ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Brian

I’ve been preparing for this opportunity ever since I saw a Life cereal commercial and thought “Big whoop–I’d eat anything AND would survive mixing pop rocks with cola”. Ever since I wrote a poem for the first grade play about how perplexing it was (and still is) that tomatoes are fruit. Ever since I ran around the McDonald’s Playplace pointing out the Hamburgler was actually committing a hate crime and Mayor McCheese had a vendetta to settle.

My current interest and passion for new food products would be considered largely unacceptable by most members of society. I have been known to drive to six or seven locations in a day if I discover a product I must have. Six or seven isn’t THAT many, but it is if you’d like to maintain a family or a job or anything else that has a semblance of a 37 year old’s non-vagabond existence. And even when I don’t know something’s out there, I have a keen, systematic eye that I apply to convenience stores and supermarkets, scanning my eyes in all the right places (soda coolers, candy displays, potato chips, and the almighty holiday clearance section) in an efficient fashion that makes me feel that somehow I haven’t invested nearly as much time in this “hobby” as I have.

When I had less money at my disposal (my “monastic” grad school years en route to becoming a school psychologist) I would find a new product I was excited about, purchase one, and try it. If I liked it, I would then often engage in wild goose chases, trying to find the product again, only to meet with crippling, constant disappointment. As my wallet grew more proportional to my desire for Jolly Ranchers soda and Mint Skittles, I discovered that purchasing multiple items of a new product was effective insurance against the “one night stand” phenomenon I had incurred. However, I also found it was a proper way to fill your pantry with the dud products of the universe, the items so bad that you couldn’t pawn them off on the unsuspecting with a straight face. You might call it the “Why you don’t give out your address on Tinder”.

My family is subject to these whims now, as we try to find a happy medium. Two packages of new Oreos make it through the Ellis Island that is the grocery checkout (the worst Oreos will still get eaten by someone at 2am), but I invest more effort into defending my purchase of dessert Pringles than a court-appointed attorney. Ultimately, the cream rises to the top (save for the “Vanilla Heat” creamer I inflicted upon my loved ones). My students are not safe either, like the time I had them eating the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burn Doritos in a contest to win the extra cup of Rita’s Water Ice I had purchased. A true battle for the ages (of eight and up).

In all honesty, I think if someone took a close look at my behavior, they might consider it to be a little bit insane — for a person who doesn’t work in the food review industry. Therefore, this opportunity to include you all on my never-ending quest is a chance to restore my sanity, without me changing how I operate or responding to every Rorschach test with obscure product names like “Takis!” and “Bugles!” This is a match made in Heavenly Hash, so sound the, ahem, bugle–let’s get this hunt started.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Heather

Hi Impulsive Buy readers! So excited to be in this flavor-filled corner of the internet with you.

A little bit about me, before we get into my obsession with peanut butter: I’m Heather, a former magazine journalist turned marketer who calls the Midwest my home. I was the first girl at the lunch table in grade school to have Go-Gurt, so major props to my mother for packing my lunch with all the “cool” things.

I’m a sucker for anything seasonal-flavored (pumpkin is my favorite), and peanut butter is literally my favorite food. I usually have several different varieties open at one time in my pantry, and no trip to the store is complete without a scan down that aisle. A couple years ago for my birthday, one of my best friends gave me a bag of six peanut/almond/sunflower butters I’d never tried before. She asked for mini reviews of all of them. Hands down, the best birthday present I’ve ever received. I still rave about it. We also seriously considered starting a band called “Nut Butters and Jam,” but that’s a story for another time.

I’ve missed the ability in my marketing career to be super fun with my writing, so I’m pumped to help you navigate the world of limited edition products, snack food and more with a little bit of fun and wordsmithing.

May your shelves and bellies be full of deliciousness and your mind dreaming about the latest flavor from Ben & Jerry’s. Bon Appetit!

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Mark

Salutations, patrons of The Impulsive Buy!

One January, during my last semester of college, I approached a booth at a campus editing fair. (I don’t want you to have ridiculously high expectations for my writing to be perfect, so I won’t tell you I’m a professional editor. Oh—oops!) One of the girls manning the booth was one of my former classmates. She offered me some of the candy they were giving out, but then she realized it was Christmas candy, and Christmas was over, so she thought I wouldn’t eat it. She was right.

The other girl at the booth, whom I had never met, said, “Wait. Is this the guy?” Apparently my fame had spread throughout campus, or at least through the program. She had heard from another of my former classmates about me. And this is not the only time someone I’ve never met has heard about me.

See, when it comes to sweets—candy, desserts, other sugary snacks that don’t exactly fit either category, I only eat holiday-themed things.* It counts if it’s only some festive sprinkles or even just a fun wrapper, but I prefer the unique flavors that come out in abundance. Pumpkin spice. Candy cane. Red velvet. And, for some reason, Peeps.

