Honest Review of Misfits Market

I’ve written about Misfits Market a few times here, I know. The short story is I joined in August, I think?, and I liked the boxes, overall. It’s a cool idea, getting produce that might have otherwise gone to waste. It was also a box full of surprises and got us to try foods I probably wouldn’t have bought on my own. Cool idea, I’ll give them that.

Over the winter, I paused the box a couple of times. Either I didn’t like what was in season or we just weren’t eating things fast enough. I liked that I could skip a week. Also, I was a big fan of the add-on items. We liked the Bob’s Red Mill bars and I liked being able to order extra produce such as persimmons. Points to Misfits here as well.

Then the pandemic hit here and I was super grateful to have this box. I even switched to the largest box every week plan. It was awesome! A few weeks back, they sent out an email saying the box would be delayed by a day or two. I totally understand. Things aren’t normal now. The box was late by a day? I don’t really remember. It was fine.

Two weeks ago, I didn’t hear anything about a delay, so I expected the box would be here on Wednesday, my usual day. But Wednesday came and went and I figured maybe the delay email still applied. By Friday, when I still hadn’t gotten a shipping confirmation, usually this is 2 days before I get the box, I went on twitter to see what was up.

I saw people missing boxes and others complaining that they were getting rotten produce. My friend was missing her add-on items for the previous week (they eventually did refund her). But others, even brand-new customers, were getting boxes. Tbh, I was jealous! The box didn’t come and that was the week I’d ordered less from the CSA, because I was anticipating my Misfit produce. I began chatting with other folks on twitter and the more I saw people not getting their boxes and the less communication I saw from Misfits, the more injustice I felt for us.

When crap happens to me, I’m annoyed, but it’s just me and shit happens. But when I see it happening to lots of folks besides just me, I got extra salty about it. This weekend, I poked around on twitter to see what was happening and I saw a lot of what look like bot replies in response to tweets (I’ve since blocked them on twitter so I don’t know how they are handling tweets currently). I’ve interacted with these auto-replies. I’ve DM their twitter account after they asked me to communicate that way. I’ve emailed the address they gave me. Finally, I contacted them via their form on the site. I’m not just rage-tweeting and I really feel like I did choose my words carefully. I don’t feel like I ever interacted with anything other than a bot because I’d reply and get a canned response. Or, I’d see the exact same responses to several people asking for communication about the delays.

In chatting with someone who is now someone I follow on twitter (we bonded over our missing boxes and shared veganism), I maybe could’ve chosen my words better. We were discussing how we wouldn’t suggest others sign up for this service and I said I didn’t have a huge following but “I would do what I could” to make sure people didn’t waste their money. I don’t know if those were the words that their bot picked up or what, but I got linked to their community guidelines page.* Maybe they perceived it as threatening but I don’t see giving my opinion about my experience as a threat.

(Side note: I paused my account after I didn’t get the box nearly 2 weeks ago, but I didn’t completely cancel my account. I still wanted to get updates from them and be able to contact them because it wasn’t resolved. Also, they have a waiting list and I felt like my leaving would free up a spot for this to potentially happen to someone else. In the meantime, I got emails about the weekly add-ons, auto-replies to my inquiries, and one talking about company updates. I’m glad they are developing an app and such, but maybe they should focus to delivery issues and customer service right now.)

So, I don’t remember agreeing to these community guidelines when I signed up. I went to their main site and I couldn’t find it in any of their links on the main site or on their blog. I’m not saying I didn’t agree to these terms, but I don’t remember it and these requirements aren’t prominently listed anywhere on their main site that I can see.

What’s the issue? In my opinion, I didn’t say anything harassing, abusive, hate speech, illegal, or otherwise. I don’t know what words they took issue with (I’ve screen-shotted my post in context, and their exact reply to that specific post, referring me to their guidelines saying they would, to the extent they were able, remove my posts from twitter or other social media platforms. Oh, and they can also ban you as a customer.) Maybe they saw me replying to people and thought I was spamming? I don’t think replying to a few public posts on twitter is against twitter TOS. I wasn’t replying to everyone that posted, and so what if I had? That’s not breaking any rule on twitter. (If you are a customer asking questions on twitter, be aware that you may be in violation of their community guidelines.)

That was the last straw for me. I went and cancelled my account completely. I had already given up on the box ever arriving and you can’t ban me if I’m no longer a customer. Then I went on the BBB and read the reviews there and their vaguely intimidating responses on the BBB site. They have an F rating, by the way.

Six months ago, I would have never believed any of this. It never occurred to me to check their BBB ratings. Until recently I’d had good interactions with them on twitter and had been relatively happy with the boxes. Sometimes something arrived broken or busted. Other times things would rot before I expected, but I assumed that was a user error. I can forgive them for that because things happen. But to threaten to remove my posts on twitter or elsewhere or ban me for giving an honest accounting of my experience? I’ve never come across that with any company.

Anyway, I’ve almost written a novel here. Be wary is all I’m saying. I’d read loads of glowing reviews online. Hell, I’ve written a couple of gushing reviews myself. But go check the BBB and on twitter for what’s really going on. I’ve never written a sponsored review and I am skeptical when I read reviews of companies that have compensated a blogger in some way.

In the end though, I finally did get an email from a person and they are “experiencing a higher than anticipated volume of inquiries”. Read into that what you will. They were apologetic and I was issued a refund. I am satisfied with the end result, but not with how it was handled on twitter. I won’t be a returning customer and probably after writing this, I’ve run the risk of being a banned user anyway.

*I was going to post the link to the Community Guidelines, but it appears to be a blog sort of post on a 3rd party site not affiliated with their main site. I don’t want a track back link here on that site. If you’re a customer and curious what rules apply, let me know and I’ll find a way to send it to you. If they posted it to me publicly on twitter, it’s not secret information.

In the interest of transparency, here are the screenshots of the tweet in question and their response. You can just about make out the link in their response tweet. I’ve intentionally cut off the person’s username and photo I was chatting with. The tweet bubble hides “with” and “add-on”. I’m @thriftyveganeat but my tag is “stay home, you maniacs”.