Since I have got myself a proper job, I can afford the odd little luxury. One of the pubs I used to work in was the local posties' pub of choice, so I have a fondness for posties and keeping them in work. Thus I started getting some subscription boxes. This is the first in an occasional series of me reviewing them. None of these are paid reviews, I haven't even had freebies, I don't do sponsored content. WYSIWYG.Today I am reviewingPrudence and The Crow
.What do they offer?
Vintage books, once a month, for a set period or on a rolling monthly subscription.What do you actually get?
When you pay for your subscription, you get a questionnaire, with free size text boxes. Fill it in as comprehensively as you can; this will be the basis by which the mysterious Prudence (or maybe the even more mysterious Crow) will choose your vintage book. They try to find you something that is 1, interesting 2, relevant to your tastes and 3, not one you've already got. The more information you can give them, the better. When I got my questionnaire I went on twitter and said something like "hah! They've not limited the box sizes! THE FOOLS! *fills in ridiculous amounts of information*" and almost immediately got the reply that no, they LIKE getting lots of info because it helps them to choose.
In the actual box you get a vintage book, a personalised bookmark, usually a little bag or sleeve for the book, some sweets, some herbal teabags and maybe some postcards or a bookplate. Sometimes a vintage cigarette card or an old coin. Maybe a badge. All of the little bits of vintage emphemera you get are usually relevant either to the book or your stated tastes. The instagram hashtag #patcbox
will give you some idea of the contents of people's boxes, and also show you that each one is definitely different. There's none of this "buy in bulk and make five hundred of the same box" with P&tCHow easy are they to contact if you need to change something?
Some of the less salubrious subs boxes are very unresponsive to customers. I'm delighted to report that P&tC are not like that at all. Their social media presence is actually social, not just broadcasting adverts like some, and they are great to chat to on instagram
and (especially) twitter
. They're very responsive to emails with customer service questions too, especially when you're setting up a gift sub (I liked them so much I got my mum a sub for her birthday).Value for Money?
Genuinely depends on what you value. The cash value of the box contents is not usually up there with the price of the subscription; what you're paying for here is the service. The infinite and very personal care and hard work that they put into selecting a vintage book that is just for you is really evident, and they are genuinely joyous when you report back that you liked their selection.Overall marksGet this box if:
Don't get this box if:
- you enjoy reading;
- you want a lovely and genuinely surprising box every month, which is none-the-less exactly right for your tastes (assuming you filled in the survey sufficiently);
- you find little bits of vintage emphemera interesting.
Marks out of ten:
- you're one of those people who expects the trade-off for a surprise to be huge cash value;
- you want a pristine, perfect, brand new book;
- you find little bits of vintage emphemera annoying.
10/10. Genuinely couldn't be happier, and I do a little squeak of excitement whenever I get the notification email that my box is on the way.