Stars Hollow Monthly is done through Lit-Cube.
The cost is $34.90 a month (including shipping).
You get three to five Stars Hollow – aka Gilmore Girls – themed items a month.
I had just restarted my subscription when they announced that they would be using a fulfillment company again. There have been attempts with using a fulfillment company in the past, but those attempts have always resulted in issues, and typically ending in my cancellation of my subscription. I decided to wait to see what would happen, instead of just going off of past experience and cancelling straight away. The boxes were late shipping out. Very late. The owner went on vacation out of the country, and still the boxes were late going out. When they finally did go out, on May 31st, several weeks after when they were supposed to….subscribers were notified that in addition to being late, there would be no tracking provided.
The box showed up on June 6th. They usually end up here around the 18th of the month, almost 3.5 weeks later.
On to the box!
The box is not the standard box. I do not know if this is because the items this time around were oversized (which they are), if the fulfillment company never got the right boxes (which is a possibility as the fulfillment company was left on their own while the company owner went on vacation), or if there was some other reason behind this. Technically the box did what it was supposed to and protected the items inside, but it was very, very beat up when it got here.
Yes, I take issue to the almost month late delay. Yes, I take issue to the lack of tracking, but in relation to the items, here’s my first issue – I had no bloody clue who the box was coming from. If they were not going to use the company logo on the box, why wouldn’t an email have been sent out notifying that it would state it was shipping from Kable Packaging? All I could think was “who the heck is this – I didn’t order anything from Ohio!” This was immediately following a letter that I had received the day before from GameStop stating that their servers were compromised several months ago, and there was a chance that all of my information was stolen. As you can imagine, this lack of communication regarding what to expect from the company was very disappointing, very frustrating, and, prior to opening the box, some cause for concern.
Here’s a shot of the contents upon opening the box. As you can see, the fulfillment company packed for economy, not presentation. There’s enough bubble wrap to choke a horse.
The first item in the box was the “free” magnet that is now being included each month. It’s a copy of an art print they did when the box first started, from roughly a year ago. Unlike last month’s magnet, this one doesn’t hold more than one sheet of paper.
The info card, as mentioned in previous reviews, is in the shape of a take home menu for Luke’s Diner. It includes fake advertisements for places in Star’s Hollow, information on the other subscription boxes being run by the company, and a list of the items and their estimated retail value.
Of note: The Scent of the Month Club subscription box being run by this company is now cancelled.
That being said, the main focus for this image was the list of contents and their company estimated retail values. A 4 pack of place mats, listed at $19.99, 2 dinner plates and 2 dessert plates listed at $29.99 and 2 mason jar glasses listed at $19.99. Whooo-eee are those some inflated prices! (Mason jars are $3.00 each, transfer appliques are $2 bucks…) But we will come back to that.
The “dessert plates” were next in the box. These are two plastic plates, about the same quality as you can get at the dollar store. They are not microwave safe, but they are machine washable. And they were filthy. You can’t see it in any of the pictures, unfortunately, but they felt as though they had a layer of sand coating them. Gritty. It took two rounds of hand washing for me to get it gone. And there are two. But we will come back to that too…
Next up were the two “dinner plates.” They too are plastic, dollar store quality, machine washable, non-microwave safe. They were also gritty, dirty, and took two washes by hand to get everything off. Again – just two plates. We will come back to this…
I took a shot to show them side by side.
Next up were the mason jar glasses. Yes, these are plain mason jars, with sticker appliques on them. I feel like I should point out that these were actually clean, but given the state of the plates, I washed them twice anyway, just to be sure. Whatever was on the plates, I definitely did not want to ingest! Again….just two… yes, this matters, and we are coming up to why.
And the final item in the box – the place mats. A four pack of place mats. (Yes this is important). These are slightly better than dollar store quality – about what you can get at Wal-Mart, but not quite Target level. They are pretty. They do a great job as place mats.
A shot of everything in the box:
A shot of what one of the place mats looks like unrolled.
And a shot of what the items look like on the place mat.
Now – one of the biggest complaints about the LitCube box in January was that there was only one pillow case. This means no matching. Very frustrating. So, the owner made it an express point to indicate that since most people set a four person table, four place mats would be included. This was great news for many people, myself included. The theme was “Luke’s table.” Naturally, if you’re doing a four place setting, with four place mats….why would you only include two plates, two glasses, and two dessert plates? Two for me, none for you? How do you honestly explain that? This means these automatically go from being a potentially cool and useful item to something that will get stuck in the back of the cabinet, maybe occasionally being used for snacks, until the next round of cabinet clean out occurs and they just get donated. As someone with multiple kids, the owner should know better. She sets a six person table. Kids – if its not the same, its an argument. There is no way that I’m going to set a table with this. I will use the place mats, but this, particularly after making such a huge deal about how there would be four place mats to prevent set issues – doesn’t make any sense at all. If only two place mats were included, that would have been one thing. Okay – a full table setting for two people. Pass it on and keep going, but the fact that it was constantly stressed that there would be four place mats to prevent set issues…. and then not match up the other amounts? What kind of sense does that make? I would rather have had four of each plate and nix the glasses entirely, or four glasses and no plates, than two of each. This, combined with the creepy return address, combined with the late, late, late state of the box, combined with the fact that they screwed up my Lit-Cube and SHM the previous month? And I still haven’t received notification of a replacement shirt in the correct size, even though I was told that they were sending one on May 24th? With no updates when asking about the status? No. I cancelled the subscriptions. Too many issues = I’m done. Yes, I understand people need to take vacations, but when you’re running a business, you make sure that business is covered, and it wasn’t. When you’re changing what you’re doing, such as switching to a fulfillment company, you make sure that process goes right. This just isn’t worth it for me any longer, not to mention the fact that this is one instance where the items in the box don’t match up to their listed values, nor do they come close to equaling the actual cost of the box. This was just an all around huge disappointment. So many things could have been done better, and they just weren’t.
The UtopiaCon box is supposed to ship around the 18th. It’d be nice if it gets here before the con, but I don’t have high hopes at this point. That’s a one time box that I ordered two months ago when I decided that UtopiaCon would be my first con. That will be the last review coming in on boxes from this company.