ANNOUNCEMENT: So what’s the deal with no new Spotted and Fast Food News posts?

First off, I apologize for the disappearance of Spotted and Fast Food News posts on the site. I will explain here why they’ve stopped and what the future holds for them.

The main reason why is because I’ve been helping to take care of my son, who celebrated his first birthday recently. My wife works full-time during the day. So while she’s at her job and I have a position that allows for A LOT of flexibility (because I’m the boss), I’m watching over our son, which has been super awesome because I’ve been able to see him grow. Okay, poop ending up in the front of his diaper because he did his business while sitting is definitely the opposite of super awesome. But helping him learn how to stand, teaching him to say dada before mama, and adding verses to “Baby Shark” that involve non-relatives has been fun (also, including things on Old MacDonald’s farm that aren’t animals is fun, like a fax machine).

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to figure out how to do everything for the site AND take care of our son. What I’ve learned is that it’s extremely difficult. I tried it, but I was burning out. So I decided I needed to be selective with what I do for the site.

The good news is that I’m going to continue doing Spotted posts. The bad news is that I’m 95 percent sure there won’t be Fast Food News posts anymore.

When I stopped doing Fast Food News, I felt less stressed and overwhelmed. So, instead of doing them, the plan is to put more effort into getting fast food reviews up as fast as possible, hence the reason why we’ve recently brought on more writers to help. That way, the reviews serve two purposes — it lets you know about the product and how it is. Besides, there are sites out there that do a better job at covering fast food news than we ever did, like Brand Eating, Chewboom, and Fast Food Post.

Now let’s talk about Spotted posts. Back in April, I decided not to post photos taken in stores to encourage folks to get quickly in and out when shopping. Instead, I asked readers if they happen to spot something new, and it’s something they plan on buying, to take a photo of it at home. I did it because I just want everyone to be safe during these times.

As you can guess, the number of photo contributions decreased, which was helpful as I tried to figure out how to balance work and life. But at some point, I thought, “I’m not getting too many photos to use. And most of the photos I do get are of products that we’re going to review anyway. So why not put a pause on Spotted and let those reviews we do serve two purposes like with the fast food reviews.” So that’s what I did for almost two months, and to be honest, it felt great to focus on reviews and my son. Reviews are my favorite thing to do on the site, and my son is my favorite child. Granted, he’s the only kid my wife and I have.

Now I know it may not seem like it recently, but my second favorite thing to do on the site is doing Spotted posts. I miss doing them. Also, all the emails, tweets, and comments I’ve been getting asking what’s up with Spotted posts have nudged me to start up again. So I’m going to continue with posting, but only using photos taken outside of the store, until further notice because, well, you know.

I apologize to those who have followed this rule whose photos I haven’t posted. I would also like to say I’m sorry to those readers who come here for the Spotted posts and haven’t seen diddly squat for almost two months. I promise I’ll be getting things back on track. So please continue to send in your photos that were safely taken at home, at work, in your car, or while walking to your car from the store.


P.S. – Despite the changes, I’m still trying to get a handle on the whole work-life balance thing. But then again, aren’t we all?

27 thoughts to “ANNOUNCEMENT: So what’s the deal with no new Spotted and Fast Food News posts?”

  1. Life gets in the way a lot and family should always come first. I’ve got eight kiddos and the short time I have, I tend to post in bursts. I really enjoy this site. Thanks for all your hard work.

  2. Dude, child first!

    Since I’m not in the US – I don’t send you anything, but since I’m fastfoodie – I always try new things. And I never take photo in store, because I always buy a product to try it. I guess there won’t be any problem with that.
    From the other side, you can’t judge people who took a photo while shopping – this takes a second and you don’t have to touch anything except your phone.
    Though I would recommend to follow all protective measures too. I know what COVID can do from personal experience.

    Thank you for this site and best wishes your family!
    We’re here for you.

  3. Congratulations! I have a suggestion….Maybe you could split the work with someone who you trust with?

  4. awesome transparency and acknowledgement of your need to step back. we get it. wishing you the best!!!!!!!

  5. Thanks for the note. I’m happy with whatever you’re able to put out there. Family first of course.

  6. This great!…so happy they are coming back. I have been a fan of the site for years and always will be….no matter what gets posted!

  7. I’m sorry to hear the site was causing you some stress. As the other comments have said, real life (and real family) is more important. There have been so many great blog and sites over the years that started publishing less frequently and then not at all as the owners got tired of the grind or lost interest altogether. I would never want TIB to be one of those; I’m happy with whatever I can get.

  8. Family comes first! Thanks for the update. It’s a very strange time for…well, everything. It will be back to normalish at some point. Thank you for encouraging healthy habits with the spotted images too.

    1. Taking ten seconds to take a photo is not going to make anybody less healthy or place them at higher risk. Just don’t breathe on somebody right next to you when you do it.

