Metatalktail Hour: My Life in Boxes December 11, 2020 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Happy weekend, MetaFilter! As a subscription box addict, this week I'm wondering a) what would be your absolutely ideal subscription box? and/or b) if you were to curate a subscription box of your life, what would I be subscribing to? Interpret broadly. :)

As always, conversation starter, not limiter, so tell us everything that's up with you!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 5:07 PM (87 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

I subscribe to my local library. Whenever I come across a book I want to read, I put it on hold. Once every couple weeks, I go pick them all up.

And! When I'm done, they take them back, too!
posted by aniola at 6:30 PM on December 11, 2020 [24 favorites]

"Whenever I come across a book I want to read, I put it on hold. "

My library does this thing where you send the librarian three titles you recently liked and within 48 hours they send you ten suggestions. And now you can click to add them all to curbside pickup (and/or your e-reader) and just go "Yep, I'll read those ten!" It's pretty good!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:46 PM on December 11, 2020 [34 favorites]

At my library we have an online questionnaire patrons can fill out about their reading likes/dislikes. We then provide them with an annotated list of ten titles, complete with links to our online catalog,so they can simply click to place any of them on hold. One of my favorite parts of my job is putting those lists together! Sometimes a patron will email back telling us they liked a certain book we recommended—so much fun!
posted by bookmammal at 6:58 PM on December 11, 2020 [10 favorites]

My ideal subscription box would have different kinds of soaps - laundry, bar, liquid hand soap, dish soap. It would also contain popcorn and popcorn related snacks in only savory flavors.
posted by janepanic at 7:27 PM on December 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

My library is only going to have 2-3 recommendations for me, but it's something! They'll have them for me within a week!
posted by aniola at 7:27 PM on December 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

total fantasy subscription box:

Once a week I get a box containing a magic button and instructions for what type of clothing and footwear I need to put on. Pushing the button transports me for 2 hours to a random wilderness or countryside location somewhere in the world. When I get back (but not before), I'm shown on a map where I just was.

subscription box that could actually exist:

Once a month I get a box (actually it could just be an envelope or even a URL) containing a set of at least 3 different recipes for the same type of food (e.g brownies, chocolate ice cream, potato salad, carne asada.) Extensive accompanying text explains the differences between the recipes and gives suggestions for additional variations and recipe search terms I can try in the process of figuring out my ideal recipe for this item based on what I like and don't like about each of the recipes I made.
posted by Redstart at 7:35 PM on December 11, 2020 [23 favorites]

A subscription box of different za'atars from various locales would be welcome, from Al Quds (more salt) to Jenin (more thyme) to Damascus (more sumac) etc…
posted by Ahmad Khani at 7:36 PM on December 11, 2020 [14 favorites]

My ideal subscription box would contain $2,000 a month.
posted by bixfrankonis at 7:47 PM on December 11, 2020 [80 favorites]

A subscription box where every month I would get two or three beloved toys from my Childhood. So one month I'd open it and there would be the Blockhead game and a Fisher Price Little People Airport. The next month I'd get an Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle and a LiteBrite. Next month, U-Fly-It and a MAC Commando Challenge Playset, another month I'd get Lego Universal Set #145 and a Kenner Star Wars Stormtrooper action figure.

Shit I only just thought of this concept like thirty seconds ago and already I'm really sad that it doesn't exist.
posted by bondcliff at 7:57 PM on December 11, 2020 [21 favorites]

my library is doing curb side only for 2 weeks. I'm going to gorge on Yellowstone and the Expanse.
So how on the fuck do you writers do it. I mean comma stick to something when it's stalled and brackish. Poems, a few short stories ok but a novelette on a game system that resembles 'the terror with-in' and 'damnation alley'... So, it's flat but that's because the characters resemble the firefly falcon meets Android moon base with 4 unlikelys piecing it together like Scoobi fvcking Doo with svob as a modied agro-bot... needs more crossbow, more fragment in C minor in the back story.

i make and decoupage box's so I want a Chevy truck with a 360° ring mount Mark VIi Blaster with a case of Vienna sausages.
posted by clavdivs at 8:26 PM on December 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

!زعفران ایرانی
posted by clavdivs at 8:29 PM on December 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

A jazz cd, a classical cd, a blues cd, an alt country cd, a random very narrowly-focused history book, a pound of good coffee, a roll of 35 mm velvia and a mail-return envelope for same.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:03 PM on December 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

A very good musician, living or returned-from-the-dead, who plays some music for me and maybe teaches me something! (How to fit them in the return envelope when they‘re done?). I just read that Rev Gary Davis could ‚teach a slug to use silverware‘ so he should be included.

