I was watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind and was reminded of a childhood memory. My family and I were sitting together on the couch, watching some movie from Blockbuster on our 27-inch Sony televisionset. It featured some sort of desert scene, probably something on Mars. My father joked about something related to how I had a Mars bar. That’s how I started craving a Mars bar and realized that the Mars bar had been overtaken by the Snickers Almond.

To me, the Snickers Almond just isn’t the same as a Mars bar. I wasn’t sure if it was just my faulty memory, so I decided to look it up. Wikipedia, as wonderful as it is, validated my memories: indeed they are different bars. I can’t remember precisely what it was that was more appealing about the Mars bar, but it certainly got me going on a short Wikitrip.

In 1926, the Milky Way candy bar was sold for a nickel. When I was seventeen (it was a very good year), candy bars at the corner bodega were 50 cents. It was great: you’d grab up two candy bars and slap a dollar bill onto the counter and you’d be on your way: you’re in and out, no waiting for change. I remember going on a Fast Break binge, but the Snickers bar was certainly my staple. Eventually, I saw the Snickers Almond and gave that a shot and was disappointed. I stuck with my regular regimen of two Snickers bars: one in the morning as a breakfast, and one in the afternoon if I didn’t have lunch. Such was the diet of a young teenage victim of multiphasic sleep disorder. Anyway, thanks to the Westegg Inflation Calculator, I found out that those years of nutritional nightmare were the best years to have engaged in my habit. Here are the figures by 2009 values.

  • In 1926, a candy bar cost 60 cents.
  • In 2002, a candy bar cost 59 cents.
  • In 2003, a candy bar cost 58 cents.
  • In 2010, a candy bar cost 64 cents.

Apparently, I was a savvy consumer: I purchased the most candy in the years that it was the cheapest to do so. Yesterday, I was at Target and purchased several Milky Way Midnight Dark candy bars. I much prefer the way it’s less sweet than most other candy bars.

When I looked at the receipt, I saw that they were 64 cents, which is a fair bit cheaper than the 75 cents that most groceries charge nowadays. So really, if we’re talking about buying candy bars from the corner store, the price of these chocolatey confections have gone way up. I don’t know what the economic implications of this are, but it sure is interesting.