By the time Dahl had children of his own, the industrial revolution had turned sweetshops like Llandaff's into a dying breed. Candy was no longer a rare and special commodity; corporate giants manufactured it en masse. They invented catchy slogans to market their products and employed massive sales forces to push their goods into every possible outlet, from newspaper vendors to drugstores, from groceries to gas stations. "If they see it, they will buy it," became the candy maker's mantra.
Dahl resented this profit-driven evolution and disliked the intense competition and cutthroat practices that candy makers employed to boost their bottom line. It wasn't unusual, for example, for corporate salesmen visiting a candy store to rearrange the candy shelf, giving their products star billing. Some were said to have thrown away boxes of competitors' candy to make room for their own.
Dahl brilliantly captures the ethos of the new era in the conniving characters of Mr. Slugworth, Mr. Prodnose, and Mr. Fickelgruber, Wonka competitors who try to steal his business by copying famous Wonka treats—like ice cream that never melts and chewing gum that never loses its flavor. To prevent future thefts, Wonka conveniently replaces all of his factory workers with Oompa-Loompas, doll-sized creatures who are indebted to Wonka for rescuing them from the vicious beasts of Loompaland and thereforewould never dream of betrayal. If only it could be so easy.
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.
Why all cracker names sound alike.
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.