Also, food I remember from Germany. There even exist food-box-type subscriptions I think but idk, none of them looked especially good. Ideally it would be local fresh food, not just boxed junk. Like those pork sausages in a bun the butcher in my hometown used to make. Or the cheese danish type things from the bakery by my elementary school. Even just some milk from a Bavarian small-town dairy ca. 1982.
posted by The Toad at 9:34 PM on December 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

A 1” cube of cheese from anywhere with a card describing its origin and history.
A vegetable I have never eaten with several cooking suggestions.
A bottle of ginger beer from anywhere in the world.
A Trump or associate voodoo doll.
A button that when pressed gives you 12 hours of the opposite season (one time use).
Three curated photos of my children from all the various stages of their lives, for remembering.
A perfectly curated CD of songs for the car.
An age appropriate fantastic book for each child.
A letter from someone in my past, no matter how fleeting, describing our connection and what they remember of that time and what they are doing now.
One roll of wrapping paper.
posted by pixlboi at 9:48 PM on December 11, 2020 [6 favorites]

For a weekly box:

7 of the black t-shirts I wear every day (or at least did when I left the house).
7 pairs of the dark gray socks I wear every day (or at least did when I left the house).
7 pairs of the black unders that I wear every day (or at least did when I left the house).
1 black bra that I wear every day (or at least did when I left the house).
And a return envelope to send last week's stuff back.

My ideal subscription box would contain $2,000
(a week).

Also, this.

But these days? Just a robot that would tiptoe around and keep the house clean, do the laundry, do outside errands and keep me fed. It might have a hugging subroutine but that's on the "impossible dream" list.

And the $2,000/week.
posted by bendy at 10:25 PM on December 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

I have about 500 patterns in my ravelry cart. A dream for me would be to get a printed copy of one or two patterns that (I have stash yarn for) and a knitting tool/ accessory. Brittany cable needle, long magnets to hold knitting charts in place, lovely beaded snag free stitch markers, a box bag to hold a small project, lotion that’s not going to leave my hands sticky or oily, a mug with a Franklin Habit drawing on it, a nail file, a color card with suggestions for color options for a stranded pattern, tiny scissors in a case.
posted by bilabial at 11:37 PM on December 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

I would also LOVE a meal suggestion subscription. I provide a list of the herbs and spices and regular shelf stable items in my kitchen. The service sends me recipes for combinations I may not have considered, and a sample size of 2-5 spices that aren’t in my collection.

I have a copy of The Produce Bible, The Spice Bible, and the moosewood soup and salad book that EmpressCallipygos recommends often, so I could conceivably do most of this myself. But it’s the thinking that I want to outsource.
posted by bilabial at 11:41 PM on December 11, 2020 [7 favorites]

I would love a box with an assortment of art markers, brush markers, technical pens, and glitter gel pens.

To fulfill a guilty pleasure: a virtual box of audio files of melodic metal covers played on a slightly out of tune piano.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 1:56 AM on December 12, 2020 [10 favorites]

A monthly ‘advent’ calendar, so that every single day of the year there would be an exciting little surprise.
posted by The Patron Saint of Spices at 5:33 AM on December 12, 2020 [25 favorites]

My subscription box is just Miscellaneous Things. And it's a shared box. You get it and there are ten random objects, like what you'd find in that weird back corner of a thrift store. Each item would come with a little handwritten card explaining its provenance. You choose one or at most two items that spark joy and replace with things from your own house that would spark joy for someone else, adding your own description card with color commentary on your contributed item. Then you send the box to the next person in line. It's the chain letter of subscription boxes. There are maybe 30 people in the subscription group and the cycle just keeps repeating forever. Shipping costs are astronomical.
posted by phunniemee at 6:22 AM on December 12, 2020 [41 favorites]

phunniemee that's an actual thing where I used to live, minus shipping. It was called The Train.
posted by aniola at 7:45 AM on December 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Er, no. That one was The Mystery Box. Known boxes were The Train. (For example, The Kitchen Train).
posted by aniola at 7:46 AM on December 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

At this point, a box with something fun to do with my kid that doesn’t include anything to add to the pile of plastic.

A box with a simple home project that would help us get this old house back into shape. You’d send the company a video of the house and fill in a survey and they would send you the stuff you need to fix the door knob that keeps falling off or the insulation you need to put in the basement wall, or the caulk for the tub, or a couple gallons of paint/tarps/brushes/rollers for a room that needs new paint, or an asbestos test kit for the popcorn ceiling followed by the materials to deal with the ceiling after you’ve shown it doesn’t have asbestos.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:07 AM on December 12, 2020 [13 favorites]

phunniemee, i’m in!
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 8:07 AM on December 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Just for right now, I'd like very short novels. I love My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite and Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. But novels, not long short stories in a binding. It would be great if they could be even shorter than the ones I've mentioned, without being less good, although that is hard to imagine.
posted by BibiRose at 8:09 AM on December 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

phunniemee, that sounds delightful!
posted by bookmammal at 8:58 AM on December 12, 2020

Phunniemee, that's the best idea ever, and aniola I'm delighted to know that this is a thing that already exists. I would 1000% participate.

