Happy Fool’s Day/Happy Birthday, Dad! (They go hand-in-hand, not that they are at all related).
So, Friday, I did it. I managed to talk for four hours straight about food. And I was quite surprised, that by the end of the afternoon – I had a sore throat and was hoarse! I’m apparently a little rusty and should have worked up gradually to that kind of stamina-driven performance.
I thought the whole experience was fascinating and fun. The interviewer was very impressive. He would ask me a question (everything from “could you please describe the lifestyle of your family” to “what do you look for in a snack”), I’d give a brilliant-I’m-sure answer and then he’d immediately ask another question perfectly pertaining to my previous answer. For FOUR STRAIGHT HOURS. We had a couple of breaks in the monotony. I gave them a tour of the pantry and the fridge. (He had me explain how I compare ingredients and health facts on the boxes/bags of food in addition to why I bought certain brands/products). And then we took a field trip down to the grocery store. (And yes, the camera didn’t accompany us for that part). By that point in the afternoon, I still wasn’t totally sure what the whole thing was about or what they were looking for, so I just went ahead and supplied him with a nonstop commentary while we walked up and down the aisles of Safeway. It was kind of like when I was in therapy – I made his job pretty easy. Although, thinking back, I realize all the ridiculously pointless facts that I supplied for him. (“I prefer this string cheese to this one because of…” “See, I only buy that when it’s on sale…”). When I was done with my store tour, he took me back to the snack aisle and asked several questions about packaging.
A couple of times during the interview, when he asked about different chips, I said, “if this is for Flat Earth – you guys scored ‘cuz I LOVE those chips. They’re the only ones that I buy on a fairly regular basis.” Which is completely true and it turned out, yep, the study was for Flat Earth.
When we got back to the house, they took CHEESY still shots of me putting away my groceries and holding up my 1st grade art collage. He loved the added creativity of the Diet Pepsi can hanging off the bottom. And it turns out, Frito-Lay (makers of Flat Earth) also own Diet Pepsi. I was their dream girl.
We went back to the living room where the best – yet most painful – part of the interview took place. He brought out four different bags (and flavors) of the chips and basically had me perform a taste-test. It was painfully awkward as I heard myself say things like, “mmm…mmmhmmm…this chip is, well, it’s very approachable and not at all standoffish.” Did I seriously just say that? On camera?? And about a chip??? He asked questions like “what kind of emotions do you feel when you first open the bag?” “How do you like the bag design of this one versus that one?” (They all have a different background scene).
The whole time that I interviewed, Mike had done an exceptional job of keeping the boys quiet and out-of-the-picture (literally). But when the boys saw mommy sitting on the couch with four bags of open chips around her they were like “enough already! Let me at her!” Zach came and ate a chip. (I quietly reminded him: “Look at the camera and smile. Work it. Here’s your big break.”).
In the end, I received my fat payment for my time AND four bags of Flat Earth “veggie crisps”…which I highly recommend. (No, they’re not paying me to support their product….well, they did pay me but I’m not on commission). Apparently, they’re very approachable and not at all standoffish.