According to CandyStore.com, a woman offered to trade her Honda Accord for Necco Wafers, the classic candy discs first produced by the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) in 1847. The company recently announced that operations would cease in just 60 days. The announcement set of a wave of panic buying, leading the Florida woman to make the offer to CandyStore.com for all the Necco Wafers currently in stock.
Apparently, some people enjoy Necco Wafers enough to go to pretty amazing lengths to procure them in this time of crisis.
[Ed. Note: If I’m permitted to editorialize for a moment, I am not one of those people.
I was born and raised 16 miles from the Revere, Massachusetts factory where they were produced, and I was weaned on other New England delicacies such as Marshmallow Fluff and Moxie.
Unlike those unimpeachable examples of New England perfection, Necco Wafers are flat, chalky discs of misery in delightful flavors such as Clove, Black Licorice, Wintergreen, Liver and Onion, Nyquil and 9-Volt Battery.
In a recent poll of the fourth graders that I trick-or-treated with, the only things more likely to be chucked back at the front door of a house giving out Necco Wafers was a box of Raisins and an apple with a razor blade in it. But I digress…]
Necco Wafers were introduced just ahead of the Civil War and were a welcome “treat” for Union Soliders. These “hub wafers” — so named for their birthplace, Boston, which Oliver Wendell Holmes nicknamed the “Hub of the Solar System” — were a welcome treat for soldiers whose only other distraction was dysentery.
[Ed. Note: We made that last part up. Sorry.]
“Nostalgia is a big part of it,” Robins told us. “People have emailed with stories of using them for targets with their Red Rider BB guns in the 1960s and playing all sorts of games and tricks with them back in the day. Catholic communion, using them for toll booth payment. They were around in the Civil War and popular in the World Wars, so there’s history and patriotism.”
Over the years, Necco has gone through financial ups and downs, none more upsetting to Necco fans than the announcement in March of 2018 that the company would be closing its doors in 60 days if it couldn’t find a buyer.
That set of a wave of panic buying, according to the online bulk sugary treat retailer CandyStore.com. Robins tells us that sales of all Necco-produced candies have spiked by more than 82%, and the Necco wafers alone have seen a 150% increase in sales. (Necco also produces the classic American dime-store candies Mary Janes, Candy Buttons, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Clark Bars, or, as they’re known here, “Clahk Bahs.” They’re also the chief producer of candy Valentine hearts.)
Source: Bulk candy sales from CandyStore.com
The panic reached a crescendo when Floridian Katie Samuels, 23, made an offer to CandyStore.com to trade her Honda Accord for all the Necco Wafers it currently has in stock.
“She told us over the phone that she was in fact ‘dead serious,'” Robins says. “She went on to say she doesn’t have much else to offer right now, and that her boyfriend drives her around in his truck mostly anyway. ‘Plus, there’s a bus station not too far if I need it.'”
[Ed. Note: The only thing more depressing than taking a city bus would be a lifetime supply of Necco Wafers]
We did a quick search on BestRide.com to come up with a value for Katie’s seventh-generation Honda Accord. Prices on the site range from $3,000 to $8,000, depending on condition, mileage and trim. We’d think about $4,000 would be a fair value.
Unfortunately, CandyStore.com couldn’t facilitate a transaction from all the way across the country, nor are they in the business of taking cars, motorcycles, hovercraft or livestock as trade for their wares.
Katie did pick up a few boxes of Necco Wafers using a more conventional credit card transaction. “Now she has 48 rolls of Necco wafers to ration over a lifetime with many years to go,” says Robins. “When you run the math, Katie can have two Necco wafers a month until her 94th birthday.” [Ed. Note: Ugh.]
So what do we do here, readers?
We hate the idea of contributing to the delinquency of a young woman because we facilitated the transaction of an automobile to pay for such a horrendous candy, but we also have to appreciate her dedication to nostalgia.
If you happen to be in Florida, and are in need of cheap, reliable transportation, let us know and we’ll pass along your contact info.
At the very least, you’ll have a decent car, and we’d bet a half a sawbuck you’ll find $14 worth of candy in the seats.