Friday, February 5, 2010

Sample Pet Peeves and Sampler Boxes

There are a few negative things that I have been noticing are a constant theme in a lot of the samples I have been getting in my sample boxes. They make me wonder if sellers don't realize how important they are.  Working under the assumption that a seller is interested in my opinion and my reasoning for WHY I have not bought from them, I figured I would list a top five of my more major pet peeves when it comes to samples.

NUMBER ONE: Poor Quality Samples and/or Contact Information. I have had wax tarts that, though they burned well and put off decent scent, arrive in samplers wrapped in saran wrap, fall apart in my hands, and leave dye on everything. I've gotten soap that is unevenly cut and attached with scotch tape to a hand written "business card".  I've gotten lotion (I think) samples in mini disposable condiment cups that are completely unlabeled. I've gotten beautiful samples that were unattached to a business card, or items labeled with the seller's business name, but no URL.  I've had great samples that I have loved that haven't said what scent they are.  Why, if your promotional material is of shoddy quality or shows a lack of attention to detail, would I think that your packaging or the quality of your product will be better when I purchase from you? 

This ties in to....

NUMBER TWO: No Ingredients Listed.  I have allergies.  People in my family have allergies. People who I buy samplers for have allergies. Even if buyers don't have any allergies and are just conscientous about what goes into/onto our bodies/homes, we should NOT have to look up the ingredients from your product.  If your candle causes my husband's face to swell up, I want to know what was in it, so I can compare it to ones that DON'T make him swell up and see what he is reacting to.  If you send out an artisanal tea, I NEED TO KNOW if there are nuts in it.  Yes, I am one of those people who will look things up, I'll even email you about it, but it irks me a little if I have to.  (If you are polite and swift about getting back to me, that may erase my irk.)

NUMBER THREE: Food Scented Bath and Body Products. I opened a lotion the other day.  It was from a seller I have gotten lots of samples from and who I really want to like.  They have super professional packaging, great specials, and I have heard great things about their product quality.  I just can't bring myself to even PUT their lotion on my face.  Why?  The one I opened the other day smelled like strawberry-banana yogurt.  It was also pink and the same consistency of strawberry banana yogurt.  I put some on my finger and brought it toward my face.....and wiped it off on a napkin.  I felt like I was about to smear strawberry-banana yogurt on my face. The only reason I even CONSIDERED putting this lotion on is because it's the winter and I don't have to worry about attracting bugs. In the spring or summer, there is no way.  I also had to throw it away in a way that I kept it from my kids.  They may be 6 and 7, but they HAVE tried to eat food scented lotions and whipped soaps....I don't buy food shaped and scented soaps and candles for that reason.

So many things come in scented like food or sweets.  It bugs me.  You are losing a lot of potential customers.  You do not only have to contend with the possiility of the buyer not liking the scent you sent out, but also the possibility that they won't want to wear a food scent all day. I know I am not alone in the not wearing or using food scented products population.

NUMBER FOUR: Hyper Specific Seasonal Scents.  In October, I got so many pumpkin scented things, by Thanksgiving, I had been smelling them for a month emanating from all of my storage drawers.  After a while, I didn't even want any pumpkin pie, and it's my FAVORITE. I still have more pumpkin scented stuff than anyone could ever use.  Same thing with Peppermint and Pine scents this December.  Already this January, I have gotten a world of strawberry and chocolate scents.  Set yourself apart!  EVERYONE is doing the popular scent of the month, so do something different! You don't want me sick of its scent before I even get to trying your product.

NUMBER FIVE: Vague or Non-Existent Labels and/or Directions. It took me over 3 months to figure out what the heck wickless candles were for. I really thought they were some sort of cruddy potpourri, and I HATED THEM.  Then I learned what they were and how to use them. Now I use wickless candles 3 or 4 times a week. Wickless and wicked candles are my most frequent purchases.  The person who sent directions and an explanation is at the top of my buy-from list because I appreciated that she took the time to make up a little explanation card.  I am still confused by disolvable body butter and sugar scrubs.  I have bought a few solid shampoo and conditioner bars, and have yet to figure out how to PROPERLY use them.  There are other things I have gotten, and I don't even know what they are! things that look like little food things but say "DON'T EAT ME", yet don't tell me what to do with them; beaded thing-a-ma-bobs that are not long enough to wear as a necklace, but seem too bulky to be a book mark.  Etc., etc., etc.  Things are labeled in some sort of obscure way, and I can't figure them out. If I can't figure out what it is, how to use it, and why to use it, why would I use it? If I don't USE it, why would I buy it from you again? 

So, there you have it. My top five pet peeves of samples I get from samplers.  I'll tell you, though MOST of the samples are awesome.  They leave me drooling for a full sized item or five.  Some sampler senders are guilty of one of these every once in a while.  It happens.  This is why I usually cut everyone some slack.

I alo tend to buy my sample packages from reputable box sellers that I have heard about from word of mouth from multiple buyers and sellers.  I know there is some trash talking going on around some of these sellers, but that's not really something I care about as a buyer.  That being said, I have gotten good quality boxes from the following sellers:

The Little Black Boxes

Sampler Village

The Sampler

I also recently ordered from this seller based on good word of mouth:

Out of the Box Samplers

Because I am a "bath/body/candles/edibles" person, I really have a strong love for the samples from Sampler village which are mostly items in that category and The Little Black Boxes, which tends to get a great blend of everything every month.  The Sampler is more paper goods, cards, and jewelry based, which is not really my thing, though their sampler was excellent.  I mention this because the Sampler may not come up much here, but you should check them out. 

Out of the Box is my newest sampler box discovery.  The box I ordered looks like it has a good blend of items in it. I will have to see how they compare over the long run.

Well, I am off to a charity auction for my kids' school tonight and then watching the SUPER BOWL this weekend.  Look for a lot of items being reviewed early next week.  That's what happens when I have to get gussied up.  Have a great weekend, and GEAUX SAINTS!!

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