Or rather, this is not a sponsored post (with apologies to anyone who now has “This is not a love song” by PIL in their heads as today’s ear-worm from the play on the post title)

I got my first Klout perk in the mail Tuesday afternoon. I’d forgotten I’d even claimed it when offered, so I was quite surprised to receive a package I hadn’t been tracking online from an order receipt.

Before I go on, let me be 100% transparent and clear:
I am under no obligation to blog about the perks I receive, and will not get any additional benefit for talking about said perk. You can read more about the Klout perk disclosure as well as what perks are, along with the influencer code of ethics here: http://corp.klout.com/perks/disclosure

So, the Perk I received? It was a sample package of Fair Trade Certified products. Presumably this was in support of “Fair Trade Month” in October. I was eligible for this perk because my Klout score was above a particular level, and because one of my topics is “food”, as I am a bit of a gastronome. While I am not as deeply passionate as many are about changing our current consumption model, I do identify the need to really look at what we call “food” and from where said food comes.

So, what came in the box of goodies? Here’s a run down:

Now, in the spirit of continued transparency: I only normally buy one of these product categories, and can say it will take a lot to get me to switch from my current roaster choice: Stumptown Coffee, who boast a “direct trade” business practice which at least on the outside seems like a good thing to me even though it doesn’t talk to the same things which Fair Trade covers. A second product is one we’d pick up now and again (the quinoa), and the rest are items I just don’t purchase. Because of that, I gave Jean free reign over the contents to bring with her to work and share among her colleagues. Not surprisingly, the teas and chocolate bar all made their way to her office.

So I’m not going to cover the quality of the products since I’d have very little basis of comparison even if I did use them (and will need to wait until next week to cover the coffee quality since I am mid-pound with my current Stumptown Hair Bender bag). What I can say about the benefit of this perk is that it has urged me to look at Fair Trade Certified products with a little more understanding as to what that means based on the flyer provided in the package along with the fair trade website linked above. But, I’m much more of a proponent for keeping my money and business local, so if presented with the choice of fair trade or local products, I’m likely to choose local long before fair trade certified. And, since I live just outside Portland, Oregon I know that a good number of our local businesses are quite likely to use Fair Trade Certified products, covering both bases.

All that said, the above listed products are indeed all Fair Trade certified, so if you find yourself using other products in the same categories, perhaps you will think about what Fair Trade means to the farms and farmers making the products you’re buying, and perhaps you’ll check out the products which are fair trade certified and make the switch knowing the small change you make can have a big impact in the life of someone half a world away.

I said in the beginning that this is not a sponsored post, and truly it isn’t. This post is brought to you by my meager social consciousness and desire to be a good blogger. It gave me some content on a slow week and I’d feel bad if I didn’t acknowledge receiving the perk. That said, I do have another Klout perk coming soon from RedBull, which likely won’t get its own blog post since I’ve stopped buying them in favour of 5 Hour Energy when I am on my motorcycle trips (since the 5 Hour Energys are substantially less fluid volume). And honestly, after Felix Baumgartner’s RedBull Stratos jump, I doubt they need the small amount of influencer driven mentions I’d give them, either positive or negatively tinged. But I will hang on to the free 4-pack I am getting for those rough days at work when I need a kickstart.

So, I guess that maybe, somehow, some good can come from Klout after all. I’m still not a believer in the scoring, but I am indeed enjoying at least one perk today.

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