If I were to check out two, or even three, different department stores or supermarkets, I could end up with 20 to 30 new tins each season.
And that was by simply sticking to the tins that were actually packed and shipped by the real candy company. I always made it a rule to avoid the tins that were actually packaged by a licensee, or third-party manufacturer. (usually easily identified because the name of the candy company isn't actually printed on the can. If it's there at all, it's only on an info card or affixed sticker) It seemed to me like the former was a special Holiday Bonus reward to the dedicated consumer from the Candy Company, while the latter was a "Manufactured Collectible"
These, to me, are as desirable as those pre-packed assortments of butter cookies, or the big three-gallon tins full of caramel corn (the ones with pictures of puppies and spider-man on 'em), or those boxes of beefsticks and mustard from Hickory farms, or those children's bath sets with a sticker of the latest animated superstar stuck to the shampoo bottle.
Yuck. This is the kind of thing that you buy for the Aunt or Uncle who you haven't seen since Last Christmas, or so the inevitable "unexpected guest" doesn't feel left out. NO Way. If I'm giving the tin, or if it's going into my collection, I'd better see the Nabisco name and logo prominently lithographed on the bottom of that Oreo tin.
But over the last several years the selection of "Real" tins has been dwindling, pushed off the shelf by a growing trend of third-party manufactured collectibles. I guess it's become too much of a marketing risk for the companies to put out their own collectibles for the short Holiday Season, just as Globilization and Multi-Culturalism has made it more politically risky for a large corporation to market an item with a Holiday Theme. Better to license the company characters and product names out to somebody importing a plastic gew-gaw from China, and to get the additional bonus of selling that company a small portion of your product to put indie the gew-gaw. It's all upside. The third-party buys your name, buys your product, takes all the risk, handles all the logistics, and later, when the gift recipient has developed a taste for the product, he has to come back to the real manufacturer to buy more.
But It spoils my Holiday Spirit as I watch another thing I enjoy collecting fade away.
This Year's Crop of Christmas Candy Tins is Pathetic.
I've looked in eight different stores where I've usually found new tins this time of year. What Have I found?
Pathetic. I had to go to Target to find these. UGh. I had not set foot inside a Target for almost Two Years because of poor treatment by their "guest Services" division over their return policies. I truly loathe having to return to one of their stores. I will quit collecting tins before I go back to Target again.
The M&Ms tin is the latest in their "Christmas Village" series. This Recording Studio is labeled "#20" in the series, but it's really the 21st; a few years back one of the numbers was repeated, and the series numbering has been one off ever since. This is the Peanut M&Ms tin, in the past there has been a second tin each year, filled with Plain M&Ms. so far this year there is no sign of the Plain tin. (2004 was the first year I had to go to two different stores to find one of each of the tins, prior to that, both tins were readily available at most outlets.) I have to say I am not impressed by this tin. It's a plain rectangular box, no unique shape, and all the printing is done on flat surfaces. No embossing. Good grades for attendance. Poor grades for the effort, folks. ...and I might have to change that attendance grade if the Plain M&Ms tin doesn't make it to school on time.
The Snickers tin is a welcome return for M&M/Mars. While I miss the Norman Rockwell tins, it's nice to see them put out a Snickers tin again, after those silly vinyl zippered sports bags they did in 2004. They stick with a sports theme this year, but it's an NFL locker, emblazoned with all the current team logos. Extra Points After for the embossing on the locker vents and combination lock.
At Wal-Mart, i did find a new tin from Werther's Original butterscotch candies, but to tell the truth, I stopped collecting this line of tins because the tin each year looks too much like the previous year's tin, and frankly, in 2000 I realized that I hadn't eaten all the candy yet out of the 1999 tin.
At K-mart i found a NECCO wafers tin, but it looked like the same tin they had out a few years ago, so I didn't pick it up.
So this year, it looks like only M&M/Mars has stepped up to the plate with a meager offering of new tins. No sign yet of any offering from HersheyFoods, Nestle, Nabisco, Tootsie Roll or any of my other regulars. Shame, Shame, Shame.
2005 might be the year I have to quit collecting this stuff.