ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Karen

Hi everyone, I’m Karen. Now I know what you’re thinking: as a Karen, I must be one of those women who gives every cashier a hard time and constantly asks to see the manager. Do not believe what the internet has told you: most Karens are completely harmless, even in a retail environment. It’s just a few soccer moms with delusions of grandeur that give all Karens a bad name.

I’ve always been a sweets lover. When I was a little kid, my Mom often had Ring Dings around the house, and I got to eat them as an afterschool snack. Ever since then, it has been my sole occupation in life to acquire more sweet treats. I got married and had a kid somewhere in there, but that just means I can steal my kid’s snacks. Okay, I don’t actually do that, but she has a whole basket of leftover Halloween candy right now…she doesn’t even look at it…what would be the harm…anyway, I like salty snacks from time to time too, but on the whole I’m a sugar lover. I’m also a coffee lover, although I went through a brief, intensive tea-head phase in 2019 that I still don’t understand. My main areas of food interests include bread, cakes, cookies, and cereals; if that seems incredibly broad to you, you’re not wrong.

I’m a professional writer, but I haven’t always been able to choose my subjects. I worked in newspapers for a couple of years, and while I wanted to write about boxed pie and Chips Ahoy varieties, the bosses wanted me to write about sewer management and school board meetings. It wasn’t always fun, but on the plus side, if you ever need someone to write cogently about legislative redistricting while eating an entire cake, I’m your girl. Nowadays I write fantasy novels, so I can write about vampires eating cake instead. I like this better than newspapers, although I do kind of miss the cookies they would put out at school board meetings. Some of the wealthier districts put out a good spread, no joke.

What else is important about me? I’m a big fan of comics and anime, but that’s largely because I need something for my eyeballs to do while I’m eating. X-Men>>>Avengers, I’m just saying. I’m also finishing up a Master’s degree in literature, because there’s nothing left to do once you’ve already made the mistake of majoring in English than to go hard-core. My favorite boxed snack is Little Debbie’s Nutty Buddies, which my husband claims taste like cardboard; the weird thing is, I actually agree with him on this, yet I still love them. It’s sort of cardboard-y but it’s got some cool textural thing going on that my mouth just loves. I’m a New Yorker, I say “soda,” not “pop,” and I am happy to be your new snack food guinea pig.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Alex

Hello everyone! I am incredibly excited to meet you all. My name is Alex. I like to eat.

As someone who has been reading The Impulsive Buy for years and has spent much time in grocery store aisles using the reviews to decide if I should buy the newest Pop-Tarts flavor, I take my responsibility to you all seriously. I will do my best to never steer you wrong. As my training in my first retail job at 18 taught me, the way to build trust is to share knowledge. Kind of an intense business lesson to throw at a teen folding shirts, but anyways, here’s some things to know about me:

I grew up just outside of Boston, raised by a family of food lovers to have a healthy respect and equal appreciation for both Michelin-starred fine dining and gas station tuna sandwiches. I will eat anything and want to try everything. At the cafeteria table in elementary school, there was never a need for a dare or bribery to get me to try concoctions like leftover mashed potatoes and orange soda my friend mixed on their tray with a spork.

Now that I live in Southern California, I am particularly aware of and value the foods of my youth that I was surprised to learn don’t exist here: Fluff, split-top hot dog buns, “kiddie” servings of ice cream that would fill the Stanley Cup (now that I think about it, watching hockey doesn’t really exist here either). That awareness not only strengthened my resolve to try the weirdest, most interesting, or most culturally unique items on menus or in stores but made me more passionate about the foods that one can get in every state, foods we all eat across the country.

I hope to share this love and curiosity for food with you all and will always welcome your thoughts and insight in the comment section. I will also definitely welcome any pairing recommendations for any food I review; I am from the land of innovation, where someone figured out marshmallow and peanut butter belong together, after all.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Erin

Well this is exciting and slightly awkward. I get to introduce myself! Hello! My name is Erin, and I’m so bad at introductions that when they occur in person, whoever I’m meeting usually ends up thinking my name is Karen. I’m then faced with the difficult decision of correcting them or just pretending to be Karen for the rest of the time we know each other. Thankfully I’m a little better at writing than speaking, so that shouldn’t be a problem here.

For as long as I can remember of my thirtyish years on Earth, I’ve been obsessed with food, specifically snack food and its packaging. I’m the youngest child of a fairly large family, so growing up I did a lot of grocery shopping with my mom, spinning the Kool-Aid rack and scrutinizing the cereal section for the best prize. The grocery store is still one of my favorite places, and I spend an unnatural amount of time wandering the aisles and taking in what’s new and who’s updated their labels. I probably should have pursued a career in food marketing or writing or something, but instead, I wound up as a dog walker. The beauty of this is that it affords me the opportunity to work from 11 a.m to 3:30 p.m. and spend the rest of my time doing whatever I feel like, which is usually reading about new Pringles flavors.

I enjoy cooking and baking and do both frequently, but it’s still common to find me eating Kraft Dinner and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets once a week because that is a perfectly acceptable meal and not just for a five-year-old. I tend to give away most of what I bake because while homemade things are delicious, I also need to save room and calories for the next seasonal variety of peanut butter cups.

