March 04, 2024

😓 And the hits keep coming...

I'm changing things up with our usual Boredwalk email format today. No product photos. No random holidays to enthuse about or make fun of. No notable historical events or famous birthdays to celebrate. No humorous GIFs supporting my inane ramblings. No customer Q&A.

I'm tapped out. Everyone here at Boredwalk is. 

In case you missed it in our (since-deleted) Instagram post over the weekend, our offices were broken into and burglarized early Saturday morning for the second time in as many months.

We're pretty sure it was the same perpetrators of the first burglary on January 4th. We're also pretty sure the Whittier Police Department will be just as ineffectual in finding them as they were two months ago. As excited as the small army of SWAT officers who arrived on the scene shortly after the suspects left seemed at the prospect of being able to fill other humans with lead, they were equally disinterested in doing the less violent procedural tasks of taking crime scene photos and dusting for fingerprints.*

* Look, if you yourself or someone you know and care about works in law enforcement, please don't @ me about the above comment. I was actually here and saw how disappointed they all became when they confirmed the building was empty and realized they weren't going to be able to shoot someone and instead have to do actual police work. The unsubscribe link is right down below. 

The reason I asked Meredith to delete the Instagram post is because in addition to the very kind words of sympathy and care we received in the comments and our DMs, there were many of instances of people giving a lot of unsolicited, uninformed, and wildly impractical "advice" about what we should do to prevent this from happening again. Well-intentioned though it may have been, it still stung to be confronted with a wall of notifications like that, as though these were all obvious and easy-to-implement solutions for a business of our size. And this, after having spent hours going through security cam footage with the police to file the incident report.

• Get a guard dog: Commercial leases, including ours, don't typically allow for that. This is an office park, not a scrap yard. The last thing we need is some snarling hellhound pooping all over the carpet and chewing all our Delve Decks and Grievance Journals and activity books to bits every night.

• Get a shotgun: A shotgun is only of use if I am physically present at the office to discharge it. I already am here 12+ hours a day, six day a week (seven this week, as I am here now typing this). I don't think it's reasonable to expect anyone to live at their office 24/7.

• Spend the night so someone is here to scare them off next time: See above. These degenerates don't really give us advance notice of when they plan to strike, so that would mean I just start living here around the clock indefinitely. Again, I don't think this is a reasonable or practical solution.

• Replace all the windows with steel: Again, we are renters, we don't own this building. The landlords will not allow us to make substantial changes to the construction of our unit. Plus, our lease is up in roughly 18 months. Spending tens of thousands of dollars on building upgrades for such a limited period of utility is not something we have the money for.

• Move to a more secure building: We are under lease until July 2025. Breaking that lease will be prohibitively expensive, as would paying for such a move, and this also assumes that other buildings in different areas will be more secure. They aren't. Criminals are literally everywhere. Even Mayberry had dozens of them on The Andy Griffith Show. This would also likely have a detrimental impact on our staff members. If our next office is very far from our current one, they may not be able or willing to make that commute on a daily basis, and we don't have many roles at Boredwalk that allow for working from home on a full-time basis, especially when it comes to printing shirts, towels, and bags, and packing & shipping orders. We all have great chemistry together and want to maintain that.

• Set up myriad booby traps, Home Alone-style: This is not a Hollywood movie, this is real life. I am 100% confident any booby traps we set up will only serve to injure myself or the other members of our staff. 

• Get a private armed security guard to patrol the premises overnight: That's an extra 84 hours a week in payroll, and we do not have the budget for that, either (see below).

The other thing that a lot of the people leaving these comments seemingly fail to understand is that everything listed above costs money, and not an insignificant amount of it. We are already out the thousands of dollars in shirts that were stolen. Plus we will have to pay another insurance deductible to file a claim, not to mention the cost to replace the glass that they shattered in order to break in here.

That money has to come from somewhere; we can't just conjure it out of thin air like a wizard or the Federal Reserve. So that would entail either finding a LOT of new customers overnight who are willing to spend what we currently charge for our products, or raising our prices significantly.

We also get so many comments on our ads about how "high" our prices are already, but they really are not. We set our prices to be competitive with the rest of the market (read: similarly-sized businesses selling similar-ish products) and to cover the costs of the products themselves, the labor, the rent, the utilities, the shipping materials, and the marketing & advertising costs associated with putting our stuff in front of people (which are a LOT higher than folks seem to know), but people seem to believe Boredwalk prices should be in line with what they see at Walmart or Amazon or Temu or Shein. We are not any of those companies.

Boredwalk is a small business. We have been struggling mightily for several months, and we are on a knife's edge right now. Candidly, if there are items of ours you have had your eye on for a while, I would strongly consider ordering them now or in the near future and not just taking for granted that we will still be around and in business come November or December when you are looking to do holiday shopping. This is not a marketing ploy or a trick — this is just the reality of the situation.

Meredith and I love working on developing fun new products that delight our customers, but we have been struggling so much for months and months trying to shore up other areas of the business that are less exciting but just as (if not more) important to its ongoing function that we have not had time to even discuss new tee designs or Delve Deck expansions or our next activity books, let alone actually work on them.

We just get punched in the face in some new, unanticipated fashion each day. It's getting hard to want to even wake up in the morning.

Look, I'm sorry to slump into your inbox and whine about Boredwalk's problems to you, and on a Monday to boot. I hate doing it. I would much rather share funny jokes and unveil rad new tee designs and games and books that make you happy (or at least marginally happier).

We are still working (extremely, insanely) hard to turn things around. Hopefully we are able to do so. If not, it's been a pleasure sharing time in your inbox with you, whether you've been a subscriber for ten years or ten days.

Peace, love, and tacos,

Matt Snow

Chief Creative Officer / Co-founder