If I had to curate a subscription box for myself, it would have:
- a few chocolates or truffles with interesting flavor profiles
- a bottle of not-too-tannic red wine
- a few ounces of a new-to-me tea and/or coffee
- a skein of yarn and maybe a pattern suggestion for it
- bits of fabric and/or paper
- a smallish art/craft object, like something stone or ceramic or metal or maybe sewn or crocheted or knitted or felted, etc.
- a CD or collection of .mp3s of music I haven't heard before so I can own a copy of the songs and not need to pay MegaCorp monthly for continuing access to music I like
- the name of a person or organization that needs $20 Right Now so I can do something about that, with a suggested way to get $ to them immediately
posted by sencha at 9:50 AM on December 12, 2020

A gift card sufficient to pay a handyperson to fix the many janky things around this house*, and contact info for said reputable person. I rent, so the landlord is only going to fix major things, not annoying things.

*The sliding door was put on backwards! The gutters are falling off! There are no window screens at all! The lighting in my bathroom is terrible. And so on.
posted by emjaybee at 10:34 AM on December 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

a pair of fancy panties, a pair of fun socks, some random art supplies (and maybe links to tutorials for such), a cd of music I do not know but that the box magically knows is up my alley and something I need to check out.

you all have wonderful ideas, this is fun!
posted by supermedusa at 10:49 AM on December 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think I've said it here before, but I want a subscription that sends your a different, incredibly specific trade publication every month. I don't need a whole year of Elevator World, Goodliffe's Abracadabra, or the Ice Cream Trade Journal. But, I'd enjoy skimming one issue of each. Historic reprints would be fine. Probably more interesting, actually.
posted by eotvos at 11:20 AM on December 12, 2020 [21 favorites]

My Life in Boxes

When I read that title my mind immediately turned to the substantial percentage of my belongings currently still boxed after my last move to a smaller place, plus all the boxes of stuff I've been meaning to put on Ebay. Alas, that must be left as a tale for another day...

The corollary to that is, I don't need subscription boxes bringing me more stuff every month.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:59 AM on December 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

oh I forgot to add trial sizes of different fancy hair and skin care products, cause that is just sooo fun.
posted by supermedusa at 12:15 PM on December 12, 2020

I'm with Greg_Ace, and I see many subscription boxes that are mostly promotional consumer goods that are just more stuff.

So, a subscription box where I would put some of the mass quantities of my useful but superfluous goods in a pre-addressed, paid, box, and send it to someone who'd like to have it, and I'd get a couple bucks, or maybe some vegetables, charcuterie, fancy condiments or other consumables.

A monthly cook-at-home box of Korean barbecue, dumplings, kimchi, and/or Asian cooking sauces would be swell. I skipped lunch, and am hungry, so any food box. Can it come to my desk right now?

One new pair of panties a month, and a new bra every 6 months. That would work.
posted by theora55 at 1:40 PM on December 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Monthly Armchair Traveler box:

-a well-written novel with a strong sense of place
-snacks and a beverage from that country
-link to a playlist featuring local musicians
-booklet of facts, history, and photos of that country
-a postcard
posted by sugarbomb at 1:47 PM on December 12, 2020 [17 favorites]

I tried to come up with an intelligent answer, but...


Cookies (or "biscuits" if you want to be all fancy and European about it) are my favourite form of baked goods, and the world contains infinite varieties. if someone sent me a (small) box of different cookies each month, I would honestly never get bored.

Maybe the box could include a list of suggested hot drink pairings. That would be nice.

(Yes, I am capable of baking and/or purchasing my own cookies. But I would like to be surprised from time to time.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:04 PM on December 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

It would contain Lindt chocolate. I still haven't figured out how to subscribe to Lind chocolate, so please give me your ideas if you know of a way.
posted by ipsative at 2:10 PM on December 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

I want a subscription that sends your a different, incredibly specific trade publication every month.

Could easily send you a copy of Planet Laundry (I help run a small volunteer laundromat) and I used to get Turkey Country Magazine (thanks to a Women in the Outdoors class I took) but my subscription has lapsed. My sister runs a forensics lab at a cop shop and her magazines are... scary.

