I’m sure the question of Loot Crate versus Booty Bin hasn’t actually been keeping anyone up nights, but I get a surprising number of 3 a.m. emails from people wanting to know which geek subscription box will fill the empty void in their lives. After nearly two months of waiting, I finally have an answer.
I wanted to answer this question back in April. Loot Crate was more than happy to take my money in exchange for random boxes of geeky goodness. Booty Bin was not. Loot Crate shipped my first order the same month they took my money. Booty Bin did not. Loot Crate answered all of my email and Twitter questions within 24 hours (often within less than 1 hour). Booty Bin never replied to any emails or tweets. In fact, I had my third Loot Crate and a slew of endearing correspondence from their minions before I received my first Booty Bin. Loot Crate doesn’t just win for customer service, it give the competition an embarrassing public spanking.
But hey, maybe Booty Bin just hates product reviewers with passionate cult followings that overlap perfectly with their highly specific niche.
To be fair, let’s compare what you get in each box.
This month, Loot Crate sent me an amusing t-shirt, a pair of 8-bit sunglasses, two stickers, two pieces of candy, a sheet of removable wall tangrams, and a pen – presumably because Bic gave them the pens for free.
The T-Shirt was a really nice touch. I’m constantly voting for shirts on Tee Fury and making wishlists from the shirt selection at Think Geek. The Deadpool Kool-Aid shirt came from Graphic Lab (which also made the awesome Tardis Prime mashup shirt Loot Crate gave away in their Whovian theme box.) With shipping, the shirt alone was worth $14. I’ve seen similar 8-bit sunglasses at Think Geek for $8. I’ll be generous and say that together, the stickers, 2 small hard candies, and tangrams were worth about $1. The Comikaze coupon code might be useful to some people. At least it fit in thematically. Altogether, I spent $19 for $23 worth of well curated goodies, plus the sheer joy of opening what feels like a geek holiday stocking every single month.
Booty Bin’s box included a graphic novel, two DC Comics Buildables, a Micro Mugg, a small sticker, and an ad.
According to Amazon.com, the Superman vs Zod graphic novel based on the movie is worth $9, the Iron Man Micro Mugg worth $2.25, and the two DC Comics “Buildables” may be worth about 75 cents each (I couldn’t find them for sale individually. It seems these are two pieces from a 6 piece set that sells for around $4.) I couldn’t find anyone selling Vince White signatures on eBay or Amazon, so I can’t put any real value on the signed ad for the new Darklight Studios comic “The Legend of Will Power.” I’ll be generous and give the Avengers taffy and Captain America sticker a combined value of $1 (even though I saw that same taffy when shopping for Dollar Store Drinks.) That adds up to a total value of around $14, for which I spent $29. To their credit, everything does fit well within this month’s “Superhero” theme, but I came away thinking that for $29, I could’ve picked up the first two trades of Brian K. Vaughn’s “Saga” (or darn near any comic that isn’t a cheap movie tie-in) and still had money left over for a complete set of DC Buildables, a whole bag of Avengers Taffy AND an Iron Man Micro Mugg. I bet if I asked nicely my friendly local comic shop owner would even give me a random sticker.
Loot Crate presents itself as a well designed company run by professionals who put some work into making sure your box is worth more than you spent on it. This is the hallmark of any good subscription box. Customers need to think of it as a present. When they open it, their first thought should be, “I never would’ve bought this for myself, but now that it’s mine, I’m so glad I have it.” I feel that way about something in nearly every Loot Crate. (The Vogons will have to pry my Hitchhiker’s Guide towel from my cold, dead, geeky hands.)
Booty Bin, on the other hand, seems like it was put together by bitter people who are convinced you owe them both for the privilege of curating this content and the hassle of shipping it to your house. Instead of something special and rare (like ordering a boatload of t-shirts that were only for sale to the public for one day), they offer a cheap promotional movie tie-in product which I sincerely hope they were given for free alongside a bunch of small stuff they obviously pulled out of larger sets. When the retail value of the box is less than half the actual cost, it feels like a rip-off.
Whichever box you choose, every month you’ll get:
- 1 big present (such as a t-shirt or graphic novel) worth around $10-14
- 2 pieces of candy
- 1-2 stickers
- a themed ad
- a small present of variable value
Between boxes with contents worth more than their retail value, monthly high value promotions for members of their online community, and excellent customer service, Loot Crate is the clear winner. Go play Santa for yourself. You deserve a monthly stocking for being such a good geek.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I neither asked for nor was offered a review box by either Loot Crate or Booty Bin. I paid for both boxes with the intentions of reviewing them fairly then using the contents as prizes here on Kitchen Overlord. The Loot Crate winners have been announced and the Booty Box contents will be included in a Comic Con themed contest beginning June 15th.