Tue 24 Jan 2012
I open the box in some excitement.
I have been sent some exclusive crisps by a Public Relations company. As a key influencer within the online internet sphere, I am regularly offered free products to try, namely and in total – since this Private Secret Diary started in 2004 – a DVD of ‘Third Rock from the Sun’ which only plays on machines in North America, and a magnetic penis ring.
I should state at this point that I do not always take up the offers with which I am presented.
The crisps are in plain white wrappers. They are mystery exclusive crisps!!! I experience a certain thrill at this; one of the key benefits of being a major A-list blogger is that you do sometimes get to see new things before civilians. (nb I am using the term ‘civilians’ like actors do, as a shorthand way of describing people who are not A-list bloggers/actors, it is just a term and not at all intended to be offensive or dismissive, it merely saves time that’s all). I set them aside for my lunch.
At lunchtime, I eat some crisps. They are delicious. This is a bit annoying, as if I am going to influence the online internet sphere it is not much fun if it is in a positive sense. The following day, I eat the second packet. These ones are not delicious, but they are all right; it is not as if they are the PR-supplied exclusive crisp equivalent of something that only plays on machines in North America/keeps slipping off.
It puts me in a dilemma. I have told the public relations company that they are welcome to send me free crisps, but that they should not expect me to say anything about them, and if I do say anything then it will be brutally honest. But saying ‘the crisps are nice’ is the worst of both worlds, as it is brutally honest but looks as if I am just saying it in return for free exclusive crisps, which is unfair on my journalistic standards. I try to envisage what George Orwell/Christopher Hitchens ect ect would have done in the same circumstances, but no inspiration strikes.
A couple of days later, I decide to write about the crisps after all. As an A-list blogger I may be blasé about my biennial insights into major new product development launches, but I should not forget that others may be keen to share in this.
I sit down at the computer to compose my thoughts. As I ponder, the Postman arrives with a parcel. Inside are some more crisps, this time in normal wrappers, along with a letter thanking me and saying that the crisps will be on general release to non A-list bloggers now.
They have released my exclusive crisps to the hoi-polloi and chavs!!! It is infuriating. This is the danger of flirting with public relations companies. You take the Devil’s hand with the best of intentions and the next minute the DJ is spinning ‘YMCA’.