This “chunk of junk” isn’t what I thought it would be

Elaine Thompson orders a mystery box from an online retailer. But it’s short by two items. Why won’t the retailer replace the missing merchandise?

Question: I recently purchased two “Chunk of Junk” packages from, an online discount store. These packages contain a random assortment of goods, with a minimum of five items per “chunk,” and are guaranteed to have a certain minimum dollar value.

My order recently arrived, and when I compared the items in the box to the packing list, two items were missing.

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I have gone round and round with customer service over this issue. First, they said that my order was in multiple packages, and I just needed to wait. Several times, they insisted this was a shipping issue, when it is, in fact, a packing issue. Now they’re saying that since the minimum number of items was fulfilled, that’s it.

But the fact remains that the packing list said there should be certain items in the box, and two of the items were left out. I’ve emailed and have sent them photos of the “Chunk of Junk.” I already tried escalating to the higher level of customer service to no avail. I ended up with the exact same customer service agent. Any help resolving this issue would be appreciated.

Elaine Thompson, Ruston, La.

Answer: Your “Chunk of Junk” should have had all of your junk in it. should have replaced the missing merchandise as soon as you brought it to their attention.

Shipping errors happen. I know, because I’ve worked in the shipping department, and guess what? People are filling those orders. People who get distracted, confused or just bored. When errors do happen, the business shouldn’t argue with you or stall — it should quickly fix the issue.

Here’s the problem: You ordered junk, and I think the average reader would be saying, “You got exactly what you ordered.”

As notes on its Facebook page, the contents of the box are a mystery.

“Please note: No one knows what is in each Chunk of Junk, that’s half the fun! This is the best explanation we can offer: ‘It’s a box full of junk… You know… Like in the title? While we cannot guarantee the value of your box we can tell you it is sure to be a chunk of junk,'” it says.

That’s not much of a guarantee.

When you appealed your case to someone higher up at, they should have passed you along to someone else — if not a manager. Email addresses at are [email protected] (so I’d be [email protected], although obviously, I don’t work for the company).

The company’s executives are easy to find online. But again, that shouldn’t have been necessary at all. They should have taken care of you right away.

I contacted on your behalf. A representative said while the company intended to send everything at once, it did, indeed, send your order as two packages. One of the packages didn’t contain all of the items, as promised, according to you. said the fault lies with a third party fulfillment center, but that it takes “full ownership” of purchases made through its site. It has agreed to refund your order and will let you keep your package, which is an unexpectedly generous solution.

Did Elaine Thompson get what she paid for?

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87 thoughts on “This “chunk of junk” isn’t what I thought it would be

  1. Ummmm… You ordered junk, but didn’t get enough junk…

    I just looked at their site, this is worse than adults with the My Little Pony fettish…

    Chris, are you that low on cases????

    1. My thought exactly. You ordered a box of junk, they delivered junk, and now you’re unhappy? How is it even possible to be unhappy when you knowingly order a box of trash?

      I would ask “Why this even exists and why anyone would buy from them” but I really, really, am too frightened by what the answer might be.

      1. It’s actually a really good show…. honestly. My four year old loves it and my mom is a screenwriter so I’ve been around tv shows all my life and started reading scripts for her (she taught classes too) as a helper for giving notes to her students when I was like 14… so I’ve been reading scripts a long time and I can tell you that MLP has very good stories and scripts. I’m NOT a huge fan, but I enjoy it (especially the music). And who cares what someone else likes? If a 40 year old with a 5 year old kid gets into MLP, who cares? It’s still a good show. I do admit that 20 year old guys liking it might be a bit strange… but I’ll still go back to “it’s a good show”.

        HOWEVER, did you know the reason they made Equestria Girls (the first movie) was because people wanted to see what they’d look like as girls… as teenage girls… so…. okay yeah. I can see where that would be a bit disturbing.

        I, however, am a 36 year old female with a 4 1/2 year old female, so I think I’m allowed to like the show, lol 🙂

          1. And I agree that the fact that they felt the need to actually turn them into teenage girls to appease their brony crowd IS a bit (more than a bit) creepy. I don’t think the 4 to 10 crowd was clamoring to see Twilight Sparkle as a teenager.

          2. Well that’s what you get when you have executives who aren’t passionate about the genre making production and creativity decisions.

