Ok,ok, Soylent should market the "month" as what it is - 28 days


#1

So I’ve been really pleased with most of the decisions made by the Soylent team as the 1.0 product has been developed. Although there’s a been a lot of complaining and discussion around the ingredients, I’ve been just fine with all that. But after doing some calculations today, I guess I’m a little bit miffed at a couple of choices and thought I’d at least post something and hope that @rob or @JulioMiles might see it and have something to say about it.

When I bought my initial month of Soylent, I paid $230. Since then, then price has increased to $255. I can understand that sometimes this happens, especially during a big initial production run like this. I’m very hopeful the team stands by the promises that the costs will come down going forward.

What I paid for, though, was a month of Soylent, male formula, meaning 2200 calories and a month of meals at that rate. Unfortunately, the decision to limit the number of days included to only 28 makes the claim of a “month” supply rather shaky. It’s only a month in 3/48 months. That means that 93.75% of the “months” you’re selling aren’t actually good for the whole month. I take real issue with that number. That’s not a fair number.

Another way of looking at it is that there’s 12 months in a year, so one would presume that if I bought 12 “months” of Soylent, I could eat all year on it. But because of your stretching of the definition of a “month” to mean only 28 days, my “12 months” of Soylent will only feed me for 336 days. That means if I buy “12 months” worth of Soylent, I’m actually 29 days short of a full year, or indeed, getting only 11 months, not 12. Once again, @rob and @JulioMiles I really take issue with that number. It isn’t what you SOLD me. It’s short. edit: By 7.95%. (29/365)

Additionally, I was sold, and chose to buy, 2200 calories per day, which is 200 calories closer to my actual needs than 2000. As a big guy, I need 2400/day minimum to be in the “extreme fat loss” category. That’s where I want to be, but I still need another 400/day. But you just cut out 200 calories a day - again - from what you actually promised me when you sold it to me. So that means that each “day” of Soylent you’re providing is actually only 90.9% of what I paid for.

So between the 9.1% you cut out from under me in caloric reduction, and the average of 7.95% you cut out of my monthly supply, by my calculation guys, you’re selling me (and every single other “monthly” customer) short by 17.05%.

I really, really take issue with that number, and I’d like a reply from staff about how you plan to address this with backers, as well as going forward.

Since it seems you won’t actually be sending what I paid for, I’d like to see you refund 17.05% of the $230 I paid. I believe that would be $39.22. If that seems fair to you, let me know and I’ll email @JulioMiles with my order number. I also believe this would be a fair thing to propose the team do automatically for ALL “month” purchases, but lemme take a wild guess as to the answer on that one.

Obviously, I still want my four week supply of Soylent, and indeed intend to buy a 2nd four week supply the moment the 1st supply arrives. Now that I know what to expect when I give you my money, this at least won’t be something I can claim I didn’t know going forward.

However, I most of all want to say that I think you guys REALLY need to change the way you’re marketing this. You can’t really legitimately call 4 weeks a month unless you think that hitting your target only 6.25% of the time is a reasonable performance goal. That seems unlikely given the precision with which the Soylent team and especially its founders have approached the whole project. For this reason I find it hard to imagine all this hasn’t already been thought about behind the veil, so to speak, and so I’d like to request again that you share your thoughts about this, and what you intend to do to honor (or refund) your promises to provide a month (vs. 4 weeks) of Soylent meals, both now and going forward.

I hope this doesn’t come off as bitchy or angry. I’m trying to be very professional here, but this really steams my beans, I gotta admit. By the numbers, you’re not sending what you sold, and that’s called bait and switch. On that front, I’m calling … you know what. :slight_smile:

edit: corrected calculations

edit edit: Also, since it evidently isn’t clear, I wasn’t actually a kickstarter backer. I placed a preorder for a month supply. When I “preorder” that’s definitely a sale, and it was, and continues to be marketed as a “month.” So yeah, although I appreciate the whole “it’s a gamble when you back a kickstarter project” I didn’t actually get in at that point.


#2

If you’re a backer, they didn’t sell you anything. You gave them money. You get a reward of four weeks worth of Soylent as a thank you for the money, but it was a reward for a donation. Not a purchase. That’s how crowd funding works, and a risk you just have to accept when you participate in it.


