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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Today In The Candy Aisle ...

I'm going to the movies tonight and that means all my ninja stealth will be needed, as well as my brain's latent criminal tendencies. It also predisposes that I'll be wearing cargo pants ... not always fashionable but a necessity for the type of "caper" I'm about to pull off.

See, at the core of my being I'm a cheap bastard. I simply refuse to pay $3.50 for something that retails for "two for a buck" at the nearest "dollar store." Yes, I'm no better than a profiteering coyote at the U.S.-Mexican border. But instead of assisting any of the more than 500,000 estimated illegal immigrants who make that jaunt annually, I'm helping ounce after ounce (caution: this product may settle after shipment) of lemony goodness go from box to belly without the theatre ushers being any the wiser.

Yes, fine citizens ... I'm talking about the smuggling of Lemonheads.

In the early '60s, execs at the Ferrara Pan Candy Company were in a lather. The company's signature confection ... Red Hots ... had the collective gastrointestinal attention of the country. But not everyone liked "spicy candy," so in 1962 company formulators decided to create a sour citrus nugget using the same "panned process" that builds candy from a central piece with careful layers of flavor and texture. Today, Ferrera Pan produces HALF A BILLION Lemonheads to meet demand.

Some conspiracy theorists ... well, just me actually ... believe that Lemonheads are the result of a secret government experiment where aggressive killer bees were given a diet of pure sugar cane and unrefined carnauba wax and then doused with heavy squirts of Lemon Pledge (SC Johnson, a family company). Regardless, when I was a child I received a small box of the little yellow pellets in my Halloween take. I popped some of that "waxy sunshine" into my mouth and soon my smile was as big as the little Lemonhead dude used in the company's packaging and promotions.

And not only have Lemonheads forced me to turn to larceny and deception ... the little balls of cheek-aching sweetness have caused me to occasionally abandon monogamy for a wanton lifestyle of candy debauchery. I confess that I have cheated with Orangeheads on occasion. I have given in to desire and had dalliances with dark and seductive Grapeheads. And though I am ashamed to admit it, I have even greeted a new day with Appleheads on my breath ... knowing that a loyal and trusting box of Lemonheads sits 20 feet away in a cubboard. Oh, the shame!!

POINT OF RANT: I'm not the only criminal in this story. A two-liter bottle (roughly 64 fl. oz.) of Pepsi is about $1.50 at the market. A large soda at the movies (usually a 30-32 fl. oz. range) is $4 or more. That's more than a 430 percent mark-up!!

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