My ideal subscription box would arrive flat-packed and empty, maybe 12"x12"x18". You could put ANYTHING in it that would fit and it would have pre-paid shipping and that stuff would magically disappear. In COVID times I tried a couple "get food in boxes" options (Imperfect Foods and Thrive Market) and while the services were okay, not great, I definitely found the extra packaging was a PITA for someone who has to drive her trash to the transfer station to get rid of it, after carrying it down two flights of stairs. Universal Yums was a big hit with my sister last year.

Subscription box of my life? One great book you'd like to read, three postcards pre-stamped to send to family or friends, one very good chocolate bar and a few ounces of primo coffee, one small sticker, one small chunk of incense that smells AMAZING, one small bar of soap that does the same.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:51 PM on December 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

I would like to get a foster puppy one afternoon a month to take for a walk and pet til my hand is tired, on its way to its forever home.
posted by the primroses were over at 3:37 PM on December 12, 2020 [14 favorites]

I wouldn't mind a small gift from Yoko Ono every month letting me know she was thinking about me.
posted by chinesefood at 3:40 PM on December 12, 2020 [10 favorites]

Ooh, boxes! I just got a box from my daughter and granddaughter, which had a lovely handmade thank-you note from my granddaughter for her birthday card, with a stained-glassed sort of heart on the front, and perfect cursive script, saying Thank You and more inside the card. A few face mask packets, and some foot lotion. In past years, I've also gotten fuzzy socks.

I would like:

- Chocolates. Those are always welcome.
- Socks, fancy socks like Smartwool and Darned Tough.
- Gems, a fancy gem for each month. I collect rocks and minerals, and when I was very little, my parents had an encyclopedia that had a colored page with gems on it, and I used to love that.
- Toys, as above, that is inspirational. I used to have those little dollies known as Liddle Kiddles, each one had a different name and scent.
- A random fat puppy to snuggle for an hour, or a little kitten to cuddle.
- A message of the month from a celebrity, just for me.
- Some fancy face products, like Vitamin C serum or Dead Sea Salts scrub.
- A nice paperback book, tailored to my interests.
- A fancy teacup and saucer, with a different tea each month.
- A Butler who would pop up and cook me supper, rub my feet, and serve me wine, then leave silently as I was watching the perfect movie on Netflix.
- A box with the foods from every state, like Buckeyes from Ohio, or whatever state does the thing, I would have it.
- A box with tiny things, like those Red Rose tea figurines, only it could be any tiny thing, and they would be so cute.
- A box with only silver things.
- A box with green things to grow in the Spring.
- A box with inspirational cards to help me through things.
- A box with maple syrup candies and maple syrup recipes.
- A box with love notes from famous figures to their amours.
- A box with dried flowers.
- A box with tiny artworks of famous paintings, complete with little frames.
- A box of famous movie scripts, with director comments in the sidelines.

I get the transfer station stuff. I have to drive up a mile-long dirt road to my transfer station. We got a snow ice thing last week and that road is kind of hairy, tho' it's been plowed and graded. I don't like driving down it, looking at the steep grade on the side, makes me wonder if I should just pay for a pick-up. Our recycle place is just a big old metal building at another location just off the regular road, where I only have to go in and dump the cardboard into a big bin.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:14 PM on December 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

i would like to receive a box every morning at 9am, with a thermos of hot strong sweet coffee and a chocolate croissant and some fruit, with 35 minutes of daily informative and thoughtful required reading (news, essays, poems) printed on newsprint. ideally this would be delivered by an enormous and very friendly saint bernard who is long overdue for a haircut.
posted by mochapickle at 5:38 PM on December 12, 2020 [32 favorites]

Armored case full of exceptionally pure Research Chemicals with accompanying USB sticks full of curated video files with appropriately intriguing visuals and minimalist techno.

The first order would come with an extremely comfortable chair.
posted by aramaic at 5:44 PM on December 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Tool Box
Every month, an assortment of hand tools, accessories, and assorted fasteners and odd bits and bobs that you're always running to the hardware store for: drill bits, socket sets, drywall anchors, pry bars, sawzall blades, grinding discs, assorted eye bolts, squares and levels, etc. etc. The goal is to replicate your grandpa's well stocked shop. Got a hammer this week and already have a hammer? WHO CARES YOU CAN ALWAYS USE ANOTHER HAMMER.
posted by drlith at 7:14 PM on December 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

Oh apparently this already exists. hearteyes emoji
posted by drlith at 7:22 PM on December 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

drill bits, socket sets, drywall anchors, pry bars, sawzall blades, grinding discs, assorted eye bolts, squares and levels, etc. etc.