I was born on the East Coast, and both sides of my family are from the Coal Region of Pennsylvania. I’m strongly of the opinion that the best pretzels come from PA, and it was there that I learned to love Tastykakes and American cheese on pizza. It doesn’t belong on every pizza, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. If you do try it and choose to knock it an hour later when you’re still scraping cheese off your teeth, fair enough. I moved to Chicago about fifteen years ago, and it’s been home ever since. It’s a great city for food and a great city in general.

If you take me on a road trip, I’ll spend too long in every gas station making sure I’ve seen all the regional chip brands. I’m deeply disturbed by the closing of Long John Silver’s restaurants. I might be the only person that misses tan M&M’s. Sometimes I go through my kitchen cabinets and realize I’ve accidentally accumulated four pounds of Arby’s sauce packets. If these sound like qualities you enjoy in a person, I think we’ll get along great. As a long-time Impulsive Buy reader, I’m excited to have the chance to review and share my thoughts with this awesome community. Bring on the snacks!

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer David

Let’s be optimistic.

The day will come, perhaps sooner rather than later thanks to one too many Carrot Cake Oreo cookies, when I gasp my last Twix-infused breath and I ascend to the Pearly Gates (I said this was going to be optimistic).

And I will look around and there will be all of my long forgotten, prematurely deceased friends. I will see Fruit Brute playing the harp, little clouds of chocolate Skittles, and of course Elvis, or at least Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Crème cups. And the gatekeeper, whom I imagine will look a bit like the guy on the Quisp box, will ask me who I am and what I have done with my life.

My name is Dave, I will tell him. Or was Dave, perhaps. And I will tell him I was the proud father of three lovely little girls, who too often served as my excuses to keep the house full enough of junk food to withstand a sugar apocalypse. I will tell him I spent a lot of time overseas, primarily as an excuse to try weird junk food products in weird places. He may ask what I focused on in life, and I will tell him that, having found enough people were focused on reducing poverty and injustice, I spent my worldly days collecting limited edition junk food.

I am guessing the Quisp gatekeeper may not like that. “Have you no regrets?” I imagine him asking.

I might mention the time I drank an entire case of Krispy Kreme Cheerwine. Or my regrets about not buying a lifetime supply of Banana Split Oreo. Or the time I left a bottle of chestnut Pepsi on a train in Egypt. So many regrets. But I probably will just keep my mouth shut.

And then I imagine the gate swinging open, and the Quisp Overlord saying, “Enter, brave soldier, intrepid explorer of the most remote and frightening seasonal displays at Walmart! You have realized the great secret, that people are, like green apple Twizzlers, limited editions as well, and have lived life as such.”

And that’s why I love limited edition foods. They are like precious little snowflakes, ours to love and cherish for one brief and fleeting moment. Too beautiful to last. They ground you in the present, force you to make the most of the now. Keep your meditation and Zen. If I want to live in the moment, I will savor a Mixed Berry Twinkie.

And, until I am called home by that great cosmic Yummy Mummy in the sky, I want to savor those Mixed Berry Twinkies with you fellow sojourners on the road to enlightenment. I am so honored to join the team!

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Jenna

My name is Jenna, and junk food has always been special to me. Growing up in a household with six competitive kids where one has to hide their snacks as skillfully as possible lest they be forced to literally fight for them has a way of making those snacks feel precious! Fortunately, the energy that I used to put into securing my stash from my siblings (say that five times fast) can now go towards hunting down new and exotic treats in the wild.

I live in New York City, and while there is something slightly surreal about putting down roots in a place where you can find delicacies from every country in the world but not a single Walmart, the noshing opportunities are certainly rife. Rest assured, though, that while I love a good dollar slice as much as the next New Yorker, I’d never dream of turning up my nose at Domino’s, Pizza Hut, or Little Caesars, and in fact can often be found lamenting the fact that I’ve never encountered a genuine New York pie with the option of stuffed crust.

Throughout the years that I’ve followed The Impulsive Buy, it has encouraged my sense of wonder, cheering me up and comforting me with the knowledge that no matter how stressful or boring my daily responsibilities might become, there will always be some exciting new flavor or product just waiting to be found to bring a smile to my face. It has also encouraged the sense of adventure required for actually getting out to track down said flavor or product!

Plus, the reviews have given me countless laughs at the absurdity of each new innovation, a myriad of knowing nods when I get ahead of junk food trends (okay, inexplicable llama theming, I see you), and endless fascinating topics of conversation with my intrigued-but-slightly-concerned friends and family. Just one glance at the cheeky puns, helpful suggestions, and all-around friendly rapport that can be found in any comments section here makes me feel as warm and fuzzy inside as an especially large meal at Taco Bell. So it’s a delicious dream come true to be able to break out of my shell (taco shell?) and contribute to that myself.

My one caveat is that I’m allergic to chocolate – and fun fact, that allergy comes to me by way of my mom, who is ironically named Coco. So while I’ll have to pass on Hershey’s and friends (aside from white chocolate variants, which I fortunately can and will chow down with gusto), I’m ready to dive into any other foodie challenge I can. Since I’m constantly surrounded by writing in my day job as a textbook editor, I’m excited for this opportunity to delve into it in a way that’s a bit less dry and a bit more sweet… or savory… or salty… whoops, now I’m making myself hungry! I can’t wait to share that hunger with all of you.