As many of you will have already noticed, here at Zavvi we’ve recently started our own mystery box, The ZBOX. For the uninitiated, a mystery box – also known as a ‘blind box’, a ‘subscription box’, and a plethora of other less poetic terms – is (in our case, at least) a monthly box of products curated around a unifying theme. Simple really.
The ‘mystery’ part comes from the fact that you wont know what’s inside the box until you receive it. That, or until everyone else starts posting what was in theirs – instagramming, whatsapping, snapchatting and sharing it’s glorious entrails across the digital grapevines of Twitter and YouTube whilst you wait for it to be delivered to the Arctic outpost that you’re currently inhabiting.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘What if I don’t like one of the items inside the box?’ – and it’s a fair question to ask. But in the words of Neil Gaiman, one of the greatest graphic novelists of his generation, ‘If you dare nothing, / Then when the day is over, / Nothing is all you will have gained.’
This isn’t to say all risks are equal. Buying a mystery box is akin to giving your best friend £20 and a month to buy you some cool stuff and telling them you really, really like Zombies. There’s every chance that they’ll find you the coolest, exclusive, zombie-themed t-shirt that they got a hip designer to make just for you. But there’s also a chance they’ll buy you a pair of zombie socks that you already have 5 pairs of. ‘C’est la vie’, as they say somewhere south of Brighton.
The real joy of a mystery box, though, is that faint flutter you feel – a trepidatious quivering, an electricity of anticipation – just before you peel back the seal on the box and slowly, carefully, lift the lid half-expecting a golden glow to emanate from it like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.
This is a feeling that can bring us back to the halcyon days of being a child, struck by the magic of not knowing what we’ve just been given for our birthdays, as our doughy fingers pry at the strangely impenetrable wrapping paper. As we grow older these moments occur less and less, as replica lightsabers and glow-in-the-dark Pokemon figurines are replaced by a litany of underpants and Philips-head screwdriver kits.
A mystery box like the ZBOX, calculated gamble though it might be, is in my opinion one of the best ways to reclaim that terrifying joy of not-quite-knowing that drains away with age. Relive the mystery of your childhood, if only a little.