and maybe add a new base colour every couple months) are just awful, other than this month’s design, I haven’t like one since May or June (there’s a Route 66 pair of underwear, it looks absolutely retarded). But with what they still offer that doesn’t look like someone threw a dart at the wall and that was the current month’s design, their stuff is worth every penny you pay for it, they are indeed comfortable as fuck.
AmiAmi – This is where I go for anything anime-related if AliExpress doesn’t have it on the cheap. Their selection is incredible, they even offer pre-owned models that are still in great shape, so if the full price tag is high for you, there’s still options. For stuff coming from Japan, they’re pretty quick and the prices are pretty fair for almost everything.
LootCrate – The original subscription box I tried out, I can’t suggest them enough, the stuff they send out is awesome. While some months were not up my alley as much as others, you definitely get your money’s worth and if you get a box that’s perfectly tailored for you, there’s nothing else like it.
Nerd Block – Like LootCrate, a geeky subscription box that is a good bang for your buck, but this site also offers various other options along with its default box. They have Arcade Block for gamers, Horror Block for…you guessed it. And they also have Jr. Boxes for both boys and girls so what’s in the box is specifically tailored for kids. They’re a really good service, can’t recommend them enough.
ThinkGeek – The stuff is great, don’t get me wrong. But I have a giant gripe with this site now that prevents me from wanting to buy from them again. If you’re in the US then this means nothing to you, but here in Canada, both times I’ve ordered stuff, I’ve gotten a pretty hefty duty fee put on top of them. When you order a shirt and some pillows that total $50 and you pay half that in duty fees, yeah I’m not so keen on buying from them. I bought a $2500 laptop and it came with zero fees, but a couple pillows? Yeah, it makes no sense either to me.
Nature Box – I thought it’d be a great place to try out. Snacks that taste just as good as your average sugary snack, except these ones are 100% vegan and healthy. Well after ordering 2 different sets of stuff, here’s what I can tell you personally. Half of what ordered tasted like shit (and we’re talking fruit and chocolate flavoured stuff) and I had to redo my orders because stuff is constantly out of stock. Are there a couple things I liked? Sure. But when 1 or 2 out of 5 items are the only ones I’d finish the bag off instead of passing them onto someone else (and it’s not like I tried anything I hadn’t ever eaten before), I’m not so set on ordering from them again.
Project Candy Box – A decent candy subscription box that mixes in candy/chocolate that you’ve never heard of before and stuff you may have once had but can’t find anymore. The one boy I ordered was pretty good, albeit getting a pack of Smarties in there was not that thrilling. It’s a decent service that I can guarantee you’ll get some good stuff in there, just nothing that’ll blow your socks off.
Taste Japan! – My favourite food box this year and yes it’s exactly because it’s all crazy Japanese candies. Essentially everything in the box I got was delicious and there was a great variety, hell there was even this really good orange drink that came in the box. It’s a bit pricey admittedly, but considering the really good choices they make to put in this box, it’s worth looking into.
Universal Yums – The concept is fantastic, but the contents can be hit and miss if you’re a little picky, which I am. This box doesn’t try to get the most delicious things from various countries (each month is a specific country’s snacks), rather a couple good ones and then some weird, outlandish ones. That’s all and good, but if I’m throwing some good money at these things, I want at least 75% of it to be delicious, not half and then the other half doesn’t necessarily taste like shit (except those spicy shrimp chips I got in the Japan box), but taste funny/weird.
So that’s what I tried out this year, if any of these seems right up your alley, give it a shot. Worst case scenario, it’s a one-time buy. If the option exists too, try the cheapest version (for subscription boxes) or start off with the cheaper items to test out the store’s quality and shipping system. Don’t go for the big ticket right away if you can help it.