That’s Right I Am SO Going There… **

Not even a question at this point.

From the time he was little, Luke has known the value of money. When I would give him a dollar to go to the candy store, he didn’t waste all of it getting candy for one day, he would stretch that dollar so that he could have candy for a week. I’ve watched proudly as my son carries those same principles into running the city. (P-G, Cindy Ravenstahl)

Luke Ravenstahl is 29 years old.

Let’s assume Luke could not have been permitted to travel the outdoors himself to transact business until he was eight years old — which is still on the young side but we’re in a generous mood. 21 years ago it was 1988.

There were no “candy stores” in 1988. There might have been that one high-end Monroeville Mall candy boutique next to the food court, but that’s about it.

But let’s put even that aside and say America’s last “candy store” was in Summer Hill, and the rest of us simply didn’t know about it.

The price of a standard Hersheys chocolate bar in 1988 was 40 cents; competition would have demanded (and memory confirms) that all similar candy bars — Milky Way, Almond Joy, Kit Kat — and prepackaged, boxed candies such as M & M’s would have been about the same price. Figuring in sales tax, $1 would have garnered just two candy items in 1988; hardly “a week’s worth” by any credible standard. If Luke wanted to spread out this meager dollar’s worth of candy over seven days, he would be have had to break off individual squares of Hersheys bars or sticks of Kit Kat, and painstakingly re-wrap the remainder. Even if he really was that anal-retentive about his candy, that method in the end would have made far more sense than pocketing the spare change from a dollar bill towards additional trips to the store. But that’s not what Luke’s mom is claiming in her very specific attempt to illustrate being “smart with a dollar”.

Besides which, by 1988 no parents could get away with giving their kids $1 per week in allowance. I was getting $5 per week by the time I was old enough to earn allowance, and my dad wasn’t a district magistrate.

In short, Luke’s mom’s story doesn’t add up — but the image of our future mayor, no doubt in short pants and a wool ivy flat cap, scampering down to the candy store on Main Street for handfuls of Beeman’s Gum and Chuckles Licorice must surely be familiar and heartwarming to Pittsburgh’s sizable elderly population.

If the local media had any self-respect at all, they would be calling Mrs. Ravenstahl right now and asking: was that anecdote scripted by Yarone Zober, or John Verbanac?

*-UPDATE: Reg Henry is also outraged (Post-Gazette)
*-UPDATE, THE DEUX: Mike Madison, unamused (Pittsblog 2.0)

20 thoughts on “That’s Right I Am SO Going There… **

  1. Anonymous

    This is funny! Didn't he use one of those candy bars to steal Darla away from Alfalfa. I think Spanky got wise to his ploy and saved the day.

  2. Anonymous

    Wow, the needle on the crap-meter is spinning wildly, isn't it? Thank you for bringing Mom R's fairy tale to light.

  3. Anonymous

    You're really stretching here Bram. There were def “candy stores” in 88. I had a corner store down the street from me that sold nickel candy or little bags of candy for 25 cents. Her story doesn't seem at all far-fetched to me.

    Now is it a pointless story that has no bearing on Ravenstahl's ability to govern? Yes.

  4. Anonymous

    Candy Rama was open untill 2005 (and under new owners until only a last year or so).

    So there where plenty of candy stores in 1988…

    Other random thoughts…

    She said his Candy allowance (not total allowance) apparently Luke's mom is much like city council and tells him where he could spend his money.

    Candy stores usally don't sell Hersheys chocolate bar as their main stay but candy by either weight or peice. Using the online candy shop we see that Appleheads Miniature Boxes – 24 / Box run for $7.32 or about 30 cents a box, in todays value. It would have been cheeper than.

  5. Anonymous

    I was going to make the point about Candy-Rama, but really, this is what you get when 2 of the final op-eds in an election come from family members. It's a sillier and more irrelevant campaig narrative than “Vote for Pedro.” I literally could not care less about why Cindy Ravenstahl or Acklin's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate (which makes him absolutely nothing, btw) think I should vote for their relative. At least Harris had the good sense to have his op-ed written by a small business owner to which he has no blood relation, but everyone already knows his ancestry, he has put it to incessant use in the campaign, and having his famous family pen an opinion piece on top of all of that likely would have backfired anyway.

    In any event, I don't mind family being a part of someone's campaign for local office. It's reassuring that Kevin Acklin seems like a doting husband and loving father, in a way. It's inspiring to know that Dok's family's roots took hold for him, in a way. I guess the only think I know about Luke's family relationships is this op-ed, his dad's political history, and the fact that he's married (everyone's heard rumors, though).

    But that part of the campaign should be in soft public appearances, door knocking, perhaps a gauzy campaign spot. That's not the forum the biggest newspaper in the region should offer. It goes back to Bram's earlier post about the juvenile nature of political coverage in this city. I mean, if Jon Delano, supposed “Dean” of local politics, declared this race over during the first debate in an apotheosis of self-fulfilling prophesy, why force the candidates to take their final pitch seriously? Sigh.

  6. Anonymous

    Where I come from a “candy store” means an entirely different thing than Sugar Babies and Sky Bars. Mary Janes and P.op Rocks maybe, but more along the lines of dime bags, lucies and the like. Sounds like Luke's mom is a sucker

  7. Sean

    Bram – You probably know this better than I do, but I feel like there was a place that sold candy on Forbes in Squirrel Hill where Newmans used to be. At the very least, someone sold jelly beans there.

    Wv: Comaters. If it was Cometers, I'd definitely be in the right place!

  8. deegazette

    I love candygate! Flying saucers were my favorite and we would play eucharistic minister with the wafers, although we all were really playing priest at the time, I said EM to be more up-to-date for younger readers. Mabel's was my store too, BTW. I saw Franco Harris on Pioneer Avenue talking to my kid's old math teacher on her porch yesterday. LOVE of Pittsburgh is not a reason to vote for anyone, but for those who believe in this city and want it to prosper there is homework to be done and fingers to be crossed. And, if on Tuesday a voter makes a choice based on “love for the city” at least it is participating in the process.

    Monk, tag, you're it!

    Bram, perhaps in Jan. your Dad could take over the blog?

  9. Anonymous

    You may have a point about Luke's mom writing an editorial, but the rest of your remarks are stupid and flat out wrong. There are corner stores all over the place. There are also lots of candies that don't cost $1, particularly back in the 80's. This is exactly why bloggers and so called progressives can't get any traction. You make stupid arguments and take the opposite stance of everything the establishment does. You don't ever think about the consequences of your actions/decisions and just do what “feels good at the moment.” Keep trying – you aren't getting anywhere.

  10. kathleen

    really, though, bram – we had one dahn grinfild then! penny candy even! i was actually permitted to buy my mom cigarettes because the guy knew me. but sometimes, as we got older, he'd check in with her to make sure they were REALLY for my mom…..don't deny the candy! 🙂

  11. Pierogi Kid

    There were plenty of small stores in The Burgh where one could purchase nickel, dime and quarter candies in 1988, 1998 and …Gasp…even 2008.
    Your little rant is weaker than Luke's mom's letter.
    Try again.

    Luke's mom – 1
    You – 0


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