A Failure of Critical Thinking Cost Me $72: My Experience with Try the World

anonymous person magnifying view of coins shaped in world map

UPDATE, 3/8/2024

After I sent my email, I received notice that I’d be refunded $40. So, at least they did that much.


Earlier this year, I was approved as an affiliate for a company called Try the World. I was excited because it was food-related, and I struggle to find food affiliate programs I like. Plus, I’m a sucker for international snacks and junk food. The key here is the word “sucker.”

Having never tried their subscription service, I waded into it cautiously, and I made it a point to let y’all know I hadn’t tried them yet. (All active links to Try the World have been removed.) Values-based consumerism is important to me, and I do not want to partner with, let alone recommend, companies whose practices and values conflict with my own.

Welp. I can’t recommend Try the World, and I am no longer an affiliate. To be fair, I failed in this process, but the way they do business left a lot to be desired.

Try the World’s Wording

When I ordered a box, I knew it was a subscription company. That said, I looked at their language because I only wanted one box to try. You order boxes based on the length of their “terms.” I saw an option for a one month” box.

Note: It does not say “monthly.” This distinction is important.

A one-month-term pregnancy is not the same as a monthly pregnancy. (Ugh to both.) To me, this means a one-time thing, not a recurring thing. Had it said “monthly,” I’d have assumed it was recurring.

Using a coupon, I paid $32 for my one-month box. I ordered it on February 6th. I was more than disappointed to see that I would not receive my box until March 15th. Maybe a one-month box is how long it takes to get what you paid for?

They were, of course, quick to charge me.

As I type this, I’ve yet to try Try the World, even though they’ve made $32 off of me.

Try the World Tries My Patience

Between thinking it was a one-month box, not a monthly one, and not having received said box a month later, I did not expect to see a pending charge for a second box on my credit card.

It’s beyond weird to be charged for a second box before even receiving the first one. I’m not a subscription box person, so maybe this is standard practice, but I think it’s shady AF. To compare, we previously subscribed to Hello Fresh. We’d be charged, get the boxes, and then be charged for the next month. They weren’t charging us for future months before we’d even received any products.

I can’t think of another scenario where this happens.

But I guess it’s all that “demand” for international snacks?

Anyway, I emailed them to cancel any future boxes, including the one pending for April. I sent my email at 2:30 p.m. U.S. CST on Wednesday, March 6th.

The speed and thoroughness with which they responded tell me they’ve received this complaint previously. They replied eight minutes later with an explanation, a link, and three screenshots.

If they delivered their products as fast as their emails, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

An Expensive Derp

In those screenshots, the service rep pointed out the language indicating that it’s a recurring purchase. During the ordering process, after you’ve selected your box(es), the language reads: “All plans begin on the date of purchase and auto renew on the anniversary billing date until cancelled.” Their terms and conditions also say that it is a “recurring payment feature.”

So, yeah, I failed to read the T&Cs. While I think their language and practices so far are sketch, it does fall on me to be a better consumer.

That, however, was not my biggest fail.

I didn’t google them.

Damn it.

The Last Bit

It’s hard to be a smart consumer with every purchase I make. I think we all feel that way.

In trying to develop affiliate partnerships, I let my excitement for something override my critical thinking skills. This is embarrassing considering I taught a college course named Critical Thinking for fifteen years. I know better, and I’m annoyed with myself.

Sometimes, we make shit decisions that cost us money. If I had done a little more reading and thinking ahead of time, I might not have made those decisions. That includes noticing when businesses use inaccurate wording. We shouldn’t have to be this careful, but we live in a profit-over-people culture.

I’m also annoyed with how common questionable practices are that I feel a need for constant vigilance. Companies will do and try everything to make a buck, especially using inaccurate and misleading language. I’m more than aware of this.

I hope my lapse in critical thinking teaches everyone reading this to be more cautious before dropping money on something that probably isn’t worth it. Considering how many transactions we make in an average day, I can give myself a little grace. Maybe not $72 worth of grace, but $40 worth.

The strongly worded email I’m about to send takes care of the rest.

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