1,000 Candy Canes

Last week I bought a thousand candy canes. Actually, I bought 1,152 candy canes, to be exact.

My husband, upon seeing me trooping into the house carrying a stack of candy cane boxes taller than I stand, asked a reasonable question: “But why do we NEED a thousand candy canes?!” And so I explained to him the following reasons why anyone interested in disaster preparedness might want to have extra candy canes on hand.

Point #1: Blood Glucose Levels

After a disaster strikes, the people caught up in the problem have a very predictable tendency to run around like crazy, expending far more energy than normal, while at the same time missing their regular meal schedule. They become dehydrated, and their blood sugar levels get wonky. After the adrenaline wears off, they collapse. Therefore, a quick sugar boost is often just the thing to keep someone on their feet.

Point #2: Indefinite Shelf Life

Sugar is one of the foods that lasts forever; it will never spoil or go bad, assuming it’s kept safe. Corn syrup is another “forever” food. Therefore, hard candy made of sugar and corn syrup can last years; maybe decades; perhaps even centuries, given ideal storage conditions. (Chocolate, by contrast, deteriorates very quickly, with a shelf life of a few months, or a year at most.) So if you want to stockpile candy that will last indefinitely—until whatever is going to hit the fan actually hits the fan— candy canes are an excellent choice because they are made of sugar and corn syrup.

Point #3: Thrift

The best time to buy hard candy with an indefinite shelf life is a few days after whatever candy-related holiday has just passed. Whereas some people just can’t wait for Halloween or Easter or Christmas, I can’t wait until the day AFTER Halloween and Easter and Christmas, because that’s when I find the bargains. Candy canes go on sale very predictably on the day after Christmas, and their price continues to drop the longer they remain in the store. One week after Christmas, candy canes are half price. Two weeks after Christmas, candy canes are 75% off. That’s when I go to the store and buy out their entire supply of leftover candy canes. In this case, I bought 96 boxes, with each box holding a dozen candy canes. Their original price was a buck per box; I paid two bits a box. For $24, I bought 1,150 candy canes, at two cents apiece.

If there ever comes a time when I am able to prevent an insulin-dependent diabetic from going into a coma because I have a ready supply of non-perishable candy, won’t that be two cents well-spent? If ever I’m able to keep an over-worked and overwhelmed first responder on his feet for another hour with a quick fix of sugar, won’t that be two cents well spent? If I can comfort a frightened and confused child with a small yummy treat, won’t that be two cents well spent? And if it should ever come to pass that, heaven forbid, the American gravy train jumps its tracks, cutting off the normal food supply – wouldn’t it be handy to have 1,150 candy canes packed away in permanent storage for bartering? What better thing shall I spend my money on than buying something today that might be so valuable tomorrow?

My husband folded his arms, heaved a sigh, rolled his eyes, and shook his head as he left me to my afternoon project of stripping candy canes from their packaging and packing them into canisters. My oft-repeated refrain echoed after him as he left: “One day you’ll thank me for this!

1,150 candy canes fit into two large canisters with room to spare. One used to hold about 20 lbs of dog food, and the other was previously a holiday popcorn tin. I have a most excellent crawl space, plenty of room to store 1,150 candy canes. Moccasins included for scale.
This is a picture of about 600 candy canes.
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