Don't forget chamfer bits. (which autocorrect tried to parse as either "chamber bits" or "charmer bits", and now I want both of those too)
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:45 PM on December 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

A postcard every month from somewhere I had been when I was a child, from roughly the time I had been there. A Howard Johnson's counter on the Mass Turnpike, with a grilled cheese sandwich and chocolate milk shake, the view through the window in the background of large old boxy cars slowly circling the parking lot. A view from a hotel window overlooking the state highway towards the river flowing through Corning NY, small patches of fog hovering over the water. The shoe section in a Sears store, Brannock devices of various types piled up on one of the vinyl upholstered chairs. A note on the back of each one says that things have changed in the years since but everybody is doing all right.
posted by ardgedee at 7:58 PM on December 12, 2020 [13 favorites]

Garden box: each month some options to plant right now (because "we should grow X!" Is often followed with "oh. We should have planted that a month ago"). And/or a small tool/etc and description of a job that needs doing (ie secateurs when pruning needs doing, or a sachet of microbes for the compost.

Love the stamped postcard idea too!
posted by freethefeet at 8:24 PM on December 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

My ideal subscription box would be like a deal where I don't have to decide what's for dinner or shop, I just like indicate what kind of food I like and the groceries just show up on my doorstep with easy to follow recipes. Except it turns out this box does exist and it's called "Blue Apron" and it's coming now and I love it and I'm so basic I want to limp into a cave and die.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:41 PM on December 12, 2020 [10 favorites]

A monthly subscription box of my life would contain:

A random art supply I bought and never used
A random can or packet of cat food from the huge and varied stockpile of perfectly good foods and treats she has rejected
A random page torn from "The Language of Letting Go"
A randomly-drawn tarot card that is mysteriously somehow always either the Tower or the Devil
Something sweet
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:21 PM on December 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

A tasty dinner. Cooked, and different every day.
If there are any $2000s left, I could be Lady Bountiful with one a week.
posted by Cranberry at 1:02 AM on December 13, 2020

A different, used but working guitar pedal each month. You could pick what types you're interested in: fuzz, overdrive, reverb, etc.
posted by signal at 4:48 AM on December 13, 2020

I love the ginger beer suggestion upthread, as people here seem to have caught on to my Belvoir ginger beer habit and now I can't find it on any shelves.

I'd like an expensive audio gear subscription box, too.
posted by emelenjr at 4:48 AM on December 13, 2020

It occurred to me that I'm already getting one element of this with Netflix - they are how I get most of the films I see for my blog.

But all I get from Netflix is just the DVD in question. So let's build on that - let's say that each time Netflix sends me something, instead of just the DVD, I get a little box with the following:

* The DVD
* A food or snack of some kind that would be appropriate/thematic with the DVD in some way, either the packaged snack or the ingredients to make it
* Some kind of doofy stamp or sticker or something I could stick in a scrapbook
* A flyer/printout of the non-studio filming locations, so I could go visit them someday if I wanted; these would be designed to be collected into a booklet that I could refer to when visiting somewhere ("Oh, I'm going to be in Colorado next week - hey, let's look up what was shot in Colorado and maybe I can check those places out").

So for instance, the last two films I saw were High Society and Throne of Blood. For High Society, maybe I'd get a tiny tin of caviar or pate with some little toasts, a sticker with Louis Armstrong on it, and a list of the mansions in Newport where they filmed; with Throne of Blood, I'd get some packaged mochi with a little matcha, a sticker with the emblem from the Cobweb Palace, and a paragraph about where to find the spot near Mt. Fuji where they constructed the set.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:49 AM on December 13, 2020 [6 favorites]

Tasting wine at home is an expensive proposition for one person, even if you have a coravin.

I'd like boxes of a tasting flight of individual serving-sized samples of good, grower-producer, unusual or natural wines (not this or this own-brand crap), where the option to buy the bottle was there.
posted by lalochezia at 6:32 AM on December 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

An empty box that I put a belonging in and send away to get credited with the $ I’m stubbornly convinced it really oughta be worth. This is for all the stuff and clothes that aren’t quite right for me, or that I don’t really want anymore, but that I don’t want to be bothered with trying to sell, couldn’t get what I’m stubbornly convinced it really oughta be worth if I did try to sell it, but can’t quite bring myself to give away because of what I’m stubbornly convinced it really oughta be worth.
posted by daisyace at 7:18 AM on December 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

phunniemee's comment, along with others here, has me thinking about a card club spin-off, where you send boxes of your unwanted things to a random person, and get a box of random cast-offs in return 🤔

I'd like a recurring monthly handyperson visit, where they would do the little things that add up, like hanging pictures, decorating for holidays, moving around some furniture, installing/removing window AC units, paint touch-ups, re-caulking the shower, etc. Like a half a day of skilled labor once a month.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 8:39 AM on December 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

