A few days ago I saw a video by Cora at Vintage or Tacky (love her!) talking about a new shopping site called Little Black Bag. It sounded kind of interesting, so I gave it a try. I have written a review to save you the bother of doing the same.
The theory of the site is this: You buy something, and then you have the opportunity for the site to “gift” you with some other items. When you get the other items, you can then keep them, or try to see what other people got and trade with them. Other people might try to trade you for your items too, and you can pass or accept the trades. The trading period lasts three days, and then your items ship.
It’s a unique way to shop, which is why I tried it. The deal through Cora’s video was that you could sign up for a trial VIP membership, get one item for free (You have to pay the $5.95 shipping for the item.) and then try their trading marketplace. Now, they really want to rope you into the auto-renewing VIP membership thing, and of course to get your free item they take your credit card number, which they will then use to auto-renew your VIP membership monthly, and you have to call them on the phone to cancel it (I c wut u did there.) I saw all that before I signed up, and still did it because, hey why not. But seriously there is no way to cancel your auto-renew through their website. That’s shady as fuck.
So I signed up, and picked my “free” item (from their limited, pre-selected page of “free” stuff). I chose a pair of earrings. They’re pretty! You know, for $5.95.
Then they “gifted” me with some Clairol shampoo and conditioner that I could trade. That’s when it got annoying. See, I wouldn’t have minded just keeping what they gave me and calling it quits. But there is apparently no option (none that I could see) [Edit: now I see there’s a big “ship my order” button all obvious right there, so my big dumb bad.] to cancel or call an end to trading early. You have to wait out the full three days. That was kind of annoying, but I guess they want people to give the trading thing a fair shot. Problem was, the merchandise on offer was pretty crappy. Cora had compared the things they had to a TJ Maxx or Marshalls type experience, which… maybe, but most of the stuff people were trying to trade around was all but worthless. Hair ties. Random eye shadow singles. “Ethnic” print hair wraps. Things I’d pass up at the jumble sale, basically. Clearly this is all overstock. People immediately started wanting my earrings, cuz I have good taste, but they wanted to offer me all kinds of random ugly crap I didn’t want in exchange.
I eventually swapped my shampoo and conditioner (I am picky about those things, and like products dedicated to curly hair.) for some nail decals, which are super weird (clear with french tips, but the french tips are sparkly?) and that I might not use, but then again I might. Or I could maybe give them to someone who would use them. So again, at this point I was pretty ready to be done, but no, I had to stick it out in the marketplace. And here’s why that is awful. THE EMAILS OH MY GOD THE EMAILS. Every single time someone tries to swap with you, you get an email. I have had 60 emails from them in the last 3 days, and counting. Now, they do offer you an option to turn off the emails, but then their whole system is kind of broken and pointless, right?
They also send you emails about new products and try to get you to go to the site, but those don’t work out well because they will send you an email with an awesome item pictured (I SEE YOU THERE TINY SKULL EMBELLISHED BLACK HANDBAG) and then when you visit the site, that item is not for sale. They don’t have it. Don’t send me a promo email for an item you don’t have. That’s enormously poor form.
So when my item ships, I am going to call and cancel the whole mess. For some people (perhaps people who love ebay?) this might be a fun way to shop, but I prefer to just go buy what I want and have it sent to me, and interact as little as possible with other people along the way (knowing this about myself, I have to question why I even thought I might enjoy this process. Silly me.)
So, anyway, live and learn. I like that Cora extended the offer to her viewers, it was an interesting thing to try, and now I know I don’t like it!