FLAPJACKS: So should I sign up for Nerd Block or Loot Crate?
MGK: Is there a third option that involves not spending your money on either of those things?
FLAPJACKS: Look, I am a still-relatively-young man with no dependents. If I don’t spend my money on meaningless, superfluous crap, what am I going to do with it? Invest it into a savings account of some kind?
MGK: I know you’re being sarcastic, but the fact that I want to say “yes” there makes me feel old now.
FLAPJACKS: Exactly so. You are an old nerd and you forget the days when you spent money on stupid crap. Or, alternately, alcohol.
MGK: Alcohol dissolves away after killing only a few brain cells. Nerd crap clutters up your room and eventually your storage unit forever. Most of it isn’t even biodegradable. And yes, I spent money on stupid crap, but at least I was purposefully spending money on specific stupid crap that I wanted, rather than, for example, gambling that stuff I want is also the stuff that a third-party distributor was able to buy at reduced prices because not enough nerds bought it at full price.
FLAPJACKS: I have to admit, that gamble does not seem like a smart gamble, seeing as how people generally buy things they want to own if they can afford it.
MGK: Exactly. What are the odds that the one gianthead POP! figure that I might actually want is the one in the box? What are the odds that the black nerd-themed tee-shirt in the box is a shirt I want?
FLAPJACKS: Nerds do love black tee-shirts, though, so for the target audience the shirt is –
MGK: It’s a tee-shirt! THEY ARE LITERALLY GIVEN AWAY FOR FREE ALL THE TIME.
FLAPJACKS: But even so, any tee-shirt has some value. And the various things within the box are going to have a higher collected retail price than the price of the shipping box.
MGK: How many Loot Crate or Nerd Block unboxing videos have you watched?
FLAPJACKS: Literally none.
MGK: I have watched many of them, mostly out of morbid fascination, and I can tell you that every single one of these unboxing videos is the same. You get two or three “well… that’s okay” reactions because nobody wants to call out Dork Box for being bullshit, one or two “all right, that’s cool I guess” reactions when it’s something they sort of think is neat but didn’t really care to own, and about one time in three you see somebody actually get really, genuinely excited about something in their Geek Pak, which is the Happy Coincidence result.
FLAPJACKS: I have noticed that usually, the items that excited people are books or comics, because almost everybody can find value in a book or a comic. Because you can read those, as opposed to just having it sit on your shelf.
MGK: I thought you just said you have watched literally no unboxing videos.
FLAPJACKS: I might have lied. But really, I think you’re missing the point of the Spaz Luggage. You’re reducing it to a faux-tribal thing –
MGK: It is a faux-tribal thing. It’s entirely about delivering the idea of “nerd culture,” which is a stupid idea that exists only because cynical manufacturers of crap which eventually goes into Stash Containers can make money off people by suggesting that they’re a specific subculture because some of them like the same TV shows.
FLAPJACKS: Maybe, but that’s not the real selling point. At least, I don’t think it’s the primary attraction of buying into this.
MGK: Do go on.
FLAPJACKS: People are spending the money so they can recapture the feeling of being a little kid at Christmas. When you were a little kid at Christmas, you didn’t know what you were getting for presents. You just got things –
MGK: Assuming you weren’t poor.
FLAPJACKS: Yes yes you’re a social justice warrior, ANYWAY, they were the best things ever because they were yours and you got to open them and discover what they were. Little kids just like broad swaths of things so if you give a kid a superhero thing, ANY superhero thing, that kid is all “SUPERHEROES YES” and then they jump up and down a bit because they’re happy. As adults, we don’t experience that. We instead know what we’re going to get in advance on our birthdays, if anything. Surprises are rarities. Dweeb Post is selling experience, not crap.
MGK: And they’re also cleverly making you pay for it in advance so that when you receive it, it “feels free.” But it isn’t; it has an opportunity cost, both in terms of the money you spend and also in terms of the superfluous crap you don’t want but inevitably get and the excess packaging you have to throw away. Why does anybody subscribe to this on an ongoing basis? Is the hit of joy when you, on one occasion, get something you really like worth three months of the nerd equivalent of thinking “sweat socks. Thanks, Grandma”?
FLAPJACKS: I dunno. So which one should I sign up for?
MGK: Neither of them, since I know you’re going to use my credit card.