When one moves to a new place there are a few important things to locate. You should know where your local hospital is. You need to find a grocery store because the alternative to that is either hunting or gathering, neither of which I would be good at, or starving to death.
Most importantly, though, you need to find a place to buy your candy.
Having been in Nashville for two weeks now, I had not located a great candy place. I had seen many places to buy candy, but these all tended to be sketchy gas station that were more prone to advertise their discount tobacco than a great deal on taffy.
Being the adult that I am, I was okay with this. The days of me wishing to spend every cent I have on candy have long passed. Once you hit 25, I figure you should stop caring about candy and begin to eat more sensible things like granola or salmon filets. You cannot have enough fiber or Omega-3 fatty acids, after all.
In fact, I had not once thought about my lack of candy since I had moved here. I had been far too distracted by my attempts to figure this city out. Wondering how a city block full of nice, classic mini-mansions could be next to a block of city projects was enough for a person’s brain to explode. That paired with the strange things life brings you allowed very little space for contemplating Pop Rocks.
Then one day, I had followed my wife and sister to the Opry Mills mall. I do not know what had brought me there. I did not have a need for pants or food court cookies, but nonetheless I was there, dodging families and wondering why mannequins are always amputees.
As I passed my 330th plate glass window, I glanced out of the corner of my eye. There, sitting in plain sight, sat the biggest Reese’s Cup I had ever seen. It was next to a three-foot long pack of Twizzlers and a Laffy Taffy the size of a shoe box.
I entered the doorway, unsure of what I would find. Bins sat as far as the eye could see. Off to the left were a plethora of t-shirts resembling the wrapper of Sugar Daddies. Giant chocolate syrup bottles lined the wall.
My uneventful trip to the mall had led me to something unexpected. I had stumbled onto what could only be described as Candy Nirvana.
The three of us went our separate ways. My wife headed towards any and everything that looked like it could resemble chocolate. My sister made a bee-line to the sugar-free candy. While they were busy with their child’s play, though, I was set to take on an adult venture.
Across the store sits several large plastic bins full of bulk candy. In most of these, you will find an assortment of various gummy candies. Gummy spiders, gummy snakes, gummy fried eggs. Anything you have ever wanted to find in a gummy form can be found here. Throughout my years on this planet, I have fancied myself a bit of a connoisseur of gummy candies. I quickly grabbed a bag and got to work. There was no time to waste if I was going to try them all.
I made my way around the bins, picking one of each. A giant strawberry gummy and a large, purple gummy tarantula made their way into my bag. Off to the side, two employees watched me as if I had set off the candy thief alarm in their heads. What did I care? I had 9,000 more gummies to collect.
As I rounded the corner of my first bin and headed to the second, my mind suddenly caught up with my sweet tooth. This candy was not going to be free. I would have to, at some point, give someone currency in exchange for the right to rot my teeth with these respective gummies. Thinking quickly, I dashed to the nearest scale.
I dropped the bag and, too my surprise, it registered at three-quarters of a pound. I began to mumble to myself under my breath:
“Three quarters of a pound. It says that a bag is $12 a pound. That means…” I stopped and gasped. I was set to pay $9 on gummy candy. As much as I like candy, I like not spending money even more. I am what I like to call “thrifty” in the sense that I complain when a pair of pants costs more than $15. I definitely was not going to pay $9 for candy.
I began scrambling. I couldn’t put the candy back. Plus, I wanted SOME candy. I thought about setting the bag aside and starting over with significantly fewer gummies, but then I remember the keepers of the candy standing off to the side, glaring at me as I moved the tongs from gummy eyeballs to gummy lizards. There is no way they would allow me to get more without tasing me or torturing me or whatever it is employees in a mall candy store are legally allowed to do.
I began to ditch candy. A gummy coke bottle here, a large gummy apple there. Whenever the keepers of the candy looked away, I would remove a piece. Still, it was not going fast enough. I would never be able to get my candy cost down to a respectable amount at this rate.
Then, I unhatched a plan. It was a plan so crazy and diabolical that I would need a team to pull it off.
To be continued…