Yes, yes, people love each other. That’s great. Now that Valentine’s Day is over, it’s time for one of the biggest sweet-lovers’ holiday of the year. It’s the first Discount Candy Day of the year, and Snacktaku is here to help you make the most of it.
Discount Candy Day is the day following a candy-centric holiday, and depending where you live, it can come multiple times a year. Here in the United States we get three. There’s the day after Halloween, the day after Easter and February 15, the day after Valentine’s Day. The day after Christmas used to count, but as society started shying away from “Merry Christmas” in favor of “Happy Holidays,” retailers got confused and candy began to linger longer on the shelves.
So we’ve got three, starting with February 15, which we here at Snacktaku feel is the best for several reasons.
- The message of love is year-round and universal, unlike the message of egg-laying resurrection rabbits or children going door-to-door begging for free stuff.
- We’re more likely to find cheap chocolate body parts (in good condition) than other Discount Candy Days.
- There are Creme Eggs and Screme Eggs, but no Valentine’s Day equivalent. As delicious as Cadbury’s simulated chicken embryo are, they do not store well.
- Discounted Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Oreos, if you’re lucky.
- Every piece of Valentine’s Day candy you buy after February 14 represents a broken heart. We are the eaters of sorrow. We poop hope.
It doesn’t matter why you’re stockpiling pink-and-red foil-wrapped sugar bits. Maybe you’re frugal, or depressed, or you just have too much love inside you and need somewhere to store it for a bit. What matters is that we here at Snacktaku love this particular Discount Candy Day as much as the next candy-obsessive, and we’ve complied some helpful suggestions to make sure everyone has the best experience possible.
If you’re reading this, it may already be too late for the good stuff. Many stores will still have leftover Valentine’s Day candy at a deep discount five days from now, but it won’t be pretty.
- Tiny boxes of Elmer chocolates attached to tiny plush animals so poorly made their little hugs amplify sadness rather than negate it.
- Bags of small, heart-shaped lollipops with cute sayings written in white sugar so that when you lick them it looks like some sort of growth burst in your mouth.
- Whatever novelty bullshit Target placed in the aisle next to the good Valentine’s Day candy.
- Brach’s conversation hearts.
- If you’re very lucky there might be some Russell Stover left, and a day where Russell Stover chocolates make you feel lucky is not a great day.
If you want the Godiva, the White Cheesecake M&Ms, the Lindt, the Brach’s Jube Jel Candy Hearts or the regular candy put on discount simply because there are hearts on the package, you have to act fast.
Normally a discount is a discount, but when it comes to Discount Candy Day, lines must be drawn, and we choose to draw the line at 50 percent, and no less.
There will be stores that try to milk their love chocolate at a premium price for a few more days. That’s there prerogative, and you’re free to either skip them altogether or wait for the prices to change, even if they spit on the sanctity of Discount Candy Day.
Others try to gently slope the price declines over the course of several days. They’ll play it coy, marking things in smaller increments. Maybe they’ll slash prices on the stuff they know will linger, while only dropping sought-after candy like Hershey’s Kisses and organ-shaped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups by 25 percent. It’s smart business, and no discount candy shopper likes a smart business.
We want the stores where the stock and signage folks are watching the clock at 11:59 PM, hands gripping bundles of “50 Percent Off” tags. Retailers have to get rid of this stuff, and discounts are the way they do it. As long as they don’t skimp on the price cuts, we’re here to help.
Of course you can wait a week for discounts in the 70 to 90 percent range. Enjoy those tiny Elmer boxes.
This should really go without saying, but in the heat of the moment, surrounded by like-minded candy discount shoppers vying for cheap sweets, things can get a little crazy.
Case in point, six years ago we were in a Walmart on the first Discount Candy Day of the year and somehow, in our bargain-drunk stupor,we purchased a half-dozen boxes of large chocolate lips wrapped in red foil. We don’t recall the manufacturer, but they had the waxy, gritty texture shared by many of the lower-quality Easter bunnies we’ll be dealing with this spring. They looked like the Rolling Stones logo in a thoughtful moment.
We do not like poor-quality chocolate, but we bought them anyway. After trying one, we decided we didn’t like eating things shaped like someone else’s mouth either.
Not wanting to waste the stupid things, we placed them in our freezer. Perhaps we imagined they’d be something we could offer the company we never invited over, or maybe there’d be a rush on cheap chocolate lips and we’d be in prime position to see a return on our investment.
We finally threw them out when we moved, two and a half years later.
Before you check out at the cash register, ask yourself “Would I eat this?” Alternately, in case you need an entity to bolster your decision-making, you could ask “What would Snacktaku eat?”
The urge to stockpile candy willy-nilly is strong on Discount Candy Day, but you have to know your limits. More importantly, you have to know the limits of the candy you’re buying.
Solid chocolate products stored in a cool, dry place can keep for around 11 months, according to a 2011 Today interview with Hershey’s brand manager Anna Lingeris. You can get some pretty good mileage out of basic candy bars and the like as well.
Fancier chocolates, like truffles and other filled assortments, will start to lose flavor within a few months. Premium filled chocolates that use ingredients like real cream with eventually spoil. There is nothing quite like biting into a rich, dark chocolate shell filled with curdled cream.
If you’re in it for the long haul, hard candies are the way to go. Held strong by their sugary lattices, hard candy can last for years. That means that little bowl of faded, stuck together candy drops at your grandmother’s house is fair game, as long as she dusts them regularly.
What good is a fortune in love-themed sweets with no one to share them with? As sexy as sitting home alone in your underwear, catching up on the new Lethal Weapon series on Hulu (it’s not bad) while picking through a dozen boxes of assorted chocolates seems, the best way to eat candy (aside from in moderation) is with friends.
How else are you going to brag about how much money you saved? Who is going to eat the hard caramels while you eat the soft creams? Who will giggle when you read the kitschy phrases on those conversation hearts?
Seriously, don’t buy conversation hearts. They are horrible.
And the sharing doesn’t have to stop with people you know. Grab a few bags and drop them off at your local homeless shelter. Send some in to your kids’ school for treats. Take them to a senior center and share some of that cheap love.
Though we’re pretty big on eating things here at Snacktaku, it’s good to remember that there are more ways to enjoy snacks than subjecting them to your digestive process.
We’ve given all the guidance we can. The rest is up to you. Venture forth to your big box outlets, your drug stores and your supermarkets. Strip those shelves bare, and return to us with tales of your plunder.
Happy Discount Candy Day.
Snacktaku is Kotaku’s take on the wild and wonderful world of eating things, but not eating meals. Eating meals is for those with too much time on their hands.