Date Nite Box Subscription Review + Coupon – March 2017
Date Nite Box is a subscription concierge service that arranges dates for you and your significant other once a month (the $159.00-per-month Gold membership), once every other month (the $89.00-per-month Silver membership), or once every quarter (the $69.00-per-month Bronze membership).
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
This is a review of the Gold subscription, which is $159.00 per month.
The Subscription: Date Nite Box
The Cost: Choose from three subscription levels/date frequencies: monthly dates at the Gold level for $159.00 per month, dates every-other-month at the Silver level for $89.00 per month, or quarterly dates at the Bronze level for $69.00 per month.
COUPON: For a limited time, use code mysubscriptionaddiction to receive a bonus gift in your first box! ($50 value)
The Products: Concierge services that plan dates tailored to your interests, plus special gifts.
Ships to: U.S. only (shipping is $10.99)
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
This was my first time trying Date Nite Box, and my first experience using a concierge service for anything (how fancy!). My partner, Alistair (yep, that’s his real name) and I are super busy—he and I are both active in Pittsburgh’s improv comedy scene, which eats up a lot of our evening and weekend time. The plus side is that we spend a lot of those evenings and weekends together, but we’re almost always in or around a theater (and lots of other people). I’d say we do a pretty good job of making time for non-theater adventures together, too, but I was eager to see if Date Night Box could surprise us with some outside-the-ordinary activities.
The Date Nite Box process started with a survey that touched upon all sorts of activities, from sports to spa treatments. What kind of music do we like? What kind of food do we enjoy? What kind of outdoor activities would we try? Most of the survey is checkboxes, but there’s space to note extra details. Once I sent in my survey responses, I scheduled my phone interview. The interview took around 15 minutes, during which a really nice, peppy Date Nite Box gal walked through my survey responses.
A couple things about the phone interview. At first, it seemed a little redundant, but I ended up appreciating the opportunity to check that what I said was accurate. As with most busy folks, I ran through the survey in a bit of a rush. (I certainly wasn’t careless, but I didn’t put too much thought into it either.) Especially when you don’t know the person planning your evening personally, that extra double-check step is reassuring. It also gave me a chance to reiterate some of our more unique points—things like how I’m mostly vegetarian, but Alistair isn’t, and how we’re a little overexposed in the comedy/theater department.
I will say I had a bit of a scheduling snafu with the phone interview. I had originally scheduled it to take place at 6:30 p.m. California time (where they’re based), which would’ve been 9:30 p.m. where I am. I ended up missing the call, which hit my phone at about 9:00 p.m. rather than 9:30. I was a little confused and felt bad that I missed the call, but Date Nite Box was super accommodating about rescheduling.
And speaking of accommodating, I was really impressed and relieved by how flexible the Date Nite Box team was when working with our schedules. Alistair and my availability can change literally every week based on whether we have shows or not. I also had a vacation that ate up one of our rare completely free weekends. My contact at Date Nite Box never once came across as inconvenienced or harried by our conflicts, which I really appreciated. And I was thrilled when we finally happened upon a day that worked for everyone.
Not long after we confirmed our day, the physical Date Nite Box arrived at my door. Everything was inside a tin (shipped inside a cardboard mailer) with a window in the lid, through which you could see a red envelope with a silver sticker with our names on it! Cute! The window had a little rhinestone-patterned heart on it, too, for a little extra flair. (One of the rhinestones was missing, but NBD—it’s still a sweet detail.)
Inside, there was a card that explained our surprise, which included…
… a zombie escape room, a mystery dinner theater show, and some additional gifts to help us “keep the fun going back at home.” Our tickets for the escape room and the dinner theater were packed inside the box, too.
Alistair and I opened the box together, and almost instantly our mood went from “Ooo!” to “Oh… ohhhh boy!” If there’s one thing people know about me, it’s that I am NOT a fan of scary stuff. I’ve never been to a haunted house, I don’t see scary movies… heck, I get creeped out at the super-corny ghost train ride at the local theme park. I didn’t even think to mention this fear in the survey, and I don’t think it was included in the questions. Upon further inspection, the “zombie” part of the escape room comes from having a person dressed as a zombie in the room with you the whole time. Alistair loves The Walking Dead and couldn’t have been less phased by the idea, but he was immediately concerned for me/worried that my spending an hour screaming obscenities at a local actor out of sheer terror while he frantically solved puzzles might not be the romantic evening we had hoped for.
