Atossa Araxia Abrahamian on Birchbox, Blue Apron, StitchFix, and the paradox of choice: http://nyr.kr/1kdQNPH
“By effectively outsourcing buying decisions to someone else, these services attempt to help people avoid what Barry Schwartz, a professor of psychology at Swarthmore College, describes as the ‘misery-inducing tyranny’ of the modern American marketplace.”
Photograph: © AlexandraDost/Lumi Images/Corbis
It’s also a little gift you give yourself but that feels like it’s from someone else. The auto-payment comes out of your account without you even noticing, and when you do notice it’s small, almost inconsequential.
Never mind that one Birchbox mailing contains enough packaging to choke a horse. All those little tubes and vials, and the lovely tissue paper they wrap the samples in, plus the postcard telling you what you’ve received. And the brown cardboard box. They seem like no big deal until you’ve amassed a dozen of them.
I managed a year with Birchbox and then I couldn’t take it anymore. Who needs 5 sample tubes of BB face cream and 3 miniature bottles of second-rate nail polish?