Let me wax eloquent a moment about Magic and Trunkclub

Let me wax eloquent a moment about Magic and Trunkclub

I would like the opportunity to wax eloquent a bit… to blather a bit.  Oh, that’s right, this is my blog.  I can do what I want.  (Whether its advisable or not is another matter entirely.)  So apparently there is a service that you can text and the people on the other end of the phone will get you whatever you want, as long as it is legal.  What a great tag.  As long as its legal.  Anyway… this service is just mind-blowing to me.

magic22-1So let’s break this down a bit.  I get the flowers and the pizza thing.  They are just contacting a nearby vendor and putting the order in and having them take care of the rest.  But what about where the vendor doesn’t have a delivery method?  Maybe it would work like this?

I want someone to bring me a Starbucks coffee, a triple… Venti… white mocha… say for example.  Not that is my favorite drink or anything.  Just a random example.  I text a phone number and tell them.  “Hey there, I’d really like a Triple Venti White Mocha.”  The person on the other end of the text would then contact someone at a jobs board and notify them of the request.  They’d accept the job, and run and fetch me my coffee and deliver it to my door.

Craig’s List has areas of their websites that they offer these sorts of jobs.  But I would assume that Magic would need their own service where people can pick up jobs like this to do.  No?  Or some other way in which they can outsource these things one after the other in your community.  There are services out there that do this exactly, like Task Rabbit and others.

But what this means for you is two-fold, no, three-fold… wait, its multi-fold… the first thing that it means for you is that you are paying two premiums.  The first premium you are paying is to Dominos for delivering.  And the second premium (that is obfuscated to you because Magic just tells you your total) you pay for is the connection to the nearest Dominos that they do for you.  If you were to compare this to walking over to the nearest Dominos (which for me is now literally within walking distance) and paying I’m guessing that you could save something like 30 to 40% over all.

The second thing this means for you, us, our society… is basically we are entering (are entering, have entered, have a long time ago already entered) the bread and circuses phase of American history.  Rome definitely began its decline when it headed over that cliff.

But at the end of the day, we’ve already been here… this is actually not a new thing.  I liken it to calling FTD.  FTD is basically a concierge service specifically for the flowers industry. You call them up… the open up a yellow pages (or the database equivalent) and call your nearest local florist.  They arrange delivery on the terms you asked FTD to fulfill.  Then FTD charges you out the wazoo to get you connected directly with that local florist you could have contacted yourself.  Right?  I personally stopped using FTD years ago because I realized just how awful paying full price (over full price actually) for flowers is.  But it is a model that is sustainable illustrated by all the FTD signs hanging in all the local florists everywhere.  Right?

This brings me to trunk club.  I know nothing about it.  But their ads are all over my favorite podcasts.  And why?  Because they knew just how intrigued I would be.  Here’s how trunkclub works.  You sign up and then you get a personal style consultant that talks with you and then they recommend clothes that you can preview.  They then send you your “trunk” in the mail.  You keep what you want, send back what you don’t.  Here’s what a trunk looks like:


I was pretty tripped out by this box of clothes at first. Sweet! Yes! Definitely! I want that! Until I did just a wee bit of math. $160 x 14 = $2240. But no shipping!  $2240. No shipping either way! $2240.  No time spent shopping! $2240. Right to your door! $2240. And that’s a low end cost box of clothes. Want a trunk to really boggle your mind on every level?


Let’s break this cost down! $350 x 13 = 4550. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t want every, single, solitary, item in this box. Sweaters with patches?! Fantastic. Blazer, black jeans?  Plaid shirts?  Money!  Yeah, that’s exactly right. Lots and lots of money. With a little work, you could swing by the local Macy’s and get this EXACT trunk for hundreds of dollars, not thousands and thousands.

So we have Magic.  And we have Trunkclub.  Both are services intended to save you boatloads of time and take tons of your burdensome cash off your hands.  Its a win win.  But I really do think this speaks to a deeper, darker conundrum in our society.  There is a malaise that I can’t really explain.  A deep deep ennui that is driving us towards these sorts of services and solutions.  When I get a haircut now a days I don’t just get a haircut, but I also get a scalp massage.  When I get my coffee, I don’t just get a coffee, I get it fast through a drive through I never have to leave my car for.

A couple days ago my wife told the kids to get moving on their showers for the evening.  They didn’t, and so, in a brilliant move of challenge level parenting, she went upstairs and began running water for a bath, knowing full well what was about to happen.  So I come along and shepherd them to their showers and the next thing I know there is great screaming and gnashing of teeth.  Just serious chaos from all three kids. Why?  Zero hot water. The water is so freaking cold.  After my youngest’s shower is over and the chaos is ended her teeth are still chattering even though she is swaddled up in her bed.  She’s still crying and very very upset about the encounter.

So I say to her, “Anica… when I go and visit the homes of poor people around the world (which I find myself doing occasionally for my job) I have never, not once, seen hot water in any of their homes.  Never.  I’ve never seen a shower.  I’ve never even seen a bathtub.”

“Wah? How do they get clean?”

“You know that spigot that we have on the side of the house?  They use that, a bucket, and soap.”

That stopped her short. They bathe in cold bucket water.  Everyday.  Somehow we have lost track of just how lucky we really are.  Somewhere along the way our desire for comfort spiraled out of control.  Now we seek the affirmation of a stylist we don’t even know.  And we seek speed when we should be about enjoying the moment, regardless of what it brings us.  Whether its a line at the local Dominos, or the walk there and back.  Or its a slow Saturday afternoon lost in the nearby Macy’s.  Or the conversation with the local florist.  Somewhere our society has completely and totally lost track of what really matters in life.

So what that when you are billing you make $400 an hour.  That doesn’t mean a simple ROI on your time shows that you should bill through your Saturday and over top of your potential lazy shopping spree.  Who cares if you can afford to pay 20 to 30x what normal clothes go for, or double or triple what a service would normally charge.  That doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do for you.  Or for society.

Sure I applaud Magic for their finding a niche and filling it.  Kudos to them.  I love the idea.  I may even use it.  And kudos to Trunkclub for their innovation and their delivering quality clothes to guys that can afford them.  I love it.  And I get it.  I get why it works for guys.  But maybe this ennui is the root of a deeper problem, a deeper issue we should point our gaze at for a bit.  Maybe we need to concentrate on the why of these things as opposed to the cleverness of the solutions.  Maybe we need to reconsider our life choices as a society.  Maybe we need to reevaluate what is really and truly important in this life.

And then, maybe we should grab on to that with both hands, and never let it go.