Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Candy Companies: The trick's on us

Happy Halloween everybody! It's a relatively nice day here on Long Island and a great day for all of those little trick or treaters to go out and do their thing. Being that the holiday falls on a Saturday and the weather forecast called for unseasonably warm temperatures, I figured there'd be lots of princesses, ghosts, vampires, and bumblebees knocking on my door and I wanted to be prepared, but when I woke up this morning I was unpleasantly surprised by what I found. Warning: this is a rant!

On one of my regular jaunts to Target a couple of weeks ago, I decided to pick up my Halloween candy a little early. In the past, this would've been a dangerous thing since I'd always be sure to dip into the stored bags of goodies so much so that I'd have to pick up some more right before Halloween. But these days I'm a lot more disciplined when it comes to eating candy. When I brought it home, I left the bags of candy inside the plastic store bag and threw it into a drawer, not even thinking about it again until this morning.

When I went to Target, I had armed myself with coupons for Halloween candy. I can never bring myself to buy the cheap stuff...I wouldn't want to get that junk if I was trick or treating, so I would never want to give it out either. I had coupons for Hershey's Kisses and Mr. Goodbar, Kit Kat bars, Reeses, and all those other candy delectables I love to eat. Needless to say when I went to the seasonal candy section of the store I became confused.

As with seemingly all products on the market today, there are a plethora of choices for the shopper to make when deciding on a purchase. No longer do you need to decide between Crest and Colgate, but the mind-boggling choices of whitening formula, baking soda, advanced enamel protection, extra cavity fighting, healthy gum formulas, and all the other specialty offerings, in either gel or paste form no less, always causes me to spend a lot more time in each section than I would normally like to spend. It's just so downright confusing! Choices can be good, but this is ridiculous!

I figured my Halloween candy purchase would be simple. Just grab a couple of bags, take my coupon, pay and go. As I expected, this same multi-choice phenomenon exists in the world of candy. I had no idea there were so many different varieties of Hershey Kisses, but that wasn't my problem. The Kisses, peanut butter cups, 3 Musketeers and practically everything else came in a variety of different sized bags, the cheapest was "on sale" at $3.99 a bag. The store's shelves were packed to the gills with bags sold by the piece (a 52-piece bag for $6.99, a 100-piece bag for $9.99), by the size of the individual candies (super-mini sized, big bite size), and some were sold simply by weight (and these bags are a lot smaller than they used to be!).

I realized this morning how all of these "convenient" varieties offered by the candy companies are simply an elaborate ruse to rip me off by confusing me. After spending about a half hour in the department, I finally ended up buying four bags of the traditional (?) sized bags of my favorite candies at $3.99 each (My coupons weren't good for any other type bag!). I took out my Halloween bowl that I always use to set by the front door and opened up the bags. By the time I had finished opening the bags and putting the candy into the bowl, I immediately became infuriated. The bowl is not a large one, about the size of a large soup bowl, and it wasn't even half full! Sixteen dollars worth of candy and I'm probably going to end up running out for more later!

So while we're handing out treats to our little Frankenstein's, goblins, witches, and hobos, the candy companies are playing the tricks on us. Why do we need so many choices? The only reason I can think of is a clever scheme they've come up with to confuse and conquer. This needs to stop!

There, I feel better!

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