The Candy Aisle

I was at the grocery store the other day and I when I got to the checkout, for some reason, I don’t know why, I turned my head to the side, right at that wall of candy they always put next to every cashier. That’s so lame, what a cheap trick. It’s like, we’re already shopping at your store because, well, we have to. This is where we get food. And we’re just trying to do our thing, get our meat and veggies, our bread and juice and milk, whatever, take the money. But then we have to wait on line and get taunted by candy?


And I can’t even imagine what that’s got to be like for a mom or a dad, like if they’re raising little kids and can’t find somebody to watch them while they get the grocery shopping done. I remember being a little kid myself, I would be super bored having to walk through the whole grocery store with my mom, not watching TV, not playing with any of my action figures or Legos.

And once you finally get close to the end, you’re on line to check out, this time the waiting is worse, because you have to stare at this whole wall of candy taunting you, it’s saying, “Hey buddy, why don’t you ask your mom if you can buy some of us? We’re so tasty and sweet! Come on do it!” and you’re like, “Hey Mom. Mom? Mom. Mom! Mom! Mom!” and she’s like, “What? What is it?” and you’re like, “Mom. Can I get some candy?” And she’s like, “How many times do I have to tell you to stop asking me to buy candy? We’re not buying any candy!”

And then you look back at the candy, at those sugar covered peach rings and Skittles and giant peanut looking pink gummy things, and you’re like, “Sorry guys, my mom said no.” But they don’t stop. They start giggling, taunting, you’re thinking, what’s so funny? Are they laughing at me? They say, “No, we’re not laughing at you. We’re laughing because it’s so simple, just pick us up, put us on the conveyor belt. Your mom’s not going to see. And then after she pays, just take us out of the shopping bag and bring us up to your bedroom.”

So you look to your mom, she’s counting coupons or helping bag the groceries and you think, yeah, maybe I can get away with it. Maybe I’ll just go for the Sour Patch Watermelons here, and as long as the cashier slides them into the bag before … “Hey!” your mom saw you moving your arm toward the candy, “Don’t even think about it!”

And that’s the end of that. But I’m an adult now, I’m a man. I was at that grocery store the other day, I looked at that wall for the first time in I don’t know how long, and I heard the candy again, they were like, “Rob! What the hell man? You’re an adult now! You’re a man! You can buy all of us! Come on dude, don’t be such a pansy, buy every single one of us, go home, open all the bags at once, and start eating until you throw up. Do it! We’re not fucking around here!”

So I was like, all right, all right, I’m going to buy some candy. It was weird though, it all looked so much brighter and better when I was a little kid. None of this stuff was even name brand, it was all just random loose candy in a generic plastic pouch, nothing even had any labels on it, it was like these grocery people bought the stuff in bulk and put it out for sale in cheap-o individual packets.

And while, yes, the selection was huge, when you go to inspect just what’s available for purchase, it’s all kind of weird stuff. Like one of the bags were these individually wrapped colorless, clear hard candies. With no label, I couldn’t figure out what they’d taste like. I took the bag and brought it close to my face, seeing if the individual labels might not provide a hint. They said, “menthol.” That was it, menthol. What the hell is that? Isn’t that a cigarette flavor? It’s like, it’s not mint, but it’s cold like mint, and that’s it. What kind of a psychopath buys a whole bag of plain menthol hard candies?

I was getting a little freaked out, so I went for a trusted classic, some sour gummy worms. At least, I though it was a trusted classic. I got home and opened them up, they didn’t really taste like sour gummy worms. They tasted like cotton candy. Not even. They tasted like cotton candy flavored bubble gum. And the consistency was all off. Instead of being like chewy and gummy, they were soft and gooey, like fruit snacks, like a really warm fruit roll-up.

But I still ate the whole thing. And now my mouth hurts. It’s all dry. I drank like three glasses of water but it didn’t quench the thirst, it just made me overly full and nauseous. I went online and started searching, seeing if there wasn’t anything that might help alleviate my discomfort. “Try some menthol hard candies!” it said, and I was like, no fucking way, this ends right now. But the next time I was at the grocery store, I turned toward that candy wall, and the menthol candies started screaming out to me, they were talking in this hoarse old-lady voice, “Come on Rob! You know you’re going to do it! Don’t make me ask twice, because I’m in your head now, get ready, it’s all menthol for you from here on out! Pucker up baby!”