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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Subscription Boxes

The most shamelessly, ridiculously, offensively consumerist thing in the world are the surprise subscription boxes that are so popular right now. In case you live on a different planet, a subscription service sends you clothes, books, coffee, writing supplies, toys, and even organizers and planners of their (not yours, theirs, hence the surprise) choosing once a month. Just in case your consumer fantasy is exhausted and out of ideas what else you can possibly buy. 

I find these subscription boxes to be incredibly attractive, and I’m ashamed of myself.

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3 thoughts on “Subscription Boxes

  1. Interesting. They don’t appeal to me because I don’t like surprises; I want exactly what I want when I want it. But I would have thought that for people who do like them, the appeal is the idea of getting unexpectedly lovely gifts, like children’s expectations of Christmas or birthdays (if your family is actually good at gifts and you don’t think, Oh, great, I’m going to have to act excited about socks). Obviously if you’re subscribing you’re paying for your own presents, but maybe especially if you didn’t get good presents as a child, this is something adults can provide for themselves as compensation. So in my mind, it’s not about “what else can I buy” but “how could I do something nice for my child-self.” Possibly I do live on a different planet! (Actually I live in the fifteenth century, with a very long commute.)

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    • ” So in my mind, it’s not about “what else can I buy” but “how could I do something nice for my child-self.””

      • These are mutually complimentary things, though. Consumerism is predicated on perennial and willing self-infantilization.

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  2. “Just in case your consumer fantasy is exhausted and out of ideas what else you can possibly buy. ”

    They’re a self-inflicted Gruen transfer – rather than going to stores to be disoriented into looking for impulse buys the impulse buys are delivered to the impulse shopper’s door.

    The Gruen transfer is one of those things that should be taught in high school – the only defense is having some idea about what’s going on….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gruen_transfer

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