Knowing When to Jump Off of a Sinking Ship
Earlier this week, the subscription service Loot Crate announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and had been acquired. While the news made headlines — especially since the company was one of the country’s fastest-growing — I honestly could have told you a few months ago this was going to happen. As a Loot Crate subscriber, I could see the issues materializing and, luckily, canceled months before this announcement. Still, the experience has taught me an important lesson about looking for warning signs and knowing when to abandon ship.
For background on Loot Crate, my wife and I joined a couple of years ago — mostly as a way to fill out her wardrobe with comfortable t-shirts and have some nerdy gifts we could give to friends. Things went well for a long time, even if we decidedly didn’t really need all the crap we were accruing. Then we noticed that shipments of crates began to slip, first by a few days then whole weeks. Our last crate not only arrived more than a month late but also contained reused items we already owned as long-time subscribers — plus they raised their prices just prior to our subscription ending. All that made it a lot easier to walk away despite our lingering affections.
I should note that, currently, Loot Crate says it plans to ship the reported $20 million in goods it owes customers and then continue regular operations. However, you’ll have to forgive my skepticism there. Ultimately, I can easily imagine a scenario where many subscribers end up losing out on hundreds of dollars in this debacle.
Beyond consumer savvy, I feel this Loot Crate situation has an important reminder for bloggers as well. Even as sentiment toward the company was shifting and cracks were beginning to show, I still saw some “influencers” and others promoting their affiliate links. Now, it’s definitely possible that these individuals were still having a positive experience with Loot Crate and hadn’t heard about the issues others were sharing, but it’s definitely made me want to be more diligent in keeping up with the products and services I’m promoting.
As badly as I foresee some customers making out post-Loot Crate bankruptcy, I especially feel for the workers who were laid off last week. Sadly, if this experience has taught me anything, it’s that loyalty isn’t always a great thing. Being someone who’s fairly loyal by nature, I’ll definitely be paying more attention going forward and being ready to jump when necessary.