Reviews,  Stuff I Like

Subscription Box Review: The Handy Box – The not so great review of a not so great box.

This is a really awkward review for me because, well, I don’t have a box to review. Now to be fair, The Handy Box  people did not know that I was going to be writing a review of their box or the way they handle their boxes, so that needs to be said up front. However, I also don’t think I should be required to tell them that I’m going to write a review in order to get good service. I believe that every customer, whether they’re writing a review or not, is capable of sharing their story and should be treated with the utmost in respect and customer service.

However, I signed up for their box about a month before my husband’s birthday. (July 14th to be exact.) I figured that it would mean I’d get something in the mail prior to his birthday, but I honestly didn’t understand a lot of the ins and outs of subscription boxes when I signed up. So when a few weeks went by and I got nothing (no emails or communications and no box) I started getting concerned. I decided to go back and look up when I should expect the first….something from them.

I found out while I was reading (and yes, this is my own fault for not thoroughly reading through the site top to bottom before I subscribed. I made an assumption and it bit me!) that I’d missed the cycle on the July box by four days. Which means that I’d be signed up for the August box. No big deal! I can do August. Except that the cycle for the box takes a couple of weeks from the time that it ends. So, for example, July 10th was the cut off date for the Handy Box orders, but the Handy Box itself won’t ship until the very last week of July. So you should expect your first Handy Box around July 30th time frame. Which means that MY Handy Box that I ordered won’t ship or arrive til the end of August/beginning of September time frame. That’s sort of a problem for me. That’s six weeks from my order being placed before I see anything at all.

Now listen, to be fair, I could handle that. To me, it’s a speedbump in the subscription service and I’m learning how it goes. There will be mistakes.  My own error of reading means I have to wait a bit longer. However, I haven’t gotten any communication at all from The Handy Box either. And that’s a bigger problem for me. (Note my earlier review of Bespoke Post. They managed to communicate to me regularly, let me know when things would be shipping – and even gave me the option of adding an older box or another box into the mix to tide me over until my actual regular box shipped. That’s exemplary service if you ask me.)  I mean I got an email thanking me for my subscription and signing up. But everything went black hole dark from that point on.   Nothing. So that doesn’t sit well with me. Added to the fact that my box isn’t going to ship for SIX FULL WEEKS after I signed up,and now I’m…well…nonplussed with the company at best. But wait – there’s more!

Now I did send an email to them checking on my box. That was 7/28. I wanted to double check and see if my calculations were correct and that it would be close to September before I actually got anything. I also told them if that was the case, please cancel my susbscription. After all, no boxes have been shipped yet and I’m not really jazzed about continuing on with the service. (I’d signed up for a multi-box deal, so it wasn’t a small price tag either.) As of today, I’ve gotten nothing. If I’m reading their website correctly, I CAN’T cancel my subscription – even if I haven’t gotten a box yet. They won’t let me. They’ll cancel AFTER my subscription period ends.  Again – my own error in not reading all the fine print and I get that. However,  since sending that email, I’ve sent two more emails (which opens service ‘tickets’ on the site), gone through the form on their site to contact them, hit them up on Facebook and Twitter and gotten NOTHING. Not a thing. And quite frankly, now I’m just angry.  

Honestly, I hate going to social media to solve a problem. I’ve been on the receiving end of people doing that to companies I work for and I really, sincerely hate it.  I’d rather deal with it through proper channels than air my discontent publicly and become that loud, squeaky, wheel. But this time, the proper channels have afforded me nothing.  So we’ll see if social media or even this blog post help the situation.

I would have been inclined (and even excited) to stay with the company with just a few small changes to the way this happened. Lesson for the company: simple email communication on a regular basis will let a customer know they are still important to you. Even if six weeks is going to happen between their order and their box. Answering their emails takes 2 minutes and it can keep a customer happy. Ignoring a customer completely or believing their emails/questions aren’t important enough to take priority in your day can backfire.

And my lesson here? Make sure you read all the fine print. You could sign up and it could be months before you get a box.

Final thought:  a great idea is just that. The Handy Box is a fabulous idea. But at this point, the execution of the idea hasn’t been exemplary in my experience.  Good communication, building excitement, and keeping it in people’s minds is NOT ‘extra stuff’ it’s vital stuff to maintaining happy customers.

Handy Box team: If you need marketing or social media management, I’m happy to help. It could totally change the way your company runs with regard to your customers – in a GOOD way. But first you’ll have to actually answer my emails.

*Note: I’m reviewing these boxes purely from a subscription standpoint. I PAID for these subscriptions and the companies have no idea that I’m reviewing for them. However, if you know of a box I should try or if you are a company that would like a review of your process/box, you can email me at and I’m happy to see what we can make work!