  9. First off I’d just like to say (yep this is very cliché), first time responder, long time reader/listener.
    We just passed the 1 year mark with our first born, and I’m 100% sympathizing with you man.
    Do whatever it takes to make you happy, less stressed, and makes your homelife that much more meaningful.

    Also, stop complaining about living on that rock in the middle of the ocean, my wife is forever envious.

  10. Love it! Take care of the little tyke. When you look back on your life–you will see that this is the best time of your life. 🙂 This day will never come again.

  11. It’s admirable that your favorite child is one of yours. I have three, and on the list of my favorite children they’re somewhere in the double digits. 😉

  12. I think you are doing an awesome job. Love the site. Can’t wait to see some new spotted posts. And like you said I follow chewboom as well and seems like the fast food posts were always posted at the same time (I wouldn’t they they do a better job just equal)

  13. Thanks for the update. Love reading the spotted posts and am happy to hear they’re on hiatus, rather than gone. Totally understand – we’re all at home more, but seem to have no time.

  14. Thanks for the post. I totally get it. I used to run a music website as a “hobby” and it ate up a lot of time. Family definitely comes first!

  15. Family comes first and that’s a dang good reason to be a bit stretched thin. Not to mention this crazy crazy year. You’re still my go to bookmark and I’ll wait patiently for you to find your rhythm. Thanks to the reviewers for keeping the site a little active too!

  16. Long time reader/fan here: I love that you’re taking care of yourself and your family. Life is precious! I don’t mind fewer posts in the mean time…we don’t want you to burn out! But I do really enjoy the site. I read particularly funny posts aloud to my SO bc they crack me up!! Thank you, Marvo, for the laughs, reviews, and fun website!

  17. long time reader as well: do whatever you need to. if you end up stopping the site that’d be fine too. i enjoy reading this because i eat far too much fast food and junk food, but it is not important in life and shouldn’t be. good luck with the kid!

  18. No worries Marvo, you have a great blog and we have all had to adjust in 2020 with all kinds of weirdness. You do what works for you right now and we’ll still come by. Even if you need a break for a bit, it’s ok. It’s ok to take the time for yourself and your family. Blessings to you and yours! <3

  19. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkKKKKeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEkkkkkkkkkkkkk

    Thanks for the update, and thank you for thinking of the safety of your readers as well as your own family. Best wishes for a happy holiday season to all! ~BigBelly


  20. Take care of the family first. I do miss the spotted posts. Part of my daily routine is checking chewboom and brandeating for the fast food news and the impulsive buy for my grocery store news.

  21. Thank you for removing that horrible comment. I hope this person is no longer a part of your wonderful page.

  22. Thank you for taking the time to write about yourself and how Covid has impacted TIB! I’m sure you’re having a blast with your son, and what a silver lining to the pandemic!

    I actually work for a very large food CPG, and there might be even more reasons aside from your personal and prevention ones to why Spotted has slowed down… Most grocery stores and food companies have actually scaled back on innovation. This is for a couple reasons.

    Frist, most stores don’t want to upset flow and make it harder for consumers to find products. When new products come out, they are typically done during shelf resets. This is a 1-2 time a year occurrence where people at Grocery/Big Box HQs decide what products will go in a shelf set (e.g. baking, chips, etc.). Many of these dates have been pushed back or cancelled due to Covid.

    Besides not wanting to disrupt consumer ease of shopping, these shelf resets also take a good amount of time to execute from a labor standpoint. Even though unemployment is high, it’s difficult for grocers and big box stores to maintain full staffing. Reducing “extra” work like shelf resets is a way to help with this.

    On top of the retailers pulling back on shelf resets, consumer behavior has been very interesting throughout the pandemic. We’ve been seeing people gravitate to products they know and trust versus experimenting with things they are “taking a chance on.” This, obviously, hinders the success of new items.

    Finally, supply chain plays a big role in the lack of new food products at grocers. Demand for products and categories, that were trending downwards, have now skyrocketed. A good example of this is baking mixes. Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, and Pillsbury have all been maxing out their capacity for production but have run into hiccups due to ingredient shortages (e.g. specific oil or starch production can’t keep up). They also are having labor shortages at the factories. Because of this, companies are not willing to take precious production time away from traditional product production. Consumer demand for this is through the roof so why should they take away resources a new product consumers may not try?

    So there you have it! There are a bunch of reasons why posting Spotted isn’t as relevant right now even aside from spending time with your son and socially distancing!

    Keep up the good work and I really love what you do…(and I might be slightly responsible for introducing TIB to most of my company 3-4 years ago. Your site is now very well known around large CPGs and even used as a form of market research)!

  23. I love your site, especially the reviews. Perhaps this is an unpopular opinion, but I find the SPOTTED posts clutter your site and hide the awesome reviews. My vote goes to stressing less about it by not feeling bad for dropping the Spotted pics.

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