#3

On the one hand, I remember the thread where the month/28 days was first clarified, and from that discussion, my impression was that 4 weeks was always the intent, but was not clarified earlier on. But that second point is the important thing here - most of communication is perception, and your point is still true that “month” was the descriptor used, and a lot of people weren’t expecting the difference. (And actually, it’s still not listed as 28 days on the main site; that would probably be a good update)

As for the calories, I don’t actually recall whether the specific 18/22 numbers had been announced back during the initial crowdfunding campaign. If not, it comes down to the claim of “enough for a day’s nutrition”. If 2000 really is fully sufficient for more than say, an 80% majority of males… well, yeah - I’d prefer more of course, but I can’t fault them for not delivering. If 2000 falls short for a considerable slice of the population though… ok, I’d say you have a point, and we could reasonably call it “insufficient”.

I’d cast my vote in for an extra half-week or so tacked on to the months’ supplies, if only to make it easier to plan purchase needs (a monthly re-order is more convenient than a 28-day one). Or, as a possible compromise, perhaps some sort of coupon for current monthly backers for their first re-order; smooths things over, while still bringing a net sale gain.


@Peanut That’s a good point too, and I agree with you. But @evilOlive brings up valid points as far as communication, and he did make a point to state that he still supported the product, and didn’t have an issue with the price going forward. I’ve made the “but crowdfunding” reply as well, and it gives a lot of flex room, but it’s not a magic shield against being asked questions :wink:


#4

That’s an interesting point of view, but I actually bought it as a preorder of a month. I’m not a kickstarter backer. Either way, that’s still what they promised. Sending it short isn’t right.

@shadowhawkxx you know, the 2200 thing is what they ended up saying was the difference between male/female orders. And at the time of my preorder, I DID get an assurance that I could select between the two. Since the difference was sold to be a difference in caloric content, again, it’s just a failure to really provide what they said they would provide, and they’re doing some real stretching to call it a “month” which it still says on the main page, as you pointed out.

That’s what I take issue with. It’s just not what they’re selling.

edit: once again - if someone buys “12 months” of soylent, they only have 11 months of food. That’s really, truly, and completely NOT what is being sold when someone markets a “month” supply. I don’t care what excuses anyone makes. (Ok, now I’m starting to get pissy. Time to go breathe.) The RIGHT thing to do is to just market the stuff as a 4 week supply, not a “month” supply. Then this problem goes away.


#5

I’m not against questions, I just don’t like the “People owe me things” vibe. Maybe if this had come from an angle of, “Hey, I noticed a thing that I think is unfair, let’s talk about it and try to fix it,” instead of, “Soylent owes me money and here’s why!”

I agree that the amount included in a month’s supply should definitely be clarified on the site.

As for the calorie thing… I don’t know. When there were male and female versions they cost the same, despite the female one having substantially less calories, which I thought was a little unfair. I don’t really think it’s fair to charge people less per calorie because they have higher caloric needs.


#6

I completely agree that having the male/female version be different in caloric content only made absolutely no sense at all since the price was exactly the same, and that was just basically gouging chicks. Lame.

It seems most reasonable to settle on 2000/day since that’s sorta the standard, accepted norm. I don’t have a problem with that decision going forward, just that it is 9.1% shy of what I expected when I preordered.

Likewise, it’s just that the expectation of a full month doesn’t ever equate to 28 days as a standard, and for that reason, again, it’s this one preorder where I feel like I was shorted.

I don’t have problems with the choice to move to a 4 week supply - I just think they should clearly and honestly market it that way, and refund those of us who were promised something different when we preordered.

I don’t have problems with 2000 calories per day, I just think they should refund those of us who were promised something different when we preordered. (However there’s a small problem with this logic. If they are to refund any male for the 200 shorted, then they would arguably be, logically speaking, at least defensible in charging all women an additional fee when sending them 2000 calories since that’s more than they were promised. While that would be bad customer service, I think this little quandary highlights the inappropriateness of the decision to have a womens/mens formula that revolved only around quantity. It also probably has a lot to do with why they won’t refund anything for this change. Don’t ever tell anyone that I defended anyone else’s point of view though. jaja)

Now that I think about it, this also highlights just the plain difficulty in making even a relatively “one-size-fits-all” product like Soylent.

Peanut, I feel you. I didn’t want to come off with that vibe, and tried not to. I admit, though: I did change the subject for my post to be something intentionally… attention getting. :slight_smile:

I don’t really expect a refund, and I can see both sides in the sense that they’re just doing their best. I guess I did let my frustration come through a little too much. And maybe it’s too much to expect a refund. I’m ok with that, too.

But I STILL stand by the recommendation that this not be marketed as a month. Because by the time I noticed the difference, the price I expected to be paying per day went up by 11%.

