On Friday morning I set out to buy candy corn and peanuts, the snack Chris Rookus and I decided would be perfect for the concert he was having at our church later that night. I started at Gordon Food Service, and while I found peanuts easy enough, the only candy corn they carried was green and red and peppermint flavored; certainly not acceptable for an early November concert. I moved on to Meijer and checked both the candy aisle and the center aisle with the seasonal candy before asking an employee.
“Excuse me, can you tell me where I would find the candy corn?” I asked.
The girl smiled up at me, “Oh, well, I’m not sure. I don’t usually work in this department.”
Great. The old “I don’t work in this department” spiel. If I earned a nickel for every time I heard that phrase from a store employee I would have enough funds to rush order candy corn straight from Willy Wonka.
“Okay, well, is there anyone who might know?” I asked.
“You can always try the red phone,” she said, pointing over my shoulder.
I turned around and picked up a red, plastic phone hanging on the end of the aisle. Not surprisingly, the person on the other end didn’t know where the candy corn was either because, not only did he not work in that department, he did not work in that store because his job was to answer the red phone calls.
I decided to drive across the street to Target. After scanning through their seventeen aisles of green and red foil wrapped candy, I went on my second employee search of the hour. I finally found “Frederick” in the greeting cards.
“Excuse me, do you sell candy corn?” I asked.
“Candy corn?” Frederick asked, his brow furrowing. Apparently the ten days that had elapsed since October 31 had obscured his memory of the autumn sweet.
“Yes, candy corn. Do you still have some?”
“We only get candy corn for Halloween.”
“Well, do you have any leftover candy on clearance?”
Frederick laughed at my obvious ignorance of post-Halloween candy sales.
“Not anymore.” he said.
“So your candy corn was sold out….”
“…..weeks ago.” Frederick finished my sentence and walked away.
If I hadn’t been in such a hurry I would have bought a couple boxes of candy canes (Who knows? They might be gone by Thanksgiving!), but my time was dwindling. I sprinted out the door, jumped into my car, and sped to the only chance I had left: the dollar store down the road. I swept into the store and marched down the candy aisle. And there, in a bottom bin, right between the expired bubble gum and off-brand chocolate bars, were dozens of bags of brightly colored candy corn!
“Yes!” I cried, dropping to my knees from relief and joy.
I scooped up a bag and grinned back at the jack-o-lantern on the front of the package. It didn’t take long to realize that one dollar per bag was not necessarily a bargain, as each bag held about two tablespoons of candy, but I didn’t care. I grabbed several packages and waited triumphantly in line to purchase my treasured treat.