Maybe it's just me, but the idea of a conventional kind of surprise box just doesn't appeal to me very much. I have entirely too much stuff as it is. I'm somewhat okay at identifying and acquiring stuff I would like already and don't much need it as a service. Can subscription boxes contain immaterial goods? Because I'd like a subscription that contains things like: increased kindness in the world, the total collapse of cruelty, thriving weirdness, and maybe a wisp of hope floating up into the sky at the end after a suitably dramatic pause.
posted by majick at 8:54 AM on December 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

Ooh definitely cosigning daisyace’s “boxes that make things go away.” I wouldn’t really care about getting reimbursed, but a box that takes stuff away and gives it to someone who wants it or makes sure it’s disposed of in the least wasteful way... awesome.
posted by obfuscation at 9:49 AM on December 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

I want a meal subscription that is a bit more open to reconfiguration/has leftovers than Blue Apron/other meal kits.

Imperfect produce was almost there. But I'd like recipe suggestions based on my routine meals included, that way I can either make my go to a OR try something different. Also, I want a bulk pantry, so I don't have to think about keeping that stocked up. Imperfect produce developed a habit of being a day late or delivering at 11 pm every so often, so I dropped it. I can't really blame them, it's 2020. But it made meal planning tricky.
posted by ghost phoneme at 10:07 AM on December 13, 2020

I subscribe to my local library... Once every couple weeks, I go pick them all up.

My subscription box contains a daily dose of freshly manufactured SCP-500, allowing me to go to the library each day without risk to myself or others.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:12 AM on December 13, 2020

My ideal subscription box would come every 4 months or so and be "Here's a thing you can make and all the stuff -- supplies, tools, equipment, software" to learn how to make it and then to design it and make it. I don't want like a birdhouse kid with the plans and everything. I want the raw knowledge and materials to figure out what version of the thing I want to make and design and make the thing myself.

Here are some sample subscription boxes:

Books/Videos: Introduction to bird houses (covers different types, species and which are good for each region). How to use a circular saw, waterproofing. Wiring an outdoor camera.
Software: Design Software
Tools: Saws, drillbits, painbrushes, wiring, soldering iron, t-square, clamps
Supplies: Wood, paint, outdoor streaming cam, hinges and other hardware etc., wood glue Graph paper,

Pop-Up Book
Books videos: On making pop-up books, on book-binding, on storytelling, especially picture books and especially with few pages.
Software: Pop-up book design software (may not exist. but my subscription box will have it, so please make), book design softare
Tools: Scissors, crimpers, cricut machine, colour printer with ink, claps and whatever else one uses for bookbinding, whatever one uses to emboss titles on a book with nice metallic foil
Supplies: Cardstock, paper, ink, bookbinding cloth, glue, metallic foil

Books and videos on: Dollhouses, miniatures, interior decorating, using laser cutters and 3d printers
Software: Design software and decorating software, CNC software
Tools: Saws, knives, scissors, sewing machine, cricut machine, colour printer, tiny clamps, laser cutter and 3d printer, magnifying glass, brushes
Supplies: Wood, cloth, glue, papers, thread, plastic for the 3d printer, something that can print on cloth

Paper Sculpture (you know those animals and things made out of triangles of different shapes all glued together? that
Books and Videos: How does this even work
Software: 3d design software, with a library of shapes of different basic things, ideally posable
Tools: x-acto knife ( I assume?), rullers, large-scale printer
Supplies: Paper, glue (or tape? I don't even know)

Other hobbies I could be supplied into taking up:
Wood sculpting
Furniture building (probably wood, not upholstery),
Tiny houses

I'm not sure what millionaire benefactor will be gifting me this fabulous subscription, but I just want to say: Thank you, I love it!
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:16 AM on December 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

I was gifted a subscription to the Modern Folk Embroidery 2021 stitchalong, so every month I'll get a pattern for a detailed and elaborate section of what will ultimately be a detailed and elaborate cross stitch. I also have a Beyond Buckskin subscription, so every month I get a new piece of cool Native made jewelry or art and help support indigenous artists. I feel like that is pretty satisfying. I wouldn't mind getting a monthly subscription for cans of the snazzy Polar Seltzer seasonal flavors, but otherwise, I think my monthly Fun Thing needs are being pretty well met!
posted by ChuraChura at 11:07 AM on December 13, 2020 [6 favorites]

I would like a subscription box that provided regular self-worth, long-term financial security, cleanliness, lists of people that I know who maybe I haven’t spoken to in an age but would like me to call them regularly even if they don’t know it themselves, lists of people in the area who are good social matches, time, and secret talents.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:20 PM on December 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