But not only do these things have to be seasonal, it has to be the right season. So back to the university booth: my former classmate pointed out some of the Valentine’s Day candy. It was still too early, but she told me I could take some and save it. And I did just that. I took it home and ate it later that month, when the time for red and pink hearts had arrived.

If a food is not sugary, like chips or fast food, I will eat it regardless of the time of year. But even those things get bonus points if they have special turkey or cranberry flavors.

(*OK, I have a few times set out per year when I can eat whatever I want. But even then, I gravitate toward limited edition goodies.)

I was born and raised in Utah, where I’ve been basically my whole life. Don’t believe all the stereotypes. I have never once had green Jello with carrots in it. Marshmallows and fruit cocktail in Jello, yes, but never carrots. We do have fry sauce in every restaurant, though. And don’t ask me if the beer is really watered down. I’m a teetotaler, so I wouldn’t know.

I’m excited to have a valid reason to obsess over seasonal candy, now that I’m on the Impulsive Buy team. People think I’m weird for putting so much thought into junk food. But now I have found my people.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer James

Greetings, folks. My name is James, and I’m the newest reviewer here at The Impulsive Buy. Let’s get acquainted real quick, why don’t we?

I’ve lived in the sprawling metro-Atlanta area pretty much my whole life, and ever since I was a kid, I have been utterly infatuated with junk food and fast food. Even now, I can’t put my finger on what it is about limited-time-only Twinkies and Pop-Tarts that enchants me so, but I can’t help but get strangely giddy every time I drive by the local Burger King and see posters of new products duct taped to the window. It’s like trying to explain why sunshine is nice – it just is, by golly, and I stopped asking questions a long time ago.

Anybody can find the inherent quality of – and I quote – “good food.” But to me, junk food and fast food exist as something more than culinary art or mere caloric deadweight. Unlike the hoity-toity Michelin Star bait out there, these value-priced, L-T-O consumer goods almost seem to represent small pieces of society itself, these little ephemeral slices of the times we can eat, drink, chew, dip, and periodically gargle. They are the only form of pop culture that can’t be saved on a disc and preserved for future generations to experience; while others dream about what it would’ve been like to see Led Zeppelin live circa 1973, long have I been tortured over not knowing what the Arch Deluxe and Pepsi A.M. tasted like.

With that in mind, I take this new position extraordinarily serious. Not only am I giving consumers the world over a heads up on the latest and greatest “pop-foods” out there, I’m doing my part as a gastro-historian to make sure the children of tomorrow never forget the most impermanent aspects of the culture you and I lived in.

Oh, and I’m also looking forward to getting paid to write about and take pictures of the stuff I was already eating. If that doesn’t tell you this is the greatest time to be alive in human history, I don’t know what will.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Sean

The best days are trips to the scoop shop. Romance is best served cold and shared with someone you love. Many of my fondest memories are created over the unifying tantalizing of the tastebuds.

What’s up?! I’m Sean E. – a 28 year old food, music, and coffee enthusiast from San Francisco, CA, and the latest addition to The Impulsive Buy staff. No, I don’t only eat ice cream, but I felt the need to lay my love out there for everyone to see. I am enthralled by all things culinary – from cooking to fine dining to The Food Network to searching for the latest super rare Hostess cake at the grocery store.

I am a firm believer that a 79 cent oatmeal cream pie can be just as alluring as a 79 dollar entree at a French bistro and feel the need to tear the walls down between fine food and fast food. As much as I would love to have a perfectly presented five course Omakase sushi dinner every night when I come home, that is simply not my reality, so I search for thrills in all parts of the food universe.

In high school I was editor-in-chief of my school’s newspaper, went on to write for my college’s paper, and then got a degree in creative writing at San Francisco State University, where I also spent a semester as poetry editor for the literary magazine TRANSFER. This was all tremendous experience for me but by the end of it I was burnt out of not only writing, but reading, and all things associated with the world of literature.

I’ve spent the last five years of my life playing bass in an alternative rock trio called RIN TIN TIGER, and will continue to do so as long as I can. Recently, my love for food and the food culture blogosphere has reinvigorated my passion for writing, and as a result I find myself before you all.

What drew me to The Impulsive Buy? An active community joined together by the thrill of the hunt; the burgeoning desire and curiosity that takes over when we see words like “limited edition” and “seasonal” and “vote”; the ability to try something in California that someone in North Dakota or Honolulu can also pick up and engage with; the interactive component of “Spotted on Shelves”; and the free flow style of the reviews.

I love established food critics but there is a separation between eater and audience that creates an instant cold reaction for the average consumer – which is everything TIB isn’t. I am excited to be accepted into this realm of hunting and snapping, tasting and sharing, and look forward to your feedback on how we all interpret the flavors and sensations of our impulsive purchases.

Let’s keep in touch!

Personal site: seansskillet.wordpress.com
Instagram: @seansskillet
Twitter: @seansskillet