I’m not demanding anything, tbh. But that sort of customer experience is what happens when you market 28 days as a “month.” So, maybe it’s worth more honest communication on the sales front.

edit: the one other thing I guess I might throw in here is that when I do my food budgeting each month it’s by, well, month. I don’t budget my food money by every 4 weeks. I would presume most other folks budget the same way. So when you sell a “month” and you send less food than meets anyone’s needs for a full month 93.75% of the time, you’re really screwing people up as relates to things like food budgeting. I mean, why does a person buy a month of food, unless they plan to eat for a whole month on it? :slight_smile:


#7

here is another way of looking at it:
there are 365.25 days in a year (on average see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_year)
this means there are 52.17857 weeks per year. (365.25/7)
this also means there are 13.0446 “Soylent months” per year (365.25 / 28)

to purchase Soylent at the current “weekly” price would cost $3391.61 (with rounding).
to purchase Soylent at the current “monthly” price would cost $3326.38 (with rounding).

the monthly/four weekly price is cheaper than the weekly price by about $64 per year, AND you get 13 boxes of goodness every year, not just 12, for a LOWER price - some would call this a bakers dozen.

Of course you’d be getting about 52 smaller boxes if you bought it weekly, hence the higher price, but thats an argument for another day.

conversely, if Soylent corp were to adopt a complicated system that sends different size boxes every month of the year, their packaging and shipping costs would go up, and administration would be a nightmare, simply because the only way to do it would be to limit shipping arrival dates to only be in the first 4 weeks of the month, leaving up to 3 days per month when boxes could not be shipped (you can’t have your supply run out on the 31st of February, as that’s really the 2nd or 3rd of March depending on what year it is.) by using a simple four week shipping cycle, all these complicated and therefore expensive problems go away.

count your blessings (a discount for buying in bulk), and get over what is essentially a disagreement in nomenclature.


#8

The easiest pricing model to me would be $ per kcal. Something like $1 per 250 kcal, $10 min order. Then we avoid definitions of month or daily 2000 requirements. Order what you need.


#9

This… actually makes a lot of sense. Probably not as a sole or immediately soon option, because calculating actual caloric need is a bit more complex than the average consumer may want to deal with, and it would cause some shipping complications with packet size – but as a future option, this sounds like a great idea.


#10

What I’m guessing is that eventually there will be an option to order larger packets that are quantified on the basis of grams or calories. Then you use a measuring scoop to dole out your serving whether that means daily pitcher or individual thermoses for on the road / to the study hall, etc.

The original male / female thing (and I’m glad they dropped that) was a result of the presumed difference in required calories / vitamin requirements. However, vitamin requirements are nothing close to exact and mostly don’t conform to the gender split. (E.g., I have more in common with a man my age and lifestyle than I have with a young woman).

This to me makes a lot more sense and is how I’m going to be using the daily packets in any case. But the product hasn’t even shipped commercially yet. A lot more things will become clear when it does. And then the decisions will be made by the Soylent Team based on what makes sense to them and how demand seems to be shaping up.

Eve


#11

I’ll be more inclined to agree with this being simpler once they have their subscription option open.

On the plus side,


#12

I like this idea. I’d totally go for a 50lb bag of Soylent that lasted me six months instead of having individual daily bags. It’d bring down packing costs, too.


#13

And I think that the 50lb bag will produce those cost savings that a certain segment is wanting.

Eve


#14

I dig the idea of bulk purchases, product not separated into 2000 calorie “days” and buying by the # of calories. All great ideas, and better than the current situ.

But @unsynchronized proposes a most ridiculous argument as an apologist and fails to respond meaningfully to the issues I bring up. No one should have to adopt a “Soylent Month” calendar in order to know what they’re buying when they buy a “month” supply.

I really just think the easiest solution is to make it clear on the main page that the top option is for 4 weeks of 2000 calorie meals. What’s so tough about that? Why is accuracy and truth in advertising a bad idea? I don’t think it is.


#15

ok i must admit my post was somewhat “tongue in cheek”.

what I was getting at is, there is an old saying that goes along the lines of “let the buyer beware”.

did you honestly think you would be getting “one month’s” supply literally?

if you did, you must have not even thought about it.

how could any company work that way?

anyone who goes through the basic maths necessary to decide that it’s cheaper to buy the “month” package would by necessity ask themselves the question “is this one month or 4 weeks?”

or did you just say “one month is 30.4375 days, so this is a cheaper option”.

really?
i mean really?

in order to intellectually make the decision that one option is better, you would have needed to determine in your own mind how long one month is. this should have at least raised the possibility for you that it might not be one calendar month. to assume that Soylent corp would adopt a ridiculously complicated monthly shipping system is not the most logical conclusion any intellectually honest person could come to.


