Last Call: Candy will save us all

Illustration for article titled Last Call: Candy will save us all
Photo: rfranca (iStock)

As your loyal Candy Bureau Chief, I love a good bulk candy store. They’re an across-the-board delight; whether a sweets shop is homegrown or corporate or acutely focused on one region or delicacy, you’re bound to turn up some real treasures with those silver scoops. What I never really need out of the experience, though, is theming. With the exception of Honeydukes Sweets Shop, which should stay exactly the way it is and never change, candy stores are their own theme, an occasion and an aesthetic unto themselves. So you’ll forgive my furrowed brow when I read that Happy Pills, a pharmacy-themed candy store, is coming to Boston’s North End.


According to, the pharmacy theme runs deep throughout the shop: “Step into the clinical-looking candy store, and you’ll find 88 treats organized into rows of bins. According to a press release, guests can select containers resembling pill bottles ranging in size from the 75-milliliter ‘asymptomatic’ to 1,500-milliliter ‘chronic’ and fill them with goods from sour gummies to sugar-free confections.” Customers will also be able to choose from a variety of fun label designs for their pill bottles. Just like at a real pharmacy!

Happy Pills is already a successful business in Barcelona, so far be it from me to question any aspect of their move into the U.S. market. I’m only going to suggest, very diplomatically, that a candy store might not want to evoke the notion of pills, which are not only flavorless and consumed whole out of necessity rather than enjoyment, but are also unable to be swallowed by a sizable percentage of the population. Medication, even if it carries enormous benefit, is utterly utilitarian. At best, it is appreciated for not accenting or interfering with the flow of our daily lives. It is, most often, beige. I can’t think of anything less appetizing or exciting than a handful of pills, or anything more easily avoidable than the controversy this faux pharmacy might provoke. My guess is that Happy Pills as a concept is not over-the-top enough to be considered fully tasteless, but is maybe also not clever enough to be an unmissable destination for seekers of Instagram traps. But this is all just humble speculation from a person slowly (okay, not so slowly) working through a backlog of Japanese chocolates in her desk drawer. I have no need for Happy Pills, even if I inevitably end up there just to see how silly the whole thing is.

Would you visit Happy Pills and cram as many candies as possible into your own personal Chronic? Or is there another genius theme that candy stores are failing to capitalize on? Happy Pills is a three-minute walk from the famed Paul Revere House in Boston; maybe there ought to be a Gummi Museum of American History. (Aaron Burr can be sour.)

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.



I think the theme is kinda cute, but my inner Helen Lovejoy is concerned about equating candy and pills.