Since childhood, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has been one of my favorite movies. It’s full of whimsy and hosts a super weird/awesome chocolate factory – pretty much every kid’s dream. Besides, after the 11th or so plot flaw, you just kind of move past it and enjoy the show for what it is. Like Gilligan’s Island or Santa Claus – sometimes if you want to believe in something, you just have to believe. No matter how evening gowns were packed for a single day trip.
Despite the willingness to move on, however, there are some things that just can’t be forgotten.* One of which, still irks me to the core.
While I won’t get started on the logistics of the factory itself – how doors suddenly change size, soda can make you fly, or how gum can create food-like tastes and textures. Or how a man who puts shoes in pots and uses a half-bust for a hat stand manages to clear safety regulations. And how the kids’ signatures are legally binding even though they’re minors. Or why all four grandparents are bed-ridden (and have been for 20 years!) in a single bed, but Grandpa Joe manages to walk almost instantly. (BTW, who is picking up that tobacco you admit you don’t need anyway?) And how the teacher can’t find the percentage of 2. Sigh.
There’s one faux pas I simply can’t get past – it’s the worst of them all.
The Candy Man CanNOT
First, take a gander at this scene.
Notice anything? How about, like 17 things?
Aside from being a total creep who shouldn’t be allowed to sell anything to children, let alone kid crack, this guy “Bill” is an awful businessman. How is no one paying? Are they on some type of monthly payment plans that their parents contribute to? After all it’s the 70s, which means 1) it was safe for kids to roam about, unsupervised and 2) it wasn’t taboo to eat candy everyday; obese kids were probably a novelty.
In these candy plans – I’m assuming from what we’ve been shown – each kid pays a monthly premium. This fee entitles them to a daily personalized item, which is first administered when they walk in the door. Also known as their “regular”s, like they were sugar-based bar flies. Where they show up everyday ordering the same-olds – meanwhile their server points out new fare (the scrumdiddilyumptious), hoping to increase his tip. Then the kids are given pretty much free reign of the store. The Candy Man passes out all types of sweets without measuring what he gives away or who gets what.
Basically, it’s a free for all – mass anarchy. Which proves they’re under an “all you can eat” agreement. What’s that cost in 1971? A nickel a day?
Meanwhile, Charlie, having a job and the inability to pay his candy wages, looks on through the window. Not even phased that this guy is handing out candies galore – and making a huge mess in the process.
Is no one alarmed at this complete lack of business plan? Shouldn’t he keep track of how many customers show up each day? Is there a starting and ending inventory after each afternoon? And how many hours are spent scrubbing those sticky glasses? Come on, Bill, next you’re going to be hosting a contest to give away your entire company – to a kid with one day of work experience.
Oh wait …
Only Bill and his children customers really knew what happened in that store. But for my own peace of mind, let’s assume someone was paying for the candy. It’s really the only way I can continue to survive.
*Like how, every time I “whined” or acted “spoiled” as a child my Dad called me Veruca Salt. Duh, Dad, I’d never request a bean feast, and I don’t even like regular amounts of ice cream, let alone “10 thousand tons” of it. Ridiculous.