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Drop Out of College and Run a Jelly Bean Factory

Jelly beans

Photo Courtesy of PixaBay.com

Lesley Brey

Staff Writer

Are you a Willy Wonka fanatic? Always dreamed of defaulting on your student loans and moving to Florida? Well, I have some excellent news! For the meager price of $50 USD you can enter a national scavenger hunt competition run by a man who refers to himself as “The Candyman,” and win your own candy factory! Maybe.

The Candyman in question is none other than David Klein, notable inventor of the JellyBelly jelly bean, although he has been disinvested from that brand for over 40 years.

The Gold Ticket Treasure hunt is operated through one of his companies, Tricky Treasures, and is not affiliated with JellyBelly. “The world needs this right now,” said Klein in an ABC interview, “I wanted something that families could do together.” If you’re feeling adventurous or lucky you can hop onto thegoldticket.com where tickets are being sold for $50 in batches of 1000 per state. However, you’ll need to move fast, tickets have already sold out in California, Florida, Georgia and more.

Only 39 states have tickets left. With the rate of sales it’s fair to say that the nation has come down with Gold Ticket fever!

What you’re buying with your ticket is a clue, which will be revealed on the Gold Ticket Facebook page in state specific groups. Currently Idaho’s clue date has yet to be announced. Once the clue has been revealed it’s a race to find the golden dog tag necklaces.

“The places we’ve chosen all have some interesting story that grabbed our interest,” Klein offered as to where the necklaces may be.

According to the terms and conditions, none of the necklaces will be hidden on private property or need a shovel to reach.

After finding your prize it’s a simple process of emailing your purchase confirmation and the necklace serial number to the companies Gmail to see how much you’ve won. With any luck you can walk away with $5,000, however, smaller prizes are also up for grabs. As the first hunt isn’t until September 30, there’s no telling how easy or difficult the search will be.

“I think this is pretty neat,” said Idaho State University senior Paige Pitchfork, “It’s a good way to add a little more fun and activities in a year where we’ve been locked inside.”

After every state has finished their hunt, the winner of the candy factory will be determined by a random drawing from all 50,000 contestants. The factory will likely be in Florida, and the winner will be provided with a free course in candy making at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as hands-on support from The Candyman himself.

“They will have to hire their own employees, but they get a building free and clear. They get my expertise and my love for the industry,” said Klein.

As the hype continues to grow, not everyone is convinced about the legitimacy of the contest and perhaps with good reason. With each ticket selling for $50 the gross profit from the competition will be over 2.5 million. The Candyman insists, however, that they will be lucky if they manage to break even.

Regardless of good intent, many are still quick to see a scam in the making. The Gold Ticket Facebook page contained almost an equal amount of enthusiasts and nay-sayers earlier in the week, but with confusion mounting, posting rights have now been limited to organizers and verified purchasers.

ISU students still remain excited. “For the value of what you’re winning I think it’s a fair price,” said junior Lindsey Kirkman.

“They probably could have gone higher,” said junior Amber Sims. “But I don’t think they would have as many people participating.”

One unexpected problem the competition may face is Florida sweepstakes laws, which outlaw pay-to-enter giveaways. In an effort to avoid this, the Gold Ticket Hunt appears to have been registered in Delaware where no restrictions apply, despite David Klein’s main company, and factories all residing in Florida.

Here on campus students are mixed about whether or not they’ll take a shot. “I think I would.” Pitchfork said, when asked if she would consider buying a ticket.

“I would consider it if I had kids,” Sims said in response to the same question.

Whether they’re Roald Dahl fans, or avid geocachers, people are buying in for their chance to win big. The Candyman finished his video announcement by saying, “We’re looking for you out there, Charlie.”

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