I know looking at the title you are thinking to yourself, but I just saw Gobstoppers in the candy aisle at the local big box store just the other day. That these are the Gobstoppers that you remember and have loved your whole life. But that life is a lie. I don’t mean the crazy shaped Gobstoppers from the movie that have weird ends coming out of them. Those were never made and sold to the general public – if a candy version of those were ever made at all. I’m talking about the Gobstoppers that you could buy in a two pack for a dime or a quarter (depending on where you got them).
You see kids, back in the 80’s dime and nickel candy was an actual thing. Sometimes we bought tootsie rolls three for a nickel. Lemon heads and such were a dime a box. And Gobstoppers sat right along side of them in a two pack. Like many other candy’s in my young life, I bought Gobstoppers by the truck load. You would buy them and suck on them for 5-10 minutes until you get to that satisfactory moments that you could tell would release the Sweet Tartesque center. It was fantastic.
However, those don’t exist anymore. The Gobstoppers that are sold under the brand name today were originally Gobstopper minis. The new Gobstopper minis the size of a pea would have been considered Gobstopper micro. Part of the Gobstopper legend is how long they lasted, so the current versions actually less than the two packs I used to get. That’s some false marketing. Another bonus was you could choose which two colors you wanted to start with, which seemed to influence the overall flavor as you could get to the continuing layers below.
From a first hand perspective, I unfortunately have a pretty good idea why the original size is no longer available. Choking hazard, plain and simple. Having twice in my elementary school life swallowed an almost full sized Gobstopper, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. It was similar to a time I accidentally swallowed a quarter (why did i have quarter in my mouth – I was a kid – who knows). The experience and after effects were the same. I had some pain and I assume bruising inside my throat. I’m working under assumptions here, since I didn’t tell my parents – so no medical diagnosis. The pain lasted a few days though, reminding me to think twice before accidentally doing it again.
The one thing to note about all three experiences (quarter, gobstopper x2) is that I applied kid logic to the problem. I was breathing, so I wasn’t choking. I did freak out because how the pain was that it might be stuck somewhere between my mouth and stomach. I went into the bathroom and stuck my head under the faucet and started downing as much water as possible to make sure it didn’t fill up my throat. These incidents were between the ages 6-9 if you ware wondering. Why did I use the bathroom sink? Well, otherwise I would have to explain to my parents why I was drinking glass after glass of water all of sudden. The bathroom sink removed those possible questions.
Even out of that momentary youthful trauma, I still want the originals back. There are generic ones the same size. Of course you’ve always been able to buy the fist sized jawbreakers that are more of a trophy than an edible treat. None of these experiences are the same, because I was fairly Wonka Candy loyal in my youth. They didn’t taste teh same either.
Maybe one day – some special retro release.