          3. You know what freaks me out about the dolls? They have pony ears. ALL.OF.THEM.

            The girls earn a part pony form in the first movie (ears and a longer piece of hair for a tail and wings for the ones with wings). And the dolls have ears. WHY??? 90% of the time in the movie they don’t have pony ears. It just creeps me out.

          4. Well its the cannon timeline. The movies are pre-curser to the dolls, because the dolls are supposed to be the continuation of their adventures, they’re the sequels you create yourself.

          5. Now you’re freaking me out, lol!

            But actually, if you think about it, they only turn into pony form in the second movie when their music is super super awesome. Soooooo… I guess the dolls are always in super super awesome mode?

    1. NO! He needs to go after McDonald’s. It doesn’t matter which one you go to, I swear you have about a 40% chance of something being wrong. Missing food, missing sauce, wrong food, etc. I refuse to leave a McDonald’s drive through until I’m sure I’ve got EVERYTHING.

      1. I stopped at McDonald’s yesterday morning and they were out of coffee. No coffee, No drinks made with coffee, no caffeine. I was not happy; how do you run out of coffee?????

  2. Chunk of Junk? Thanks for the laugh to start my day. I really do want to know what was in the box of junk. Inquiring minds…….

          1. I was laughing too. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a lighthearted problem instead of the usual airline/rental-car horror stories.

            We, no, YOU deserve a photo of the junk! 🙂

          2. Here’s what she told me: “There was a cover (x2) and screen protector (x4) for a Toshiba tablet computer (I don’t own one); a “talk and train” dog collar (x2, but no transmitter); a USB Power Hub; an HDMI cable (x2); a credit-card-shaped multi tool (x2); a pair of earrings; a Polaroid MP3 player; a pair of brown leggings (size medium). I think that was most of it.

            The MP3 player can be purchased on Amazon for ~$22, and the dog collar ranges from $7 to $20 on Amazon. In terms of value, I got what I paid for. And even the dog collars, useless as they are, I find highly amusing–precisely because they are useless to me. That’s the fun of these “Junk” boxes. It was the poor customer service over the missing items that prompted my ire.”

  3. ” guaranteed to have a certain minimum dollar value”

    I think the “yes” votes are overlooking this clause. Without the missing items, it’s quite likely that her package didn’t have a minimum dollar value. As such, she didn’t get what she paid for.

    The company meant to send her x and she received x-2, so that is a clear indication that she didn’t get the value the company indicated the transaction was worth. If you buy a mystery grab bag that is supposed to be worth $5 and you open it to find merchandise worth $1, that’s not fulfillment of the transaction. Just because there’s an unknown doesn’t mean that that gives a company the right to eliminate it entirely.

    1. Well…. here’s the thing (I agree with you Blackadar). If the packing slip had a certain list, and she didn’t get something on the list, then she didn’t get what she paid for. Yes she didn’t know what she’d be getting but by putting things on the invoice, they were basically telling her that that’s what she was supposed to get. It doesn’t matter what the items were, or even IMO, whether the box was valued enough with what came in it. And that’s because, as you said, it’s a MINIMUM value. So even if it met the minimum, if they went ahead and put two other items on her list that she didn’t get, it’s on them. Unless they say “your box will be worth $10, and that’s it” that would be different. But they took it upon themselves to supposedly send those other items.

  4. The twee advertising notwithstanding, when OP received her order the packing list showed two items that were not in the shipment. The company admitted that when contacted, and needs to ship the missing part of the order. What’s so difficult to understand about that?

    1. I’m dying to know what the two items were, so I’ll agree with you, especially since someone at the company presumably said yes, in fact, we didn’t send what we wanted to send.

      But technically, the packing list doesn’t constitute the contract in this case. If I order a snowblower and a shovel from Amazon, and the packing slip lists a diamond ring, am I entitled to a diamond ring?

  5. I suspect that the missing items were quite valuable and this is why the op wants them. These kinds of sales will select random left-over sales items and put them in bulk to Ship to people who pay a fixed fee. Sometimes they get lucky and get a two inch LCD TVs or an iPod or other valuable items. Most likely, the packing list showed one of these valuable items but it wasn’t in the box. Because these things are usually drop-shipped from left-over stock, there is very little the company can do really. Most likely, a thrifty employee at the third party company helped themselves to a five finger discount.

  6. Well, people buy some crazy things, but the main point is that there are two items on her packing slip that are not in the box. She paid for those items, whether we the readers think they are ridiculous or not. Seems more legit as a consumer complaint than “I’d like a refund on my nonrefundable reservation because I’m special”, actually.

