A sack of candy on Halloween is a small thing that makes children very happy.
You remember dumping out that bag on the kitchen table and sorting through your loot. Youâ€™d carefully guard the good stuff, separate out the second-tier items (Iâ€™m looking at you, Smarties) and throw out the crap that looks sketchy. In my day, youâ€™d sometimes get apples, which we discarded immediately.
But why do people insist on making this a bad thing with candy buy-back programs? Iâ€™ve written about these fun cops before, and how they tempt kids to trade their sweets for a small reward, as if having some Snickers bars is like keeping an illegal handgun tucked under your mattress.
This year a local mall is behind one of these schemes, offering the worst deal ever: for each pound of candy you bring in, they give you a gift certificate worthâ€¦ one dollar. One dollar. But, wait â€” the offer is good for up to five pounds of candy, so kids could net a $5 payback. What a haul.
â€œBut, Rob,â€ I can hear you saying, â€œThey say the candy will be donated to â€˜local organizationsâ€™.â€
Thatâ€™s certainly a nice idea, but hereâ€™s a better one: just take the funds you were going to pay those kids and give these â€œlocal organizationsâ€ something that will actually help them: cash.
The whole thing is beyond dumb.
Kids, you worked for that candy. Donâ€™t be part of someoneâ€™s ill-conceived public relations scam. And parents? If you want to turn this into a lesson, hereâ€™s an idea: have the kids donate a little money for each pound of candy they wish to keep. Then, everybody wins.