One of my favourite parts of Easter (other than the whole resurrection thing) is going to the stores the next day or two and getting a nice big discount on all the candy that they weren’t able to sell. While this generally means shelves full of lousy candy, you can get some great deals on candy that is the same as its usual form, only egg-shaped and, now, cheaper.
This time around, something caught my eye. Along with the usual assortment of pastel M&Ms, gummy bunnies, and Peeps that aren’t yellow (the way God intended them to be), there was a whole shelf full of giant, foil-wrapped chocolate eggs with a big NHL logo on them. They had so many there, it seemed almost certain that they had barely sold any prior to Easter. Out of curiosity, I took a closer look. These chocolate eggs even had a prize inside: a tiny goalie mask.
Normally I wouldn’t have considered it, but I thought it might be worth a blogpost. I was right, since it’s one of the most poorly thought-out items I have seen in a long time.
First of all, there was the price. It was originally $12, which is simply too damn much. For the same price, you could have a decent-quality solid chocolate bunny instead of a hollow, thin-shelled egg. Even 60% off, it was too damn much. But I bit the bullet and bought it.
The second issue is that it’s completely random which mask you get. There are 8 masks available — one for each Canadian team and a “rare” Los Angeles Kings mask, since they won the Stanley Cup.
It’s baffling to me: anyone who is a big enough fan of the NHL to spend $12 on a hollow egg made of sub-standard chocolate to get a little collectible goalie mask, is also likely a big fan of one particular team. That also means they probably have a strong distaste, if not outright hate, for that team’s rivals. Leafs fans don’t like the Canadiens and vice versa. Senators fans hate the Leafs. If you like one of the teams in Alberta, you likely can’t stand the other one. And Canucks fans? They pretty much hate every other Canadian team. Except for the Jets. Everyone’s still feeling pretty lovey-dovey about the Jets.
I don’t really dislike any NHL teams as much as I used to and writing about hockey every day has rounded off the edges of my fandom, but I’m still pretty much a Canucks fan. Getting a Flames mask would be the worst possible outcome, but a Canucks fan wouldn’t be particularly happy with an Oilers mask or Leafs mask either. It’s basically a 1-in-7 chance of getting the right mask, with the slight possibility of getting a Kings mask, which wouldn’t be too great for a Canucks fan either.
I feel for the poor kid who got one of these at Easter and pulled out the mask of his favourite team’s hated rival. Great, just what I needed today: crushing disappointment.
Their target market has to be the grandmas and grandpas that don’t know any better: The NHL? That’s hockey, right? Great! Bobby loves hockey!
I see a similar phenomenon with other merchandise. They’ll have some neat NHL-themed item — a clock, blanket, coffee mug, whatever — and there won’t be a single one left with the Canucks logo. Instead, they’ll have plenty of Oilers, Flames, or Leafs merchandise left unsold on the shelf. Which idiotic store manager in British Columbia is ordering large quantities of non-Canucks merchandise? Sure, there are fans of every team all over the place, but not enough to justify a shelf full of Toronto Maple Leafs Yahtzee with nary a Canucks logo in sight.
Does this happen in other cities? Are there racks full of Montreal Canadiens t-shirts in Toronto Canadian Tires? Are the only NHL-themed bedsheets in Calgary Sears stores plastered with the Edmonton Oilers’ logo?
This Easter egg is even worse, however, as you could easily be tricked into buying a souvenir for your least-favourite team. At least with other merchandise you can see what you’re buying: there’s a reason that they’re still on the shelf, after all.
Getting a random, team-specific prize is fine for something low-cost, like, say, a sticker vending machine. If you’re just spending a dollar or two, you likely won’t be too upset when you get a team you don’t like. Now, maybe I’m just cheap, but if I’m spending $12, I want some assurances that I’m going to get something that I actually want. There’s even the suggestion that these are collectable and that you should try for the whole set. Nope. That ain’t happening.
On the plus side, you have to like the 80′s era All-Star Game colours on this thing. That orange brings me back to 1993, when the orange made a brief comeback, and I badgered my parents to take me to McDonald’s for hockey cards, desperately hoping for a Bure card. I’m not even sure if I watched the All-Star Game that year, but I know for a fact I never got a Bure card.
In any case, it’s time to open this sucker up and see what I’ve got.
The egg itself is disappointing. I don’t know why, but I was at least expecting some sort of NHL logo on it. Instead, it’s just a plain, generic egg; they didn’t even spring for a custom mold. As expected, it’s a very thin shell of chocolate.
Opening up the egg, I see that I got a Senators mask. Or rather, I got a plain white mask with stickers that I could use to turn it into a Senators mask, if I so desired. Senators was basically the least offensive and most bland option. Somehow, it’s even less desirable than getting a Flames mask.
The mask itself is made of incredibly cheap plastic and the stickers aren’t even white: they’re off-white. So the stickers don’t even match the mask itself. Considering how low my expectations were going in, I did not anticipate that it would fail to meet them. They couldn’t even get white right.
The chocolate itself? Pretty terrible. It tasted like the sludge at the bottom of an understirred cup of hot chocolate made with store-brand powder.
If this Easter egg were a hockey team, J.S. Giguere would complain that it was thinking too much about its trip to Vegas. It’s basically the Lennart Petrell of Easter eggs. I seriously feel sorry for anyone who paid full price for one of these things. And if anyone out there bought one of these for a child, you should be ashamed of yourself for crushing a child’s dreams like this.