      1. That is definitely possible…but considering the fact that the number of items in the box didn’t meet the number of items guaranteed it doesn’t seem the most likely answer…

  7. I find this a little disappointing. Why should someone who doesn’t understand what they purchased, be rewarded for their lack of understanding? It’s not the companies fault – it’s the OP’s fault. All because she contacted Chris and he got in contact trying to figure things out.

    Seems like this is exactly how it’s not supposed to happen.

    1. She did understand what she purchased. The minimum number of items guaranteed were not in her package, though they were listed on the packing slip.

    2. What SnowWheet said. The box said it contained x,y,z items, but z was missing. Even if the x and y met the minimum value requirements, z was promised to her by the very fact that it was on the invoice/list.

  8. Whoa, the online discussions about the value received and the problems with receiving orders in multiple boxes and inaccurate packing slips would have been my first clue.

    The OP paid $5 or maybe $19.99 (don’t know which deal she went after) and got . . . junk? And the company gave her back all her money AND she gets to keep the junk? The OP definitely got what she paid for, since she ended up paying nothing.

  9. I got on Youtube and watch the content of a 5$ box. Almost useless articles of the last century. Very surprise why they can’t settle the issue of this little misunderstanding, I don’t think try to con 2 unvalued items, but should send 2 replacing items to keep their value customers because I surely don’t accept those junks even for free.

    1. But, this is NOT a travel site. Chris is not a traveler advocate he is a consumer advocate, so this case actually fits in very well with his mission.

      1. I follow Rick Steves on FB and Twitter. 90-95% of the time he posts about travel. But he also likes the occasional toke, and every couple of months he will post about marijuana reform. I was trying to think why I get really ticked off at RS’s posts about pot laws but I don’t think twice about Chris posting about a non-travel consumer issue. I think it’s a matter of being clear about the mission of the website/FB page. Chris is a advocate for all types of consumer issues, while RS produces travel shows and books, and if you follow his page you expect him to talk about TRAVEL dammit. He confuses what should be a page to professionally promote his business, with a personal page to also promote his politics. (Which I don’t completely disagree with, but it ain’t what I signed up for.) With Chris, you know what you are gonna get.

        1. Apparently Rick likes to get high while escorting some of his tours. He openly spoke about this on a radio show a TA friend of mine was listening to. I lost a lot of respect for him due to that.

      2. It USED to be a travel site and Chris USED to just deal with travel. I know he has now become a consumer advocate but MOST of the stories are travel related.

  10. Junk is junk. What a really “dumb” thing to do. The company, that is. You
    tried to get something better perhaps but got JUNK.———–

  11. The product purchased is irrelevant. The lady paid for a box of items and ultimately did not receive the quantity of items promised. Make fun of the lady and her purchasing preferences all you want, but ultimately this boils down to a customer who didn’t get what she bargained for and reached out to a consumer advocate for assistance. Glad the problem was resolved.

    1. That’s what I’ve been saying! They didn’t send what they said they were sending. End of story. It doesn’t matter the value or what they were. If they were on the packing slip, she was due them.

        1. What if someone smacked you across the snot-locker with a number 36 baseball bat, and the bat broke? Would you be responsible for providing the smacker with a replacement bat? Would it have to be the same quality of bat, or would you be obligated to provide a better one that won’t break next time? Inquiring minds probably don’t care…… :-Þ

  12. At this point I’d like to take the opportunity to suggest that we need to insist our government mandate mental health coverage into our nations healthcare insurance and provider system.

  13. If this was an internet purchase, it was probably paid via a cedit card and / or PayPal. Whenever I have received a bad product, “junk” or not, and it was incomplete or broken, I have made “1” call and it was forever removed from my card. PayPay guarantees the product, not satisfaction, but complete delivery. Chris, do you really get this many complaints that have no idea in the world what their rights are? They are complaining to the wrong people.

  14. At our garage sale last summer we sold mystery boxes for $1 each. We just took boxes out of the garage and stacked them on a table. We sold about half of them. We did let people look, but not add or remove items from the box and they had to take the whole box. Never underestimate the power of quantity over quality.

  15. If I buy a lottery ticket and don’t win I am going to see if any consumer advocates will take my case.

    Okay, I know it’s a little different, but not by much. Thanks for the laugh!

    1. Well if you bought a lottery ticket and won, but they didn’t give you all the prize money, Chris would probably help you, and then it wouldn’t be any different at all.

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