If you are stopping by for my monthly Foodie Pen Pals Chopped Challenge, it’s not here.
And not for lack of effort. I dragged my wiggly toddler to the post office more than a handful of times to check the PO Box, but alas the box never arrived. My FPP Laurel mailed it on the 15th, but without tracking, so it’s anyone’s guess where the box is right now. All I know for sure is, it’s not here.
At the risk of being kicked out of the program, I’d like to spend today having a brief but frank discussion about Foodie Pen Pals, a program I really really enjoy and highly recommend you all give a shot at least once.
The haps is this:
You sign up at The Lean Green Bean.
You get matched with two other FPP’s on the 5th of the month.
You are to contact your FPP within 3 days.
You are to mail your FPP a box by the 15th.
A box arrives to you from a different FPP than you sent to.
Simple as that, right?
Yeah, except it isn’t always. On the rare occasion, mistakes do happen. When the program works exactly as designed, it’s perfect. But as FPP grows over the years, so does one crucial exponentially increasing variable. People. People are not perfect and don’t always do as they are supposed to do in the time frame they are supposed to do it.
For the record this is the first time since last April I have not received a box by the end of the month. Also for the record, my sweet FPP has offered to re-mail me a box. She’s a peach. Maybe it’ll contain peaches. Who knows? That’s part of the fun.
But this is not the first time I’ve had some minor issues.
And I do mean minor.
Last June I had a difficult time getting in touch with either of my pen pals. I had to e-mail the girl I was to send to numerous times before hearing back from her. Her mom was sick, so no judgement here, but it just illustrates how many variables go into this program. She read my e-mails just chose not to respond to me. The girl who was to send to me never e-mailed me at all and I had to search her out. Communication from her was less than stellar and, while the box did arrive just before the end of the month deadline, I felt like I was begging for it.
Another month, my initial e-mails to my FPP went into his spam folder and it took us a few days to get in touch with one another. He initially complained about me to TLGB which annoyed me as I’m very punctual and you can absolutely count on me to follow through with my obligations. Seriously, not a huge deal though. We connected and I sent him the world’s best brownie.
This month I never received my box, but I also had a heck of a time on the other end as well. I e-mailed Liz, the girl I was to send to, several times with no response. I finally had to contact TLGB and she intervened. I received only one e-mail response from a very confused Liz who did not understand the program and thought she was to send to me. Never heard from her again. I did hear from Bethany, the girl Liz was designated to send to, who was also having Liz troubles. With approval from TLGB, Bethany and I bypassed Liz altogether and I mailed a box to Bethany instead.
I’m actually quite glad for this change as Bethany has been super nice and it’s worked out perfectly. We have chatted quite a bit now and I’ve even learned some things. For instance, if your pet tortoise has a fever it requires special injections every three days to cure. I am all kinds of curious about tortoises now (I do have a small boy who could very well someday want a pet tortoise after all). I’m waiting on an e-mail back with how one knows the tortoise has a fever in the first place (do you feel its forehead? I have no idea) and will keep you updated. Maybe I can even get Bethany to send some pictures and write up a tortoise guest post.
I kinda want a pet tortoise now. And by kinda I mean desperately.
Foodie Pen Pals clearly has some fringe benefits.
My friend Bethany (I know two Bethanys now so SCORE) who blogs at One Girl’s Taste on Life had a rough FPP patch and a month where she never received a package in return at all.
I tweeted the other day about how I wouldn’t have an FPP post this month and one of my Twallowers tweeted back about her last FPP month receiving a wet, moldy and crumbling box. Whether this was the FPP’s fault or the carriers fault, all I am saying is mistakes happen sometimes. People. Such variables.
As a SAHM I enjoy the structured challenge of Foodie Pen Pals. There are deadlines to focus on and boxes to construct and customize and for me, a Chopped Challenge to devise and execute. Besides, getting local foods from places I will probably never visit is all kinds of fun.
I’ve also met some great blogger pals. Calee of Life Plus Running? She was the first FPP I ever sent to and both my husband and I now consider her a virtual friend. If we ever met in person there would be drinks and music. Lots and lots of music. She does a Sweet Tunes Thursday The Husband is ADDICTED to.
I love Foodie Pen Pals and will continue to be a Foodie Pen Pal for as long as possible.
I just wanted to comment on the other stuff because I feel no one ever does. I have yet to read an FPP post where issues aren’t glossed over. Issues happen. It’s okay to talk about them. It doesn’t mean the program is at fault, it just means it needs more great people like you to join to make it even better. Yes, readers too. Readers are great Foodie Pen Pals!
I will let you know when my box arrives and maybe do something even cooler with it this month. Just a little later than normal.
P.S. A big thanks to The Lean Green Bean for organizing Foodie Pen Pals in the first place. I cannot imagine how much time and effort it takes on her part to keep things running.
P.P.S. Spring for tracking people. It’s like a buck.
Question of the Day: If you could have local food mailed to you from anywhere, where would it be?