Restaurant reviewer? Politician? Air traffic controller? Please don't leave us hanging. I won't be able to concentrate properly on this thread until I know
The last party I was invited to was during a conference in Las Vegas. A drug company had rented out an entire exclusive night club, fed us a buffet with a prime rib cutting station, open bar, music, dancing, &c. In a certain ... "zone" (hard to say "room") of the club there was a benefits manager in a $2000 suit carefully and cheerfully explaining how to bill insurance companies for their new biologic therapy to the tune of $12,000 a treatment. Since you know how to bill, navigate the bureaucracy, so your facility will be properly reimbursed, there is no reason to not have our product on formulary, right?
There was easily >100 people at the club. This was after they couldn't gift us durables beyond pens and geegaws. A few years after this the definition of "meal gifts" was tightened down significantly.
So, while there is certainly the possibility of influence here, it strikes me more as "cute" than anything else. And, I'm not at all saying WotC isn't trying this to influence people. I'm sure they are. But... When they're meeting in San Diego, free food, busses to take the spouses shopping while you attend the conference, free tickets to Disneyland for your family, and the presentation is on a tablet that is yours to keep, then
I'll be thinking more of corruption. But, my scale may be a bit skewed, and who knows what swag they'll be presented with?