At Pop-Tarts World, put your money where your mouth is

Visitors to the newly opened Pop-Tarts World in Times Square are probably accustomed to the breakfast treat's sugar shock. It's the sticker shock they'll have to worry about.

"The store is gouging a bit," Annie Krasner, 25, of Jersey City, N.J., told WalletPop after she passed on the $12 coffee mug for her nephew, Justin Rivera, 10, of Williamsburg, Va. Instead the two settled on two Pop-Tart S'more Stix ($5). The consensus seemed to be that the budget-conscious should go for the grub over the gifts.

Otherwise, tourists beware.

The Pop-Tarts poo-bahs probably couldn't give a blueberry-filled damn what critics think anyway. Food and merchandise were selling like hotcakes. Hundreds packed the store late afternoon on opening day Tuesday, giving cash registers the expected snap, crackle and pop that parent company Kellogg's anticipated after food bloggers and newsies held forth on the rectangular one's new house of worship.

Dozens lined up at a giant vending machine to order six two-packs ($12) of flavors among 25 as employees rushed to fill the slots behind the machine. Closer to the entrance, silk screeners did brisk business emblazoning three designs (not all of them Pop-Tart-related) on T-shirts. All the T-shirts, including the Statue of Liberty holding a Pop-Tart (my favorite), seem to run $20. The cheapest you can get out the door for on the tchotchke end is a Pop-Tart toaster fridge magnet for $4. Pop Tart lip balm was $5.

A little disclosure: My wife, who is French, banned Pop Tarts from our household, dismissing them as junk. Like croissants are a nutritional powerhouse. Pop Tarts were a staple in my family when I was growing up, so the kitcschy immersion was a bit cathartic.

Those of you who can't make it to Manhattan should be glad you paid less than $3 in many regions for eight Pop Tarts in your supermarket today. But when you finally visit this souvenir-packed homage to assembly-line American toaster pastry, be sure to try the much-hyped Pop-Tarts Sushi ($2.29), three kinds of crushed Pop Tarts wrapped in fruit roll. More than 250 orders were sold by 4 p.m., an employee said. Could that many Pop-Tarts fanatics be wrong?
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