I really need to stop going to the local Kroger. Way too many temptations lurk... and not all of ’em are food. Lookee:
One PEZ to rule them all, one PEZ to find them, one PEZ to bring them all and for the nutcase bind them - in the Land of Kroger in the Candy Aisle.
It occurred to me at some point that PEZ is the Anti-Gillette.
The Gillette boys knew long ago that the money was not in selling razors. It was in selling razor blades. Razors, after all, do not wear out. They last almost forever, and most people who use them need only one. The blades, on the other hand, have a limited lifespan. They have to be replaced.
Gillette can practically give razors away, because the money’s in the blades. Especially these days, when a razor blade is not simply a thin piece of metal that you’d use once or twice before tossing out - anyone remember the double-edged safety razor? - but a high-tech device with three or more separate cutting surfaces. They last longer and shave better than those old double-edged blades, but they cost a metric buttload more. That’s the Gillette business plan: hook ’em with that smooth, smooth five-bladed shave, then pound the wallet mercilessly. A similar strategy is employed by crack pushers.
PEZ is the exact opposite.
You don’t buy PEZ for the candy. Let’s face it: a piece of PEZ is like the bastard child of a Tic-Tac and a horse pill. Not bad for a dinky piece of hard candy, but nothing to write home to Momma about. No: You buy PEZ for the dispensers, which elevate the simple act of snarfing down a chunk of candy to a combination of Ritual and Art Form.
The dispensers, simply by being molded into the forms of popular characters from movies, cartoons, literature, and other repositories of Pop Culcha, become desirable. Look, there’s Popeye! Mickey Mouse! Santa Claus! Asterix and Obelix! Boba Fett! Jeremiah Johnson! Who gives a shit about the candy - I got Hello Kitty!
The geniuses at PEZ have further figured out that if they latch on to the right Pop Cultural Icons, they can sell a metric buttload of PEZ dispensers... and no longer must they do it one at a time. They can package up whole sets of the damn things, and the completionistas among us are powerless to resist!
In case you’re wondering, no, I did not buy a set of these beauties for myself. First of all, if you’re gonna collect them, you can’t take them out of the box and use them. Secondly, She Who Must Be Obeyed would blow a gasket if she saw that I had found yet one more thing to packrat away in the closet. Third, once you start down the old PEZ Parkway, where do you stop? Bad enough that I can see myself glomming onto Lord of the PEZ - and these - but then there’s the Star Trek and Star Wars gift sets... the Hello Kitty lunchbox set... and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo set (I’ve gotta get that Lisbeth Salander dispenser)... and it just keeps getting worse. Not gonna go there. Wouldn’t be prudent.
But a Man-Child can dream, can’t he?