For those wanting a box that you can send away with stuff in it, such a thing really does exist! It's actually an Amazon program. Use any box you have around, fill it with useable stuff for charity, and send it off for free! I haven't done it yet myself. I completely forgot about it until reading this thread.
posted by QuakerMel at 1:28 PM on December 13, 2020 [11 favorites]

I would also like a box containing a few toys from my 90s childhood (Littlest Pet Shop, Sailor Moon, Lisa Frank, Sanrio, etc.)
posted by Kitchen Witch at 1:35 PM on December 13, 2020

Oh, I thought of another one, but it would need to be weekly because I am a greedy girl: a refrigerated box full of sweets and pastries from local Indian markets.

I want jalebi.
I want gulab jamun.
I want ras malai and gajar halwa and whatever else can fit into a reasonably sized box that will go straight to my tummy.

posted by Kitchen Witch at 1:43 PM on December 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

I think I would like a new almond-based sweet every month.

I was also going to say a kombucha, but I'd be lying to myself if I didn't just want a case of Oak cask champagne kombucha every month.

Citrus boxes market to me pretty hard, but they seem to send a lot of limes and lemons while everyone actually wants grapefruits and tangerines and oranges.
posted by batter_my_heart at 3:58 PM on December 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Mister Moofoo’s Mister Moofoo Subscription Box Service, Magic Fantasy Style:

The service is curated by an ideal alternate-universe Me who has seen, read, listened to, smelled, tasted, and visited all the possible things, and has my taste in things and knows what I would like, so he can send me stuff, a book I haven’t heard of yet, or anything, really, and when he says, “trust me, you’ll love this,” I know for sure that he’s right.

Snugglecrate, Idealized Fantasy Style:

A rescue pet is safely delivered to my house, with shots and tags, etc, and I can keep the ones I like, and if I can’t/don’t keep one, they get sent safely on to another nearby subscriber.
It is possible to choose a “foster only” style subscription wherein you just foster a number of pets for a number of weeks or months, to keep them safe and cared for until a home finds them. It would also be possible to choose to keep one of the foster pets if you simply fall in love with them.

The Made of My Life Crate:

Cycles between three types of crates:
One would be like different kinds of almonds, popcorn, sample size whiskeys, coffees, maybe different varieties of hot sauce.
Another is Lego, Magic cards, board games, and toys.
Third is art supplies, maybe like a sketchbook a month, and some other consumables like pencils, paints, polymer clay, that sort of thing.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:16 PM on December 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

A service similar to Blue Apron, but it would be for various cuisines from around the world, so I could finally learn to cook them. It would have tiny amounts of the spices and other ingredients that I normally would have to buy an entire jar of if I was doing this on my own. Seriously, I would subscribe to this immediately.
posted by Knowyournuts at 9:21 PM on December 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

A mental health subscription box. So now I'm searching for a CBD products subscription.
posted by soakimbo at 10:01 PM on December 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

These are great, I think monthly would work well, I'd like

A randomly chosen book on design (anything at all - I love their catalog) from Princeton Uni Press.

A copy of the Anchorage Daily News - whichever day is the most interesting.

Like sugarbomb I'd like a good place-based novel; anything by John Buchan is a good start.

A seasonally appropriate seed packet unobtainable here (we -rightfully- have the planet's strictest plant import controls, but it's a pain when you want Rhinanthus / yellow rattle (a serious pasture pest but great for meadows) or Merxmuellera macowanii - a showy true grass).

Half a dozen deep-fried English pea-fritters - YUM.

A single Albrecht Durer colour pencil but in new colours especially extra greens.

Two-grand would be nice too!
posted by unearthed at 12:35 AM on December 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would like a weekly (twice-weekly?) box of pre-cut, pre-washed / bitesized fruits and veggies to snack on during the day at my desk. I will happily eat them all day if someone else does the prep, but I just cant make myself do it (vs this giant bag of smart food popcorn... sigh). Even better, let me pick my fruits / veggies because i tend to eat like a 7 year old. Carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, cucumber, apple slices, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, etc... mix it up and send me a box every few days and I'll be a happy camper.
posted by cgg at 7:09 AM on December 14, 2020 [7 favorites]

Oh, I would also like for all the amazing US subscription boxes to stop lying to Canadians. $29 / month, free shipping! We ship to US and Canada. Uh huh, sure. Oh look, the the small print says $5 shipping to Canada. So your $29 + $5 USD just became $45 Canadian / month, and well, it's not $29.
posted by cgg at 7:10 AM on December 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

An ideal subscription box would be cookies, a few sample drams of Scotch, and an album carefully chosen based on my tastes in music.