#16

I’ll admit that I assumed a month would be “something like 30 days”. I really didn’t start considering the specifics of company shipping calendar logistics. And reasonably, yeah, 28 is pretty close. But as @evilOlive says, it’s not quite the same, and including that number somewhere would be better communication. This is especially true as the current phrasing isn’t just a fuzzy “month’s supply”, but actually states

We’ll ship enough Soylent to fully replace one month’s worth of meals.

There’s an implication there of “at least a whole month, on average” - I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended, but it can be easily made more clear, and clarity is rarely a bad thing. And I think clarity is really the main point of this thread.


#17

I have to say, you’re testing the limits of my ability to remain calm. :slight_smile: Thank you for this opportunity to be a better person.

Yes, the promises are, as @shadowhawkxx has pointed out, rather clear. I’m not trying to be unreasonable. It seems far more unreasonable to assume that I WOULDN’T get “fully … one month’s worth of meals.”

I know you’re trying to sort of express your understanding for where they are coming from. If you’ll read all I’ve written, you’ll notice I’m there with you. I think 4 weeks makes plenty more sense, not only for the reasons you have pointed out, yourself.

However, as I have stated more than once, bolded even for the TLDR crowd, and as is stated in the subject line, I believe truth in advertising and a precise, clear communication of what, exactly, I am paying for, is appropriate, and not at all too much to expect. For all your wing flapping, it seems so unnecessary when all I’ve said is they should be more clear and honest. You propose I should assume they weren’t being honest.

Now, I think that’s a pretty trollish concept, but for now, I’m taking my chances that you’re just trying to express the same concept that I’ve already stated, which is that 4 weeks makes more sense from a logistics standpoint. But that doesn’t relieve any organization from communicating and advertising honestly about what they’re selling.

edit: teh grammars


#18

I apologise for perhaps threatening your calm, @evilOlive . I appreciate that not everyone thinks about things the same way I do, which is probably a good thing!

For what it’s worth I agree that changing one month to four weeks would avoid further confusion for new customers.

i suspect they have a lot of things to deal with, like the logistics of handling the overseas orders and keeping a supply line open for ongoing orders, regardless of the interval or pricing.

being an overseas “future customer” who found out about it after it was too late to place an order, i personally feel any way of ordering it would be great, and can’t wait till that option becomes available.


#19

Yeah, what was bad for me, personally, was having calculated the monthly price x2 for feeding two people a certain number of months, only to realize today after doing some math that no… it’s not quite like that. The price went up a little on my end because I calculated a one month supply of Soylent against my one month food budget. That WAS indeed my fault for not doing the math more closely before now. But I feel it is unfair to use language that makes the truth unclear without me first having to do some math to discern that the “month” I bought is in fact only 28 days.

I hope you get Soylent wherever you are soon. I am so excited to get it and am really looking forward to the power it will give me in my desire to live and eat more healthfully.


#20

Appreciate your nuanced, thorough, and extensive feedback, @evilOlive. I think we’re all of the same mind here – “a month” is too ambiguous of a term to use as the primary measure of product.

As has been discussed above, we use 4 weeks because Soylent is packaged in weeks, and it would add expense and complexity to ship orders that were not made up of entire weeks.

We originally went with “month” because it was the obvious next unit after “week”. This decision was made so early that honestly I doubt we ourselves defined “month” in an exact way at the time. One the campaign was successful and we began to firm up the manufacturing, packaging, and fulfillment workflow, there was some point at which it became clear that a month would be a bundle of 4 weeks, and not an additional box custom-sized to fit 30 days. At this time we should have posted an explicit definition of what constitutes a “month” of Soylent, mea culpa. We were busy with a lot of things at that point, and it got missed. We’re going to be switching to an entirely different website once we begin shipping, and a lot of our messaging and description will be tightened up.

I understand that you have extrapolated the cost of living on Soylent on something like a monthly or annual scale. I would strongly urge you to hold off on such estimations until you and the other individual have a chance to actually consume Soylent on a daily basis. If there’s one thing the beta program demonstrated to us, it was that intake varies quite dramatically between individuals.

Lastly, I want to say that this entire process has been a complex balancing act of deciding how to make Soylent as equally heathy, cheap, and easy as possible. Every choice regarding Soylent 1.0 has been decided with an intent to optimize for these factors. The cost savings reaped from both the manufacturing and packaging simplicity of a 28-day month of Soylent (and the lower volume of Soylent, of course) contributed to our ability to optimize the choice and quality of ingredients for Soylent 1.0 in a more complete way.

Thanks again to everyone for the spirited and civil discussion, this is an exceptional community and it’s quite gratifying to be reminded so often of its quality.