I Was a Teenage AirHeads Junkie
In the Boulder Weekly Wayne Laugesen puts on his Sherlock Holmes cap and ventures into the world of black market candy. That's right: High school rules banning sweet stuff have created a lucrative and illicit trade for sucrose. Who could have predicted it?
Richard's son, Sean, found a great bargain on AirHeads (a taffy-like candy), at Costco.
"I offered to help him buy the product, if he would pay me back," Richard said. "We sat down and did the math. He was getting 90 in a box that cost about $12 dollars. Based on what he was able to sell an AirHead for, he was getting a 900 percent profit — almost a tenfold markup. That seemed like a pretty good enterprise. He was clearing at least $150 a week in profit."
Sean treated his mother to dinner and a movie [and] bought an iPod. He bought a fancy gaming keyboard with multiple interchangeable sets of keys, new shoes, a sweatshirt and a hoodie.
"In a devious sort of way, I was proud of him," Richard said. "One the other hand, we had this sense that something was wrong with this picture. We kind of knew that the school didn't want him doing this. We also worried that it would all become a bit too enticing. And then, when the customers are too old to want candy, what's he going to sell? Drugs. That was our concern. We worried that he would be unable to resist the money, and would sell whatever the customer wanted."
Candy didn't use to be a gateway drug. Now it is. Thanks, school board! (Unrelated: On the BW's homepage there's a fat HTML link that dwarfs the other text: "Looking for RON PAUL coverage? Click here.")
Cartoonist John Bintz predicted all of this in his (ongoing) comic Candynomics.