Why You Don’t Want To Deliver To A Trapper

I suppose every United Parcel Service driver has his day.   Today appeared to be just such a day for my local area driver.

Poor guy, I’m sure his day started out much like any other day.   He probably received morning instructions from his manager.   Completed some office work as required.   Then hopped into his pre-loaded truck to begin the daily route.

It’s about the time the driver stepped into his truck he probably first took notice this was not going to be just an ordinary day.   Nope, no longer.   You see, this driver has a sportsman on his delivery route.   Oh, and not just a regular sportsman either, mind you.   It was today that my UPS driver painfully realized that he delivers packages to a trapper.

Yesterday I placed an order online for some trapping supplies.   Usually I buy stuff locally at a trapping supply house, but there are just some things you have to order from other sources.   In this case, I opted to order some red fox and coyote urine.

You can probably guess where this post is going…but I would expect you to be wrong in those assumptions.   No, the urine did not bust out of its container en route to my location.   No, from what I could tell not a single drop escaped into the very secure packaging.   Truth is, the reason I buy these fluids from this particular supplier is they have the good stuff.   It absolutely reeks…and that is exactly how a trapper likes it.

Unfortunately, that is not how a UPS driver likes it.   He jumped out of his truck carrying my package faster than I had ever seen him move before.   Had this been a cartoon he most assuredly would have had a clothespin pinching his nose shut to provide some relief from the overpowering stench.   I’m sure that thought had crossed his mind several times earlier in the day.

I stuck my head out of the house and informed him to set the package near the garage.   As payback he wanted to bring it to the house…I said “no way.”   Honestly, I was 20 yards away and I could already smell his pain.   A good animal urine purchased from a reputable trapping supply house will always be pungent, especially in confined spaces.

Indeed, it’s days like this my delivery guy really earns his keep.   All joking aside, I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant for him to ride around for several hours in a truck that smelled more like a predator scent post.   His complaining was well disguised as some joking banter back and forth.

I guess the timing just wasn’t right for me to share the other news with him.   Yeah, I forgot to order the fish oil…a substance more rancid smelling than predator pee.   Yup, that package should be coming later this week.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Be Careful As Blogger Outreach By Brands Can Influence Opinion

Let me be perfectly clear…I like FREE things just as much as the next person.   If someone offers me some new hunting gear to try…most times I say “heck yeah!”   When an outdoors company tries to reach out to me by inviting me to some sponsored event…they certainly grab my attention very quickly.

Point is, bloggers are becoming an increasingly important cog in the marketing mechanism and if you post words to a blog—no matter what the blog’s emphasis may be—sooner or later opportunity will come knocking.

In full disclosure, over the years I have attended my share of sponsored trips.   I’ve also received my fair share of nifty products to test and to evaluate (with sponsor hopes I would eventually write about it).   To be honest, I even had an opportunity next weekend to fly to New York for a sponsored event that would have been loaded with fun and activity.   I graciously turned them down.   Why?   Because as a blogger I believe you need to carefully pick and choose your activities or you fall victim to being a corporate puppet.

When you know a company is investing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in trying to woo your positive opinion to their advantage it’s only human nature to feel somewhat indebted.   When testing a product you can give it a fair evaluation…and then return it.   Yet, with sponsored activities there is no way to return the airfare, the lodging, the food and all the other incidental expenses along the way.   It leaves a blogger feeling somewhat pressured to be an ambassador of the company whether or not deep down they really want to.

I feel it’s important for blog readers to understand when the blogger they are reading has strong marketing ties to a #sponsor.   Not only is such disclosure mandated by the Federal Trade Commission, but it’s also simple journalistic courtesy.  (Be sure to read my blog’s disclosure statement HERE)BloggerDreaming

The days when journalists self-pay for their own expenses while on assignment seem to be disappearing rather quickly.   And that’s okay, but readers need to understand the dynamics of reporting has changed over the past few decades.   Often times, what reads like pure journalism of days of old is now quite blurred with a gray line when a blogger is truly more akin to a pro-staffer representing a corporate entity.

So, why is all this important?   Honestly, I feel from time to time it’s critical for a blog’s readers to understand their blogger’s philosophy on the topic.   As you’ve learned, I don’t go on every trip that is offered to me nor do I accept every piece of hunting or fishing gear that could come my way.   I get several offers trying to get me involved with companies each week, but I feel it important to be selective about such relationships.

On the other hand, I do believe there are bloggers out there who will use their Internet platform to harvest every opportunity that comes their way.   They feel no shame in sacrificing unbiased content for the rewards reaped on them by a brand’s blogger outreach program.   That’s a choice they make.

The next time you scrutinize any blog post talking about a product or a brand ask yourself why it was written the way it was.   Did the blogger owe those kind words, or was it truly coming from the heart?   Moreover, ask questions.   If the blogger failed to disclose a sponsorship relationship don’t just assume that none exists.   Sadly, some bloggers still don’t understand the obligation they have to their readers to be honest and upfront about such things.

No, it is quite doubtful I have gone on my last sponsored outing or accepted a final product looking for my expert testing and evaluation.   Yet, I promise such opportunities are each carefully considered on its merits to see how the experience might add or detract from my blogging task.   I have too much integrity for the writing craft to accept some opportunity that holds future expectations of a positive endorsement when one isn’t rightfully deserved.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.