What is it About Retro Sweets That Make People Love Them So Much?
June 29, 2009 8:02pm CST
I mean you can still buy lots of sweets in the supermarket these days. There's often a whole aisle dedicated to them, but people don't seem to get so excited about them. Why is that? Maybe it's not the sweets themselves but the show where you buy them that makes the difference. After all a modern supermarket is so big and impersonal - and it stocks so many items. On the other hand, an old fashioned, retro sweetshop, from where people seem to have the fondest memories of buying sweets, was usually tiny. And it didn't sell milk or cat food or washing powder - instead it sold hundreds of different types of retro sweets, usually in tall glass jars (in the case of boiled sweets, aniseed balls or toffee bonbons) or in little boxes on or under the counter for things like gobstoppers, strawberry bootlaces and anglo bubbly bubblegum. You used to be spoiled for choice; it was so difficult to choose what to spend your pocket money on. But the lovely lady behind the counter never rushed you; I think that she knew that the choosing process was one of the joys of buying traditional sweets. I used to stand there looking in wonder at all of the options - deciding what would go into my little white paper bag. And then, just as I was about to commit, a different old-fashioned sweet would catch my eye and I'd change my mind again. It's great being a child in a retro sweetshop - but it makes deciding so very difficult! That's so different to a modern supermarket. There the selection is big but it's just not the same. There are lots of different makes of chocolate bars but that's no good. You don't want lots of different types of the same thing. Instead you want to be choosing between sherbet lemons and golf ball bubblegum - that's real choice. And everything now is all pre-packaged, which takes the fun out of it all. You can't really see the sweets inside - it's nothing like as good as seeing a big jar or a clear tub of your favourite sweets. And you never get asked if you want under or over, in a supermarket. That was another decision that you had to make in a retro sweetshop. You had fixed in your mind the combination of sweets that would fill your sweetie bag this week. You'd have a quarter of kola kubes to start. But you can't get exactly a quarter of kola kubes so the nice lady behind the sweetshop counter would ask you if you wanted a little under or a little over a quarter. Would you have one extra kola kube, knowing it might mean that you'd have to sacrifice one of your other chosen sweets? Or would one of the kola kubes have to go? Shopping now is just so different. Maybe that's why we all love retro sweets so much, and the memories they bring tumbling back. As well as the sweets themselves, I think it's having that decision making power as a child that we all miss. It's just not fun anymore!