Armagideon Time

Hey, kids, do you wanna see something really scary?

Then look no further, as I unleash the real-life nightmare of Billboard‘s “Bulk Vending News” from July 2, 1966!

I can see your looks of terror from here.

Once upon a time, there was a Bulk Merchandise Vendor who decided that Halloween provided a perfect promotional opportunity. He threw some ‘spooky’ cardboard inserts in the various vending machines he leased from certain Upstanding Members of the Business Community. He didn’t bother swapping out the stock, however. There were no Atomic Superballs painted up like bloodshot eyes, no plastic spider rings, no temporary Dracula tattoos.

He thought the kids would be too gullible to notice, but the target youth demographic had changed over the previous decade. The new generation was savvier, more sophisticated, and demanding when it came to disposable novelties and loose candy. They weren’t fooled by the ruse, and spent their nickels and dimes elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the Vendor had already borrowed ten large against the windfall he expected to materialize. It became a subject of pointed discussion during a midnight drive to the waterfront with the Upstanding Businessmen, where the Vendor was fitted for a new and quite weighty set of footwear.

Seriously, though, it’s really bizarre to see the Halloween retail window flagged at “two weeks maximum” from the vantage point of an era where pool noodle displays transition into palettes of candy corn and LED skulls halfway through August. The oversized role the Christmas season plays in the sector has crept outward, transforming the year into one unending series of seasonal events.

“It is a foregone conclusion that the item or mix will die the day after Halloween.”

Or Maura will buy the stuff on clearance the following weekend and put it to everyday use. Our dogs don’t care if they’re eating out of ghost-themed bowls in March. Neither do I, for that matter.

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