Halloween candy conspiracy
By: By Lisa Smartt
There’s a conspiracy in America. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t warn all readers out there. It’s called the “Halloween Candy Conspiracy.” Buyer beware.
The conspiracy unfolds in early September. Aisles and aisles of Halloween candy surface in every major retail outlet. Wait! Isn’t it a bit early to be selling Halloween candy? Oh no. It’s all part of the twisted little plan the conspirators use to snare innocent shoppers into a whirlwind of irrational caffeine-induced shopping behavior. It starts with a sign that proclaims, “SALE! STOCK UP NOW! Was: $3.69. Now: $2.99.” Seeing the sale sign, one immediately says, “Gosh, I better grab a few bags of Snickers and M&M’s. I’d hate to be caught off guard in eight weeks, when I’ll actually be needing the candy for trick-or-treaters or school parties.” People from all walks of life naively take home four bags of candy on a typical Tuesday afternoon in early September. They put it on the top shelf of the pantry. Everything is fine … fine until the next day at about 4:30 p.m. Then it hits. It’s that horrible “I have to have chocolate” yearning. I’m convinced there are times a woman would sell her car for a Hershey bar … but, of course, that’s not necessary. Thanks to the Halloween candy sale, there’s a luring sound coming from the pantry door. Sure. She could eat a banana. It would be so simple. But no. The Snickers bag gets opened. It’s all over but the crying.
A week later the same shopper is back at the local retail outlet. All four bags of candy purchased last week are gone and the shopper is determined to buy nothing but the absolute necessities. But there it is. Aisles and aisles of chocolate candy. This time it’s no longer $2.99/bag. Oh no. The conspirators have it marked down to $2.50. A huge sign reminds every shopper, “IT WON’T LAST!” Now there’s an understatement.
Determined to get a good deal on Halloween candy, the naïve shopper once again buys the candy. This time there is pure determination in her eyes. She hides the bags high above the towels and toilet paper in the guest bathroom closet. She is determined not to get within 10 feet of the candy until the first doorbell ring on Oct. 31. Day one passes. No transgression. Day two passes with no problem. On Day 3 the devious little kids say, “Mom, can’t we just have one piece of the Halloween candy?” Resolve crumbles. She innocently says, “Gee, it won’t hurt to just give them a piece or two, would it?” Let’s see. I’ll just open a bag of the M&M’s. Within four days, all candy is history.
Our naïve friend returns once again to the retail outlet. This time she decides to walk in and head straight for the light bulb aisle. She won’t get near the candy. As she walks through the parking lot she says under her breath, “I’ll just pass out kiwi fruit to all the neighborhood kids. What kid doesn’t love kiwi?” When she walks in the front door, she is hit in the face by a large shelf of chocolate candy positioned right by the entrance. A sign the size of Delaware proclaims, “Candy Sale. $1.50/bag. BARGAIN! BARGAIN! BARGAIN!”
Does our shopper see the sign and flee? Oh no. She says aloud, “Gee! $1.50/bag? That IS a bargain! I guess it IS insensitive to give the neighborhood kids kiwi fruit. I’ll just pick up a few bags of Butterfingers.”
And so it goes. A terrible cycle of gloom and doom. Before it’s all said and done, the average American spends approximately $79 on Halloween candy and an additional $200 on bigger jeans. And what about those darling little trick-or-treaters? They get stuck with Starlight mints left over from last year’s Christmas party.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger on 10.17.07
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