Hey, It’s Cho, and I’ve got a bit of a rant to share today. I host a podcast called the Love Collective where I discuss love & relationships with my best friend and couples therapist, Lisa Wilmore. If you’ve listened to the show any length of time, you might know that my partner and I struggle to find quality time together during the work week. We talk about those issues on episode 5! One solution has been to buy a meal subscription plan for the weekdays when we are usually under a time crunch. We are both very busy people, juggling multiple jobs and hobbies that we take very seriously. Having a meal subscription plan has definitely helped us to make dinner time less burdensome during the week. In today’s post, we’ll be discussing why my first foray into the meal subscription service was a huge bust!

Less Is More

What’s your favorite credit/debit cards??

But first, let’s talk about why you would purchase a meal subscription in the first place. Time efficiency is the most important factor here. Less time at the grocery, less time at the stove, less time at the sink and MORE time eating! Stop and think about how much time you spend shopping, cooking and cleaning. Unless you genuinely enjoy these activities and have ample time to partake in them, you may want to consider an alternative. Buying your meals takes less than 30 minutes the first time and then no more than 5 minutes for future orders. Also note, don’t confuse these with meal kits! While those can simplify the cooking process, the plans I chose took just a few minutes in the microwave for each dinner. Lastly, you have 0 clean up time outside of the single utensil you’ll use to eat with! Talk about efficiency!

In some cases, meal subscriptions can also be a cost effective decision to make. The obvious alternative here is restaurants which will cost you a lot more than if you subscribed to a meal service. I used to spend anywhere from $20-$35 for dinner where as now I’m averaging about $11 per dinner. Saving at least 50% on dinner most days will help reduce costs by a lot. You do the math. While cooking at home will typically be cheaper, you’re still more likely to encounter waste of food, thus waste of your money. With meal subscriptions, there’s no waste whatsoever, because each meal is portioned out perfectly.

Lastly, there’s definitely a health component with using a meal subscription service. In most cases, you’re given a well rounded meal that is designed around your health needs. It will be the correct portions and typically will have fresh ingredients. Obviously, not every service will have the same quality. There have also been times where I have skipped dinner, due to time constraints. Not anymore! You can usually a meal type that is tailor made for you, whether it’s gluten free, vegetarian, high protein etc.

The Rant You Came For

I hate Fresh N Lean. I hate them so much that I wondered if I should even mention them by name in this post. Let’s discuss the good, before I rip into them. The ordering system was smooth. The food options were plentiful. Price point was competitive. However, when we received our food, we were dismayed by the sheer amount styrofoam needed to maintain freshness while transporting. There were also a lot of cold packs. Again, to maintain freshness. I get it. The food is coming all the way from California to Ohio. But the food was pretty good. Flavorful yet healthy. That being said, we didn’t feel comfortable having that type of impact on the environment, so we decided to look somewhere local to Columbus. We kept it in the back of our heads to maybe use them in the future if we didn’t find a sustainable substitute.

That wouldn’t be the last we heard of Fresh n Lean. They actually charged me again for second week of meals. Obviously, this was a mistake as I didn’t realize the meals would start coming automatically. I take ownership of this mistake here. What if I wanted to change my meals? What if I was traveling out of town for a week? I decided to cancel it… except there was no way to cancel. Despite their claim that you could “cancel anytime” 24/7, it simply wasn’t true! I called and left 2 voicemails. I emailed them twice. Silence. So, I went to American Express and told them to block the merchant from making any charges on my card. That process took all of 5 minutes. Shoutout to AmEx! Future post incoming on why they are the best company to get credit cards from. SEVERAL DAYS LATER, I get this email:

WEIRD, HUH?! Funny how I spent several days trying to stop them from charging my credit card for a service that I didn’t want anymore. It’s almost like they knew I was trying to cancel my subscription and ignored me on purpose. Could they have simply wanted to scam me into paying them more money? That’s just a theory. A conspiracy theory. We’ll call it a coincidence. Here is how I responded:

This may seem like a first world problem to some. I am not blind to my privilege. What enraged me about this situation is my consideration of those outside of myself. Imagine if I had used a debit card for my purchase. Unlike credit cards, once the money is taken out, it’s hard to get it back. And certain credit card companies are less customer friendly when it comes combatting fraudulent charges. Not everyone can afford annual fee credit cards. Imagine if I had rent due and was depending on money being in my checking account. This is not right. It is not ethical. No business with a subscription model should operate like. It just infuriates me when I imagine them doing this to someone less fortunate or prepared to handle the financial consequences of a company behaving in predatory ways like this.

So yeah, *insert 4-letter word here* Fresh n Lean. Love & light! Fast forward to today, I am on the second full month of using a different meal subscription service. I’m excited to write about my experiences with them and will be featuring them in my next post! Stay tuned! Have you used a meal subscription service before? What about meal kits? What were your favorites and least favorites? Send me a DM on instagram to chat with me. I always like making new friends!

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