This morning I turned on my computer and saw this video. It’s worth watching. I was one of the 1,400 women at BlogHer, and I always find an outsider’s view interesting.
I immediately sent an email off to him and it was followed up by a phone call. Michael Schott is a writer in Chicago and he was kind enough to allow me to ask five follow up questions. I’m going to publish without editorial. He’s clearly a bright man, and I’d like you to hear his voice, both on video and in print.
1. Your You Tube Video talks about the quality of the food at BlogHer. Do you stand behind that?
I don’t eat a lot of Pepsico/Frito-lay/Quaker oats products, but I
don’t remember all of it tasting so bad. I suspect Pepsico is
tightening its dozens of belts, like everyone else, and cutting back
on quality with cheaper processing and additives, along with newly
designed packaging of course. Everyone has their own definition of
quality food, but to me that stuff is garbage. A girl I was working
with was literally hording all the free samples she could into
shopping bags, backpacks, pockets, whatever she could find. She was
planning to throw a party and feed it to her friends. I figured she
must not think too highly of her friends. The buffet was okay,
though- most of the food was really rich and loaded with fat, but
that’s the kind of food you eat at a conference- It’s all part of the
celebratory atmosphere, and I’m all for it.
2. When did you find out what the job was? A day before, an hour before?
We had an hour training session the day before, where we were all
assigned our sections- and given packets of “key messaging,” full of
incomplete sentences, typos and phrases that would have made anyone
sound like a mis-programmed robot: “Did you know that smart food is a
good source of calcium AND”
3. Do you have regrets and/or remorse about the video?
I think that will probably be my first and last video. It was a mix
of getting bit by the blogging bug while working the conference,
always wanting to have tried it out and finally feeling like I had
something to blog about. A lot of that hostility was simply from
being on my feet for 12 hours a day, wearing a fake smile and having
neurotic managers to answer to. I don’t regret making the video, but
I feel kind of misunderstood. I get it that that corporate
sponsorship pays for most of these things, but I was just wishing out
loud that there could be some other way. I didn’t know much about
Blogher going in, but I was hoping that it would be more a community
of women devoted to social causes, artistic pursuits and
environmental responsibility than a court of pure consumerism and
self-gratification from corporations acting like jesters, vying for
the favor of upper class American females.
4. Really? Did all those bottles need to go into the landfill? I’m so sad… say it ain’t so.
There is some hope. I didn’t see any bottles go into the landfill.
When we were cleaning up at the end, we were told to stack all the
recycling boxes with the bags of trash going to the dumpster. There
certainly weren’t any Pepsico reps there to make sure things were
recycled. For me, the verdict is out, and the burden of proof still
lies with Pepsico.
5. There must have been an endearing moment you caught, tell me about it.
The only real work I did was the last half-hour when a guy from the Chicago Food Depository came with huge, empty containers to fill with all the product that we didn’t manage to shove into people’s faces. It was a heartening moment to fill all of those boxes with a truckloads of food and drinks, even if it was junk.
[This post was written by Jessica Gottlieb.]