Look around… the world has changed quite a bit in the last 25 years. We’ve got computers, smart phones, the Internet… and all sorts of technological conveniences that our parents (and grandparents) never dreamed about. While the conveniences are nice… I contend that the world is a more expensive place to live than it was 25 years ago. Things like tuition, health care, gasoline, and home prices have drastically increased over the past 25 years, whereas wages have remained stagnant. We’re literally to the point now where a smart phone costs less than a college textbook… I can only imagine how much more expensive things will be in 15-20 years as my own kids reach adulthood!
What’s to learn from all of this? Well… clearly there are reasons why my kids have better candy in their bag than I did a generation ago. Some might argue there’s a correlation between the actual socioeconomics of a neighborhood and the quality of candy that’s distributed… while I surely believe there’s some correlation… I don’t know how perfect it is (some studies show that poor people apparently buy lots of junk food, whereas The Millionaire Next Door is likely to be a stingy S.O.B. who will take pride in handing out Smarties) Plus, up until this last year, my kids canvassed the exact same neighborhood where I grew up… and I can assure you the House-To-Reese’s ratio is much more favorable now then it was two decades ago. Realistically I think Costco has something to do with it… the marketers at Mars and Hershey’s are more clever at packaging big bundles of candy these days, and finding a way to put it right in front of our faces at discount grocery such as Costco and Walmart. After all, it’s easier for us to just buy the monster bag of Halloween candy on the end-shelf rather than hunt for cheapest stuff on the candy aisle (much the same way it’s easier to buy those big packages of fireworks around the 4th of July). Perhaps someday a PhD student at some university can write a thesis on the effects gentrification has on the distribution of Milk Duds in communities with a big box retailer. Now that’d be an interesting read!
Until then… I can only imagine that 20+ years from now, on a Halloween night… I’ll have a great story to tell my kids about how “back in my day” I had to work hard for my candy… trick-or-treating in the cold, up hill (both ways), all for some Smarties and half-a-dozen Reeses PB cups. When the story’s over, we might enjoy a cup of cider, talk about the upcoming election, then I’ll give my kids a hug as they leave and go home… which could very well be the downstairs bedroom.