I bought M&Ms at lunch today—Peanut M&Ms, my long-time favorite… at least until a couple of years ago. Like all familiar products from my childhood, Mars added options, lots of options. I think the idea is to flood shelf space with M&Ms and leave less room for Reese’s Pieces. Let me introduce you to the family: White Chocolate M&Ms and Pretzel M&Ms and Crispy M&Ms and of course Plain M&Ms. My favorite M&Ms now are Caramel M&Ms and Peanut Butter M&Ms. But the vending machine only had Peanut.
The vending machine is at my workplace, a library. Good idea, you say, lots of people walking by, lots of potential customers. No, this vending machine is in the breakroom, employees only. The most employees we have working at any given time is sixteen. That’s doesn’t seem like enough people to support a machine. I probably buy something once every two months. Extrapolating that rate, they sell less than a hundred candy bars a year. But I see the machine owner weekly, clearing out the change, stocking the selections. I guess my colleagues make far greater use of it than I do.
I eat the same thing every day. I start the day with two bowls of Total cereal. I hate Total cereal; it tastes like cardboard. I’ve found that if I eat a cereal I like—say Special K with Red Berries, or Blueberries, or Vanilla & Almond, or Chocolatey Delight (see? shelf flooding)—I overeat. Not long ago I saw a photo of myself that Sophie took. My belly was eye popping. I gave up my Chocolatey Delight Special K. Cardboard Total for me from now on.
For lunch I eat a bagel with hummus and baby carrots… every day. Yes, it gets dull, but I always complete my meal with a couple of squares of dark chocolate. Except this week. This week, I’ve been eating leftover Halloween candy. Lots of it. The multipack we bought (three times, we bought the multipack three times, the first two times Susan, Eli and I ate all the candy) contained two types of Milky Way (original and “Midnight,” more shelf flooding), Twix and Snickers. The ratios were screwed up. Two thirds of the candies in the bag were Snickers. Every day, I took five mini-candy bars with me to work. A Milky Way, a Twix and three Snickers bars.
Today we ran out of Halloween candy. Packing my lunch, I reached for the candy bowl, all that was left was one Payday. At seven-thirty on Halloween night, Eli rushed into the house: “We’re running out of candy!” Susan dumped in the bag of Payday bars that I keep for exercise. Sugar and nuts. Long ago, I found these to be the most effective energy bars for me. While everyone else chokes down PowerBars or Gu, I enjoy a Payday.
Eli overreacted, we didn’t run out of candy. We still had plenty left for me to eat for lunch all week. Until today. I knew there were two Snickers bars set aside in the living room. I saw them there yesterday. I grabbed them as I made my lunch. Preparing to leave the house this morning, Eli shouted from the living room: “Hey! What happened to my Snickers bars?”
“Oh, did you want those?” We each took one. Flash forward to lunch. One mini-Snickers bar. When it was gone, I pouted. The chocolate addiction I’ve built over the past four days said no way. I grabbed the spare change I keep in my desk for a candy emergency and bought my M&Ms in the vending machine. I guess I better buy chocolate tonight. I’m out of change, and I doubt I’ll get through tomorrow without my fix.