Having become the center of great scrutiny and controversy lately, it’s due time that I address the nature of my product reviews if they’re to continue any longer. Countless bloggers approach the same subject in countless different ways, so I can only speak for myself here, but a lot more goes into such a seemingly simple post than many people realize.
While it’s certainly nice to get new products and samples at no charge, it often costs way more than one little meal, snack, or even bite is worth when all is said and done. Factor in expenses like photography props, backgrounds, garnishes, and additional ingredients if cooking with the item or writing a recipe to use it in. Not to mention, the cost of time, which is quite frankly a very large check to write.
I’m not just snapping one photo, snarfing down some food, and cranking out a few half-digested sentences. Multiple tastings, on multiple occasions, are the norm. I take these reviews very seriously, and want to give every item a fair and unbiased palate. Perhaps something tastes better cold than it did hot; Maybe my taste buds were skewed because I just ate something with a lot of acid beforehand; What if it simply gets better with age? How terrible would it be for me to write off a fantastic new product just because I served it the wrong way? All through this journey, many notes are taken to preserve all of the details.
Then, there are the usual posting requirements- Processing, editing, and uploading photos, fleshing out those notes into comprehensive and perhaps even witty sentences if I get really lucky, formatting the text and adding links. No, not an overwhelming task at all, but it does take time.
And here’s what gets to me: When companies get pushy and start out-and-out harassing me because it’s been two weeks since they sent out their latest and greatest [fill in the blank] and they still haven’t seen it on the blog. In all likelihood, I loved it! But the sheer volume of review requests and subsequent backlog that I’ve accumulated prevents me from providing a speedy turnaround. Besides that, I don’t want to clog these cozy pages with nothing but one running advertisement; BitterSweet is so much more than a review blog. I really do prefer to focus on recipes and crafts, with just an occasional review thrown in. Besides, I’m more about making what you can, rather than buying it in the first place!
Frequently, I considered eliminating product reviews entirely, but at the end of the day, I really do want to share some of my favorite treats, give recommendations to those who might be hesitant of trying new things otherwise, and supporting small companies that you might have otherwise never heard about. Bottom line is, I do it because I love it, and I would continue writing reviews whether the food was handed to me on a silver platter or I bought it at full price just like everyone else. I just wish that everyone could understand that at the end of the day, it’s never actually free.