If you are my wife or my parents, please don’t read this, there are Christmas gift spoilers ahead. Everyone else — I didn’t get you anything so please continue!
Call it hubris, but after writing about various Kickstarter campaigns that never made it to market, I thought I had a certain Spidey-sense when it comes to crowdfunding hardware. That I knew how to spot a winner and avoid a dud.
But then I backed the ChopBox, a multi-function cutting board that featured a built-in scale and timer and knife sanitizer all in one. It cost $100, but our cutting boards are getting raggedy and this one looked so cool, and how hard could it be to build a cutting board?
Evidently, harder than the Yes Company, the company behind the campaign, thought. Though the campaign zoomed past it’s $10,000 goal and went on to raise nearly $1.8 million dollars, evidently that wasn’t enough to keep the original shipping date of December 2019 on track. In an update sent on October 8, The Yes Company wrote:
We are on schedule this month to have our first production run of 50 units to test around October 20th. After that trial production run, around October 26-30th, we will start with a larger production run of 2000 units to start shipping out.
We plan to start shipping out Kickstarter orders between November 15-20th. Amount are 50000 units maximum before December we can produce.
Then on Oct. 19, the company sent out:
We expect all rewards to ship in the month of December 2019 (the “Super Fast” pledge will ship out in November).
They also promised that the shipping survey would be sent out “in a few weeks.”
Then on Nov. 21, the Yes Company sent out another update saying:
The time frame has delayed slightly, as during the one-time trial test, we found that there are 2 things that could potentially slow down the process and make the Chopbox in a mess.
They also wrote:
You’ll receive an email from us with a special link to your BackerKit survey soon.
Then today, another campaign update was sent out saying:
The first batch is for the backers who selected super fast shipping, which will ship by the end of the month and come to you in January.
The second batch will be sent out around the middle of January
They also said that the survey was sent out. But I never received one and a quick look at the comment section of the Kickstarter page shows that neither did a lot of other backers.
This delay is obviously a bummer for anyone ordering this as a Christmas gift (I did not), but honestly, a month delay for a Kickstarter project is not that bad. Plus, the company offered to send a card that you could presumably hand to someone during the holidays as a placeholder. Think of that what you will.
I’m not super worried about my ChopBox purchase (yet). The company is at least posting updates and photos of the product in progress that I’ll assume are legit. But it serves as another reminder that the first rule of Kickstarter is caveat emptor. Buyer beware.
Contrast this with my other recent Kickstarter purchase, a set of GIR silicone straws. They’re meant to be a li’l stocking stuffer for my wife, who travels a lot, so she doesn’t have to use plastic straws at airports and such.
I got the notification this week that my straws have been shipped, and not only that, they are coming out ahead of schedule. I recognize that mass producing a silicone straw is not the same thing as manufacturing an electronics-packed cutting board, but still, it fills my heart with holiday cheer.
Hopefully that cheer and crowdfunding karma will continue with the BRÜ tea maker that I backed…