Updated: Dec 8, 2019
* all individuals pictured or mentioned in this post have consented to be a part of it with the exception of Shelflove who this piece is about.
We all know and love the common Christmas tradition of Advents. They're fun and bring with them a sense of excitement for every new day leading up to the holidays. When they are ordered, many people expect them to be delivered in a timely fashion since they are, in fact, a time sensitive item. But apparently Shelflove didn't get the memo this year.
The year has not been a great one for the business in general. Shelflove has dealt with frequent lateness and what some are calling the worst customer service they have ever experienced. For example, their monthly boxes have been going out later than intended, they are more than a month behind on shipping shop items, and even their special edition boxes have felt the growing pains they are experiencing. But that is neither here nor there.
They sent out a newsletter in November detailing a couple of current issues and the plan for the future of the business. It was a lengthy response that did not satisfy many of their customers. One thing notable in the email was that they would be scaling back their production in 2020. Aside from that they generally placed the blame on others from the China trade war to problems with their fulfillment center without really taking any blame themselves.
But because of all of this they made the decision to skip a December box. Truly it was a valiant enough effort at first on their part and seemed like a good decision with all the chaos happening. That was until they announced the advent and everything, pardon my language, was fucked.
Shelflove's Advent boxes were available for purchase as early as September 18. The 25 day box cost roughly $119.00 and the 12 day boxes were $69.99 + along with both requiring both the price of shipping and the possibility of customs fees for international buyers. They announced various vendors that were genuinely exciting. In the announcement post they even stated blatantly that, "...boxes will ship mid to late November and will arrive before December 1."
And everyone genuinely thought this time would be better as Shelflove would have had to have known that the advent was time sensitive. Needless to say that didn't happen.
Shelflove later stated in another instagram post that items would be shipped Wednesday November 27th and the first week of December. According to their post, "...majority of you will be able to open your advent boxes on December 1."
But a lot of customers felt even that was cutting it too close for comfort.
They also made the decision to split the box into two different batches that would be sent separately from each other. The advents would be split into days 1-13 and then days 14-25. Naturally international buyers were concerned about extra customs fees because of this.
After everyone had already bought their advents and were waiting patiently to receive them in time for December 1, as stated in the advertisements above, Shelflove said in a new post that boxes were not sent out as they were supposed to be in the time frame they provided. And, you guessed it, they said the issue was that the fulfillment center screwed up. According to them, they realized none of the boxes had shipped Wednesday as intended but they could not contact the fulfillment center until that Friday with the holidays - meaning, spoiler, still no boxes were shipped.
Customers were not impressed:
At this point the Christmas advent wasn't going to be an actual Christmas advent, it would maybe be a January one though - or better yet one for Christmas 3 years from now at this rate.
Keeping all this in mind, many people rightfully started asking for refunds for their purchase as it would not be delivered in the timeframe they were given which basically makes an advent useless - who knew?
Messages came in for days before the shipping actually happened and customers were met with silence. That was until the day the packages started to ship when Shelflove said it could not return their money as it was already in the process of shipping. They released a statement via instagram story that essentially said once a package had a shipping label and was put into the shipment bay no refunds could be offered.
This, my friends, was apparently utter bullcrap. PayPal sided in favor of at least a few buyers who requested their money back - assuming their online posts are truthful.
Amid all of this chaos, people were expressing their dissatisfaction with Shelflove through their instagram comments, and I'm sure through private DM. And Shelflove subsequently, if true, did a bad thing that reflected negatively on them. They apparently, according to commenters, deleted any or at least a few critical comments that appeared on their account.
In the spirit of fairness, I would like to include that they did respond to these claims with:
Since then packages have actually shipped, a miracle at this point in itself. But the issues don't stop there. Firstly international buyers have continued to state that they'll be lucky to even get theirs by December 25th - very counterproductive to the purpose of an advent. Along with this, some have finally received their packages only to find out the wrapping meant to make each item like a gift for a different day was simply clear plastic that they can see through.
*EDIT: There has also been an issue discovered with the items sent. Buyers who have already received their first packages are saying that they did not receive the correct order of days 1-13. They instead received days 1-10, then none of the next day, and finally there was a jump to days 12-15 with 24 added on (source below). It is unclear if this is an isolated incident or will be common among deliveries.
Overall Shelflove has had a really rough year - and so have their customers. Their once promising business has slowly devolved in a mix of bad customer service and an inability to meet the demands of their subscribers. Full disclosure, I have bought one box from this company and LOVED it at the time. But that was a long time ago and clearly something has changed for the worse since then. I think we all hope they can pull their act together and get back to their roots in 2020. Let's just hope it's not another Enchanted Book Box or Whimsify situation.
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