He suggested reaching out about changing it (he is a very supportive, protective partner), but I 1) thought maybe this would be as good a time as any to face my fears and 2) didn’t really want to go through the trouble of rescheduling, yet again. Besides, the second half of the date seemed fun enough, though our skepticism was piqued. As mentioned, we’re deeply involved in the Pittsburgh comedy scene and in its theater scene, as well, and neither of us had ever heard of this dinner theater before. More importantly, we noticed that it only had one star on Google—not a death sentence, but definitely something that gave us pause. Why was this the event this California company picked for us? We decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. After all, we were hoping Date Nite Box would set us up with something unexpected.
The one thing I was definitely bummed about was the fact that we’d been signed up for two chicken dinners, despite my mentioning that I prefer eating vegetarian. There was a vegetarian option right there on the ticket, too, two slots over from the big “2 Chicken” note. No worries—I’d just call and have them switch it.
As for the “at home” portion of the Date Nite Box offerings, we each got one “Couple Coupon” and one “Note” card to fill out.
Notes are easy for us—we’re both good at writing sweet, personal messages in greeting cards and so forth. The Couples Coupons were a bit more giggle-inducing. It’s not that we didn’t think of things to write, we’d just never thought to give each other I.O.U.s before. I thought it was funny that there’s an expiration date on there, too. Don’t miss your chance to cash in!
We also got chocolate mousse massage oil that’s pheromone infused. Ooh la la! For the sake of this review, we gave this oil a very G-rated trial run on my hands. It did make the massage more luxurious, and it definitely smelled like chocolate mousse. But for anyone wondering, it did not taste like anything. Just oil. We’re not really into the world of flavored sexy things, though, so that wasn’t a big disappointment.
Fast forward to our Saturday date. Even though I wasn’t thrilled with the escape room idea, I had spent the day psyching myself out and was feeling ready to go. Alistair had spent his morning doing puzzles in preparation. We arrived about 15 minutes early to the office building where the escape room was located, which is in a hip part of town called East Liberty.
The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was around the building itself. It was a Saturday afternoon, after all, so it’s not like people would be there for work. But when we tried the door to the complex, it was locked. We tried the buzzer to no avail, and even did a loop around the building in search of other doors. We could literally see the escape room name on the lobby directory inside the building, but we didn’t know how the heck to get in. Fortuitously enough, a random man who works in the building (actually, he was in from Boston and just decided to come by the office—thank goodness he did!) arrived and let us in right around 4:25 p.m.
Not wanting to miss our 4:30 start time, we immediately started wandering around the maze of hallways in the building searching for the escape room. We passed a ton of offices, a church (no, really), the lobby again, and a bunch of creepy corners before finally finding the business.
And it was locked. It was 4:30 p.m. on the dot, so we knocked, tried to peek into the curtained window, and listened at the door for sounds. No dice. We had managed to break into a building, but it didn’t look like we were going to break out of a room anytime soon.
Needless to say, we were bummed. (Here are our bummed faces, for reference). No, I wasn’t totally thrilled with the idea of a zombie escape room to start out, but I would’ve rather canceled it on my own volition. We double and triple-checked the tickets we’d received, which definitely said 4:30 p.m. Alistair even went hunting for a phone number, but only came up with an email address. The Monday after our date, the escape room folks did get back to us—they were very apologetic and had a very good reason to have been on hiatus. They said they’d contacted everyone who’d be impacted by cancellations, but it seems like there was a communication breakdown somewhere between their team, Date Nite Box, and us. I understand that this was likely a total fluke, but maybe it’s a sign that Date Nite Box might want to check in with the organizations they’ve scheduled with the day beforehand, just to make sure everything goes off without a hitch!
There are some bright sides, though. East Liberty is usually around a 10-15 minute drive to downtown Pittsburgh where our next destination was located. With traffic, specifically on a Saturday night at happy hour time, that can get quite stretched out. I didn’t realize until we were heading to the next stop that we probably would’ve been in the escape room for about an hour, give or take 10 minutes, which would’ve given us, say, 20 minutes to get from where we were, park (parking isn’t included in the cost, FYI), and arrive at check-in for the dinner theater. That’s also assuming we have a car—if we were taking an Uber or public transportation, we might not have made it for our 6:00 call time downtown. I don’t think that’s something that was covered in the survey, either, so if you use this service, be sure to mention it!
The other bright spot was that I got to change into my fancy heeled boots, which I liked better than the flats I wore to the escape room. The dinner theater articulated that they had a nicer dress code on their ticket—I was a little confused on how to dress for a potentially active escape room setting while still fitting a classier dinner theater vibe later on. Two pairs of shoes it is!
The other benefit? Time to grab a quick drink at the hotel bar before the show!
With plenty of time, we went upstairs to the ballroom for our 6:00 check-in at the dinner theater. There were already lots of people in line, with maybe 50+ people at the event in total. Remember my vegetarian dinner conundrum? I remembered earlier in the afternoon that I hadn’t called to switch my meal, and by the rules on the ticket, it was too late. The check-in folks confirmed that sad fact. That’s on me, so I decided I’d enjoy the salad, dessert, sides, and plenty of bread.
