My First (and last) Experience with Foodie Pen Pals

Today I write this post with a heavy heart. I was so excited to sign up for The Lean Green Bean’s Foodie Pen Pals this month. For those of you who don’t know, this is how it works: You get assigned another person (a reader or a blogger) to send a foodie care package to. A different person will send a package to you and all the bloggers blog about their experience on the last day of the month.

For August, I had to send Janet, a reader from NY, a package. Another reader, whom I will leave as anonymous, was assigned to give something to me. Janet was an awesome recipient. She took some awesome pictures of the stuff I sent her and even wrote a mini-post that I could show my readers. It just makes my heart melt that she enjoyed everything so much and took the time to do that. Even Brenton lit up when he saw the picture of her German Shepard with the goodies (he grew up with them and that’s his favorite breed).

Here is what my pen pal, Janet, wrote about the package I sent her:

This month I was excited to receive my foodie penpal package from Alysha. I was thrilled to see my mail carrier bring me my package when I was sitting outside for my yard sale. What a great time to get these snacks. I told Alysha my love for chocolate and was thrilled to see the Chocolove candy bar. My daughter and I were only going to take one bite but we finished it. I never had that kind of bar before oh so tasty! The fruit crunches did not make it in the house either. We finished that off too!! I didn’t even tell Alysha my love of lemon. She made some fabulous lemon curd. In her letter she mentioned how she spread the curd on zucchini bread. That night I made some zucchini bread and enjoyed the lemon curd.The granola and bars were great too. I am going to use the dip mix this weekend. Thank you Alysha for being such an awesome foodie penpal!

I thought it was awesome that Janet baked zucchini bread that night to go with my homemade lemon curd.

A Cautionary Tale

But this experience is only half of what happened. See, I don’t have anything to show you guys today because my foodie pen pal did not come through at all. When you sign up for Foodie Pen Pals (which is completely voluntary), you have to abide by many rules. One is contacting your pen pal within 72 hours. After 4 days, I still hadn’t heard from my pen pal (the girl who had me) so I contacted her myself and the organizer. Anonymous finally emailed me and said she was having computer issues. I gave her my address and said no worries.

According to the rules, you have to mail your pen pal a package by August 15 so they have enough time to blog about it. On the 16th, anonymous emailed me and said she was getting married in 9 days, she was so stressed and overwhelmed and didn’t have my address anyway (which was a lie, she did have it). I then emailed her back and said it was fine she was going to be late, but I still needed to blog about the experience (keep in mind she is just a reader, not a blogger herself, so she didn’t have to do this part). I then emailed the organizer who said maybe it would still come.

It didn’t. And I knew it wouldn’t. I sympathize with her because I bet this is a stressful time for her, but she signed up for it. No one asked her to over-extend herself. And because of her, I will never sign up for something like this again. It’s just not fair to others who go to all this trouble only to get nothing in return. And yes, I think the light at the end of the tunnel was Janet. It really makes me happy that she enjoyed her gift so much, which makes this whole experience easier to handle.

I keep thinking, what would Carol do? She blogs over at Lucky Zucca and she is the most positive person I know. She’s definitely a person I look up to in the blog world and I think she would focus on the positive (making another person happy) over her own dismay (not getting anything in return). Still, the little girl inside me is disappointed and I’m still coming to terms with whether or not it’s right to feel this way. Does it make me selfish? Should I be happy enough just doing things for other people?

I don’t know.

I actually wasn’t sure if I wanted to share my story about Foodie Pen Pals with the world. But I also don’t want to lie to my readers and pretend everything is roses and sunshine when it’s not. In no way do I want to disrespect Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean because I truly think this is a cool idea. I just happen to be the 1 in 1,000 where it went totally wrong. For those who want to participate in something like this in the future, just be cautious that this could happen.

On a lighter note, I hope everyone has a fabulous holiday weekend. I cannot wait for Brittney and Ryan’s wedding on Sunday. I met Brittney through the blog world and I’m so honored to be apart of her special day.

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Welcome to She's on the Run! I'm Alysha, a copywriter and food writer living in Milwaukee. I live to run, write and explore wonderful food - this blog is how I find balance while constantly being on the run. Feel free to reach me at Alysha@shesontherun.com with any questions or comments.
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