A subscription box of my life would probably be an endless stream of cat pics and mix CDs.
posted by jzb at 7:10 AM on December 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

A pair of pocket Aces for my weekly poker game.

When I saw the title, I thought this would be about how when I moved, now multiple times, my life remains in boxes in the storage closet. I have begun the project that is unpack boxes from 25 years ago. I have already found some amazing family pictures. Also, my 3rd grade math book. I got a 98 on a test!
posted by AugustWest at 8:46 AM on December 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

posted by Morpeth at 12:19 PM on December 14, 2020 [5 favorites]

It took 81 comments to get to weed?

There must be a Scotch whiskey subscription box. that I can't afford. Would be awfully nice, tho.
posted by theora55 at 2:12 PM on December 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

A subscription box that allows you to relive one nice memory a month. For example any time I had a full head of hair or any time prior to 2020.
posted by mundo at 5:05 PM on December 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Either a subscription box to jigsaw puzzles or a subscription box to cozy themed paperbacks or a subscription box to autographs, all would provide interesting gifts for grandparents.
posted by Beholder at 11:34 AM on December 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

logistically impossible but: a beautiful and interesting cookbook, accompanied by a selection of its outstanding dishes ready for me to eat. So I can experience what the fuss is about without having to do the work.

also: sample bottles of ridiculous and unusual liqueurs. Like I'm not gonna buy a real bottle of (eg) creme de violette, but I'd love to try a little bit. should also come with a cocktail recipe using other, more common ingredients.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:00 PM on December 15, 2020 [5 favorites]

My library does this thing where you send the librarian three titles you recently liked and within 48 hours they send you ten suggestions. And now you can click to add them all to curbside pickup (and/or your e-reader) and just go "Yep, I'll read those ten!" It's pretty good!

I was just thinking that a subscription box that I would most like is a hand-curated set of books each month (or three!). You provide topics or titles that you are interested in for the next delivery; the company provides you a very brief bio of the "librarian" that will work on making a 3-5 book collection; perhaps you're able to make small reviews of each book so your "librarian" can figure out your preferences and adjust accordingly.

It's certainly not a very scalable subscription service, and if done best for the subscriber doesn't rely on wholesale margins, but it would be a fun version of a subscription box.
posted by oneboiledfrog at 9:12 AM on December 16, 2020

Book Riot has a personalized book recommendation service. You can either get a monthly list of recommendations or they've paired with an independent bookstore to send you the actual books. I can't vouch for it, but it's a cool idea.

I want goofy hair clips and things, goofy arts and crafts projects, or cake and cookie decorating supplies.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:30 AM on December 16, 2020

Bookbub is a promotional service for books but I've found it pretty good -- far far better than (for instance) Amazon's kindle promotions. What happens - I think - is that the publisher applies for a Bookbub promotion. Bookbub chooses the books to promote. The publisher puts the book on a one day sale, usually for $1.99, and you get a a daily email about the books in your chosen categories. I usually wind up buying maybe one a week from the curated list.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:49 AM on December 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I don't need physical stuff, so much, but it would be very helpful if I could get a recurring letter in the mail every three months or so saying, "Hey, we've noticed that the story (book/tv show/movie/podcast/etc) that you've been obsessed with for the last little while is not providing the same amount of stimulation and joy that it once did when you first discovered it. We think this new story would really work for you - here's why, and how you can easily access it."

Or tea and a variety of interesting loaf cakes, which seems much more attainable.
posted by darchildre at 12:12 PM on December 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Cool new zines, tailored to my interests. I am pretty sure I've seen this before but can't find it now. There's also this subscription which is less personalized.

The other subscription I want, which I am less sure exists, is a box that celebrates the seasons. Preferably it would be tailored to my microclimate of course, but I would honestly be happy with one that fit our more traditional Northern Hemisphere concepts of seasons, or the 24 Chinese or 72 Japanese microseasons. I love changing out my handsoap, kitchen towels, and home decorations to match the season. I'm imagining that the box contains a relevant poem, a fruit, something with a fragrance like a soap, perfume, or candle, a compostable decoration, and a list of things to look for in the season. What new flowers or birds can I see in my area? Ideally, everything in this box will be something I can use up and be done with, rather than adding "stuff". What would be really rad is if the box itself is a seeded box that can be buried in that season.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:24 AM on December 17, 2020

I can vouch for the Book Riot personalized book recommendations! I did it for about a year and it was definitely worth the money. I did the digital only recommendations, so it was fairly inexpensive too.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 10:57 AM on December 17, 2020

O, I would also like a nardwuar box subscription, where you get all of the rare musical artifacts you didn’t even know existed but immediately love.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:44 AM on December 17, 2020

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