The first step was to give yourself a code name and find your assigned table. Soon after, the hosts for the evening read you the rules and invited you to start “interrogating” other people in the room—the interrogations being a clever investigation-themed way to kick-off dinner conversation. While there were some people in our age range there (I’m 29 and Alistair’s 30), I’d say about 75% of the people in the room were in their 50s and up. Everyone was pleasant and friendly. Some people were really into their characters. We tried to jump in and ask questions, but the conversation was always a little stifled—you could tell that some folks were unsure whether to answer as themselves or as their “character”. I can’t say I really connected with anyone, but there was plenty of laughter and banter here and there.
Without giving away too many secrets, the dinner began with a “murder” being investigated by two detectives. The detectives would pop in intermittently throughout dinner, identify “suspects” (some of whom were a part of the show, and some of whom had paid extra to nab a spotlight part), hand out clues (laminated documents distributed to each table), and do little comedy skits. The audience could write down clues, confer with one another, and try to solve the case by the end of the dinner. Alistair said his chicken was a little on the bland side, but apart from that, everything was pretty tasty. I left satisfied even without having a veggie main dish.
As two people enjoying a night out, the show was cute. As someone who performs and sees a lot of comedy, it was a little awkward to watch. I don’t want to come across as elitist in any way. It’s just that when you do something a lot, you notice things (both good and bad) more. It’s like if a former football player was watching a game—some people probably just see the ball moving down the field or not, while a former football player is also tuned into how the plays are being set up and where execution goes well or goes wrong.
Some of the jokes were pretty dated and even a bit cheap (there were a few fat jokes and some “haha, WOMEN!” kinds of jokes that made me cringe). The actors were playful and obviously having a lot of fun, but it was a bit clunky in terms of how lines were delivered, their timing, and cues being hit. At one point, Alistair went to ask for more pencils and saw someone (who we didn’t yet know was involved in the mystery) reading the dinner theater script. Talk about spoilers!
Was it great theater? Not really. Did it have to be? No, not at all. I think if we were any other couple with any other hobby, we would’ve been able to enjoy the event as a big, interactive version of a game night with friends. As comedy is sort of our thing, the little things stuck out and stung a bit more. And I again found myself feeling a little frustrated that something I mentioned in my survey (being super saturated in comedy and theater) didn’t resonate when our night was being planned.
Verdict: First thing to get out of the way: I contacted Date Nite Box about the escape room issue, and they were quick to apologize and offer to reschedule. Just as at the beginning of the process, the customer service at Date Nite Box was nothing but positive, patient, and brimming with the best intentions.
Also, Date Nite Box was generous enough to give the highest-level experience to us for free to review, which means Alistair and I enjoyed this adventure (but for our hotel bar cocktails and parking) on the house. Even with all the ups and downs, we did a lot of laughing, and all-in-all, we had fun. Dinner was tasty, all the people we encountered were very kind, and we have some fun at-home gifts to keep the date-night spirit going.
Where the trouble comes in, I think, is in the details. Some things were overlooked, like the vegetarian dinner. Some things seemed unchecked. (Were they concerned that the dinner theater was a one-star event? Do they usually take those things into account?) Other things might just be a symptom of not being directly connected with the location in question, like the potential travel time issue. Since their model is built around helping busy people have an easier time setting memorable dates, I think it’s important those little things are taken into consideration, so that the customer doesn’t have to pick up the slack. I’d also say that the date didn’t feel unique to me. I might be being a little cynical here, but I feel like dinner theater and escape rooms are things that you can find in most major cities. I wonder how deep the company goes to find unique, enjoyable, high-quality experiences in these individual cities, or if they just go for crowd-pleasers. I understand why they’d do the latter, but I guess I was hoping for the former. There’s so much to do in Pittsburgh, including art, outdoor activities, and many other things I identified in my survey as “us” things. Out of curiosity, I searched and found both of the events from our date on Groupon for a total value right around the $160.00 cost of this date. If they’re just searching Groupon for activities, I feel like I could do that myself without having to go through a middle man.
I say all of this, of course, because we didn’t have to pay the almost $160.00 to have this night out. If someone did, and all these little things still fell through, I could see them being really really disappointed. (I don’t know about you, but that’s more money than I’ve spent on a date in a long time.) I’m hoping this was more of a fluke situation (or that we’re a tough couple to shop for!), but I’ll admit that I’m a bit skittish about using Date Nite Box again.
What do you think of Date Nite Box? Would you have loved or loathed the zombie escape room?
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