A Sears electronics salesperson has generously offered to share some insider knowledge of how the game is played at Sears.
Reader Leo writes in with some helpful information that will allow you to avoid stale candy:
I work at a small-volume store in the midwest, and the other day my supervisor asked us to check all of the candy in the checkout lanes to see if it had expired. M&M Mars and Hershey brand candy both had different, indecipherable codes on the back which tell the expiration date. After calling the 1-800 number and finding out what the codes meant, we discovered that most of our candy stock was expired by a year or more. We even found candy that went bad from 2004. I figured I should share the codes, so people won’t buy expired candy, because it’s out there.