So in June Zavvi announced that they were creating a Zbox special edition mystery box theme on Harry Potter, with each item being Harry Potter related merchandise. The price for this box was £29.99, £10 more than Zavvi's usual mystery boxes, and limited to 500 pieces, with my wife's birthday coming up, I thought it was worth ordering since she is a big Harry Potter fan.
The way these mystery boxes usually work is enticing you with the contents of the box being of higher value than the selling price, but because what is included is random, that's the risk you sort of take. In the US, Subscription crates like Loot Crate and Marvel Corps offer exclusive items to make the purchase worth while. While nothing was advertised as 'exclusive', with this being a 'special edition, I was at least hoping some good contents, or good value for money.
I have my opinion of that, but I'll let you judge for yourselves.
Upon opening this box,which is a large box for these mystery boxes, my first impressions are that it looks rather empty. It looks like the a lot of the box is padded out by padded air pocket packing. The artwork in the box is nice, but that's not what you're paying for really. Zbox hasn't got the reputation as a brand to be seen as a Collectible item itself.
Removing the padding from the box, the contents become clear. 4 items. Just 4 items. £30 for 4 items. Nothing unique, nothing particularly exciting. For a special edition box, I thought on appearances,this was pretty poor. Maybe the retail value of these items exceeds £30, but judging from first impressions, I was not impressed.
So the first item was a Hugglepuff woolly hat. It's well made as official merchandise should be, and it's colourful, but it's a seasonal item of clothing. Not everyone wants to wear bright yellow hats in winter. Not everyone wants to wear a Hugglepuff badge. I think this is a niche item and won't appeal to everyone.
The hat is retailing right now for £13.99 on TruffleShuffle. I wouldn't pay half for this and imagine it will appear in sales a lot cheaper.
Next up was an A5 Premium Notebook with the Hogwarts crest etched into a leather looking cover. This is a nice looking product, and something my wife will definitely use. I would think something like this would be around £10, and digging around, that's how much you can pay on eBay. It's an expensive notebook with the price probably putting me off from buying it in a shop.
This is a little unfair, as my wife already has this quidditch Funko Pop. And that's the problem with Funko Pops. Everyone has one. No matter what Harry Potter Funko they included in this box, someone would have it being a Harry Potter fan. The only way to prevent this is it's an exclusive item, but with a limited run of 500 boxes, that is not sustainable. Funko so can be picked up for £9.99. It's a good figure sure, but predictable to include a Funko, while Zavvi should really expect many fans would have these easy to find collectibles.
Lastly we have a large 500ml Hogwarts glass. It's a nice product that anyone can use, and will be the second item my wife will keep. It's another £8-£10 retail product. Again, expensive for a single glass.
It's a mixed bag, because had she didn't already own the Funko, it would have been 3 of 4 items kept. However, had it been any other Funko, there's no guaranteeing she would have been happy with it. And while the suggested retail of these items is around £40, I don't think there's good value for money for those items. I don't think we would pay £10 for a glass or notebook. I think we will struggle to resell the Hugglepuff hat on eBay, or find anyone to regift it to.
I think I could do some digging and buy all these for £30, but the thing is, I don't think they would have been items that we would have searched out for. They aren't essential collectibles, and there is nothing special about them. For a special edition Zbox, everything is so dull. I feel very disappointed and a little robbed for paying £30 as they are nearly retail value items that are still overpriced. It certainly isn't value for money.
To make matters worse, this box was delayed for a month! So what was supposed to be a birthday gift came very late. The original date was 31st July, and it wasn't delivers until 3rd September! No compensation, no apologetic gesture. The excuse was there being a delay in one of these products, but because they are all just off the shelf items, I don't see what the hold up could have been.
This was a disappointing expensive box with overpriced items to try justifying it's value, but there's no value for money here, and for a special edition box to just be 4 items that can be bought easily off the shelf, no exclusives, and only going to keep 2 items just for convenience rather than wanting them to begin with, well it's a pretty poor outcome. I've been tempted by Zbox for some time, but this is the last time they will get my money. I would have preferred to have kept the £30 to have spent on Harry Potter merchandise she would have wanted, and that's the problem with these boxes, you can't trust what's in them. It just looks like excess stock that someone is trying to clear out. Don't waste your money on these special editions again folks. And if you have money to burn, look up some subscription boxes that offer something exclusive to get value for your money, or just search for someone you actually want to spend your money on rather than gambling on a mystery Zbox.