Tag Archives: impulse purchase

Lame Adventure 439: The Annual Halloween Scourge

As Halloween fast approaches, Jack O’Lanterns, black cats, creepy tales about ghosts and goblins abound. But my mind is drawn in the direction of something truly frightening. Something that has nothing to do with apparitions, zombies or cackling witches, but is infinitely more terrifying and gag-inducing:

Candy Corn

Candy Corn.

These pellets of tooth rotting mouth burn have been haunting the US and Canada since the 1880s. Made from all naturally bad ingredients — sugar, corn syrup, carnauba wax and artificial coloring, the National Confectioners Association estimates that 25 million pounds of this poison are sold annually.

Doomsday scenario: candy corn, roaches and rats inherit the earth.

Doomsday scenario: rats and roaches feeding on candy corn inherit the earth.

The name candy corn always sounded so appetizing to me as a child. I liked candy. I liked corn. I still like both candy and corn. But every time I ate candy corn I would feel bamboozled.

Me (as a child): This doesn’t taste anything like candy or corn! It tastes awful!

It was too sweet, too fake and if I ate more than two pieces at one time, I would feel like I had a sore throat for three days. To my sensitive palate, candy corn’s most prominent ingredient is irritation with tooth decay a close second. Possibly I am in the minority i.e., someone who is not drawn to foodstuffs that are derived from dual-purpose ingredients. Carnauba wax can also be used on cars, surfboards and to shine shoes. Shoe polish is more appetizing to me. I like its smell, not to imply that I’d also like it spread on a cracker.

As for candy corn’s artificial food coloring, what might it look like without it? Marlon Brando is famous for saying:

Marlon Brando: The most repulsive thing you could ever imagine is the inside of a camel’s mouth.

As I imagine what candy corn looks like in its natural state, hardened repugnant fluids are crossing my mind. I’d much rather take a gander deep down a camel’s gullet, but while wearing nose plugs.

As I think about rank scents, the overly sweet, cloying smell of candy corn is noxious to me. When I whiffed the contents of this bag of it …

Purchased from It's Sugar, first cousin of It's Tooth Decay.

Purchased from It’s Sugar, first cousin of It’s Cavities.

My eyes started watering and I suffered a wave of nausea. If Wayne Newton had been playing on the radio, I would have become physically ill.

It baffles me why something so toxic does not come with a Surgeon General’s warning. Anyone pregnant, nursing or would like to live beyond age sixty should not eat this cacophony of bad chemistry. I looked at a cross section of a piece of one where the bottom fell out. It appeared stuffed with something. My first guess is bad vibes. My second is the active ingredient in toenail fungus.

Candy corn innards.

Candy corn innards channeling Dr. Scholl.

Considering that 25 million pounds of this blight is sold annually, someone must do the unthinkable: eat it. How can this be? Who are these people? Could it be scoring a big hit with small fry who have underdeveloped taste buds? Or, the elderly who are so heavily medicated that their taste buds are obliterated? Who likes these toxic lumps? I want to know. Are they inbred, do they have the intellectual acuity of a small soap dish, do they hail from the town of Stepford?

25 million pounds is 12,500 tons. The Statue of Liberty weighs 125 tons. Who in the US and Canada is contributing to ingesting the equivalent of one hundred statues of liberty made out of sugar, car wax and artificial food coloring instead of the infinitely tastier combination of copper and steel? Here’s a scary thought: could I know someone that eats candy corn? I must, but who could that be? Neither of my parents were candy corn eaters. My dad liked peanuts and my mother, cheese. My siblings and niece are not candy corn eaters, either, and my brother-in-law, Herb, likes waffles. I’m a product of a completely candy corn-free family. But someone in my orbit must be doing his or her part to keep candy corn thriving ever since Grover Cleveland was president. Confounded, I vented my frustration about this bottomless pit of orange, yellow and white scourge haunting every Halloween to my trusted confidant, my best friend, Milton. He responded to my tirade with a photo of his desk at his Grind.

Milton's desk at his Grind.

Sucker punched.

Lame Adventure 225: Impulse Purchase

If I were inclined to access my inner weasel, I would blame Hurricane Irene holding me hostage in my apartment for almost the entirety of last weekend combined with the public transit shut down for my subsequent erratic behavior this week.  What did I do that was erratic?  I impulsively purchased a three pack of goat’s milk soap for $5.79 (excluding sales tax).  Every so often I walk into a store and it’s my turn to be bitten by that nasty little money-sucker, the impulse-shopping bug.  I’ll admit it, I don’t think Irene was a factor at all.

I had purposely gone to my grocer’s (Fairway on the Upper West Side) organic food department to purchase a tube of desperately needed toothpaste.  My preferred brand is Tom’s of Maine Whole Care Peppermint Gel.  Fairway sells this toothpaste for $3.99, a very good price for this product with its ever-inflating cost off-setting its ever-shrinking tube size (one of my pet peeves along with the announcement “new packaging” since that almost always means the consumer is paying more for less).  Before I entered the toothpaste aisle my eye caught the site of the friendly-faced goat on the soap’s wrapper.  If a three pack of soap could talk, I could almost hear it calling me by name.

Hi Chump!

This soap mesmerized me as much as porn surely intrigues a prison inmate.  I simply could not stop staring at that goat.  To fellow shoppers I must have looked either hypnotized or stoned, but I was neither (I like to think).

Quickly, I snapped out of my trance, went to the toothpaste aisle, and grabbed a tube, but before I could take my place in the checkout line, I could not control the urge to return to the goat’s milk soap section.  Possibly I was considering how much I enjoy eating goat milk cheese.  Being extremely lactose intolerant, I avoid cheeses made with cow’s milk unless they’re so sharp they taste like barbed wire.

This soap is so special it even impairs judgment.

When I noticed that this soap is available in my favorite fragrance, unscented, for people like me with extra sensitive pelts; that sealed the deal.  I entered the store only intending to buy just a single tube of toothpaste at the cheapest price I can find and exited with both that toothpaste and a three pack of soap made from the milk of a barnyard animal selling to the tune of almost $6.

I just hope this soap will be kinder to me than the juicer I impulsively purchased seven years ago, five years before I was diagnosed with esophagitis, gastritis and a hiatal hernia, prompting my gastroenterologist to advise me to delete all citrus beverages from my diet immediately since they were searing a hole the size of a dinner plate through my guts.

I did that to you?

Eventually, I will pass the juicer onto one of my friends.  Do I have any takers amongst the three most likely candidates – Martini Max, my sidekick, Greg, or you, Albee?  I might even toss in a bar of goat’s milk soap to sweeten the deal if one of you agrees to haul that suicide machine out of my sanctum sanctorum.