Why I Stopped Getting LootCrate and NerdBlock

I know some of my fellow bloggers get monthly subscription boxes and say how awesome they are (that Marvel one was looking great, especially as someone who’s a fan of the Hulk Buster), but I’m here to tell you why I decided to quit these services.

My first NerdBlock was a year ago now. I signed up for it as I was getting settled into my new place in New Jersey, and I wanted to see what the service was all about as it supposedly rivaled LootCrate. A few months later, after not being horribly impressed, I decided to get a LootCrate to compare the two.

After getting them on and off, I finally decided to cancel them both, and I’m not planning on going back. Here’s why.

==For Those Not Familiar. . .==

If you don’t know, these are just two services that send you a box of goodies each month for a modest fee (somewhere in the $20~ish range), often claiming that there is an $X value in each box. One even goes so far as to claim it’s a monthly Comic-Con in a box.

As a nerd, this sounds very appealing, especially when they offer items from franchises like Star Wars, Firefly, Marvel, Power Rangers, Mega Man, and more!

Most of the recent UNITE crate. TF2 pins, a puzzle, a comic, Marvel Ice Cube Molds and shoelaces, a Mad mini-magazine, and a Power Rangers shirt. Care to guess what I'm using?
Most of the recent UNITE crate. TF2 pins, a puzzle, a comic, Marvel Ice Cube Molds and shoelaces, a Mad mini-magazine, Avengers decal, and a Power Rangers shirt.
Care to guess what I’m using?

==What You Get==

Normally, each month has a Theme. Some of the themes for my LootCrates were Galactic, Fight, Unite, Fantasy and Horror. The items you receive will be based on that theme.

The Fight Theme!
The Fight Theme!

For example, in the FIGHT theme, you get an Assassin’s Creed coin, a Pirates vs Ninja shirt, a Mega Man display helmet, a Halo Megablocks figure, a code for Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition (for Steam) and a Ryu headband.

This was, honestly, one of the better crates, as it didn’t feel like there were many random/useless inserts to chew up space, and the game alone was worth the $20 spent on the crate and shipping.

LootCrate also likes giving out codes, which can be discounts (I was able to get a really good deal on a pair of Gunnars thanks to them), full games, or items in a game (like getting a ship in the new Firefly RPG or a skin on Smite).

==Why I Quit==

There’s a few reasons for this. One part is the need and desire to just unclutter; collecting random things for nearly thirty years tends to reduce space, and living in a small apartment with my wife and large cat makes it difficult to put items on display, so I have to be VERY selective.

The Horror Crate (sans shirt and book, which found new homes). Not a Walking Dead fan, so that is NOT going on what little space I have available!
The Horror Crate (sans shirt and book, which found new homes). Not a Walking Dead fan, so that is NOT going on what little space I have available!

Another part is simply cost. Yes, some months this is a great value, but for the most part, it’s a waste for me. The Horror Crate, for example, had a bunch of stuff from The Walking Dead, very little of which would serve a purpose. They threw in temporary tattoos and a piece of candy (really?), which makes me feel like they just randomly tossed things in to take up space.

It's kinda like Christmas when you parents are just adding items to make sure everyone is even.
It’s kinda like Christmas when you parents are just adding items to make sure everyone is even.

The Fantasy Crate (above) had some useful stuff, like a D&D Bowtie and a Game of Thrones USB Drive (not a GoT fan, but at least it’s practical!), but they threw in an inflatable crown. Seriously. A crown you just blow up. They tried to make it a gimmick for a contest, but it just felt like they were just throwing something extra in.

While $20 doesn’t sound like much for some, for me, that’s half of the cost of one of the tools I need for blacksmithing, or enough steel to make six knives. In five months, I can use that same money to purchase a toroku hammer (which is a really awesome tool for what I make). A year’s Loot Crate is half of the cost of my forge, or at least the full cost of an insanely expensive angle grinder.

For me, my hobby that could net me a profit is a bit more important than getting a shirt with random things I’ll just be giving away every month.

Like this one!
Like this one! The Rewind crate had a Voltron shirt. That and the novel are the only things being kept by this gamer!

In my case, so much of the items I get are just given away. Maybe if I liked some more of the series that are mentioned, I’d get a kick out of these. . .

==Verdict==

Honestly, if you have money to burn, want the chance at exclusive things, have the space to display them, and are following a number of more “recent” fandoms, sure, you’ll probably get your money’s worth. For a man who had other hobbies and follows a number of older fandoms, this isn’t worth it.

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