This is my take on it, for what it's worth.
I don't think people would be happy and continue with the service if it were 'just' a $10 box each and every month with no chance of ever having it go over that, just so that everyone's box could be the same exact value. If that were the case, then many of the other subscription services that send out Dollar Store type items would still have lots of very happy subscribers, rather than the disappointed ones that post here and warn others of the type of cheap vibe that those boxes have. If you want to buy 5 $2 items for $10, you'd go and buy them, not have a random box of cheap stuff sent to you that you may or may not like. I know that's how I'd feel, at least, if I were to consistently get a Dollar Store box, which is what it would have to be if it was 5 samples. I think masses of people would dump their subscriptions if that were the case always.
I'm with the girls who feel that it all shakes out in the end. I got one of the cheapest boxes this month, one of the $10 actual retail value boxes, and I think that that is pretty rare, all things considered, meaning it doesn't happen every month and more months than not it's definitely over $10. But I also got a great box, with the Revolution Beauty Balm. I feel like Birchbox told me that I'd be given a sampling of new and different things, including some I may not love, for the price of ten dollars, including shipping. I think that's an outstanding deal. The icing on the cake is that sometimes I get totally lucky and find a really high ticket item in one of my boxes. I wouldn't want to take away the opportunity for the chance to get some really great items just because some months I don't get them. I'm happy for the others who get them and know that sooner or later, one of the really cool items will be in my box. And in the meantime, I get to hear about new products and brands and get first hand advice as to what really works and what doesn't so if I decide that I really must have that 'it' item, I can buy it with confidence. And to top it all off, I can get about $5 a month to go towards those beauty splurges, just for filling out feedback on the items so that Birchbox knows what we love and what we don't love so much. Plus I get great coupons every few months for 20% and I can stack my Birchbox points on top of that. I think that's a pretty great business model and I am enjoying it. I don't think that people should feel terrible about complaining, everyone has the right to spend or not spend the $10 for the roll of the dice. I'm a subscriber with multiple boxes and was before the whole signing up for the extra Teen Vogue box because I like to increase the chances that I'll get some really cool stuff. And with the doubles or extras I find it really fun to give out gift packages to friends, what isn't my favorite might be theirs or what is my favorite and I have doubles of I gladly share along with a personal recommendation as to why I love it.
I do think there are things that I'd like Birchbox to do better, and hopefully they'll continue to listen to their customers and keep growing as a company. It would be outstanding if they listened to the beauty profiles better when filling boxes, I feel that it would make a lot more people happy. There are so many times where someone gets a $29 lipstick who doesn't wear lipstick or a sample of an $80 face cream for wrinkles who is 21.
I love the fact that there are different boxes, it increases the anticipation and the suspense. It keeps us guessing and keeps us coming back here commenting on what we love and what we hate, eagerly waiting for Zadidoll to post the sneak peeks of the next month's box shortly after we get our current month's box. It sure keeps Birchbox on our tongues, no other sub service gets as many posts as Birchbox! Right now, it's still one of my favorites, and there are a lot of really good ones. For those who want excellent value with everyone getting mostly the same items each time, Test Tube and QVC Test Tube are outstanding for that. I love my Test Tubes and am eagerly looking forward to my QVC tube.
Wow, this is a long post, I guess I had a lot more to say than I thought! I probably couldn't work for a company like Birchbox because I want everyone to love their boxes and have a great experience and I don't know that that is possible. The trade thread is really cool for those who can do it. I have fun discussing and hearing what everyone has to say each month about all of the goodies that come in our Birchboxes. I like to hear the good and the bad, knowing what works and what doesn't (yikes on the detergent! So sorry about your little girl's clothes, Nicole!) The combination of all of the products in the boxes gives us that much more to talk about, whereas companies like MyGlam only gives us 5 or 6 products a month to talk about. Anyway, everyone has an opinion and that's just my humble one. Thanks for all of the interesting comments and views, fellow Birchboxers, I love hearing other people's point of view and learning new ways that things could work better. We have a lot of very smart women who follow this site. :)