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"One of our first rules, especially amongst our membership, is drink it out of a glass," Christman says. "If you're drinking a Budweiser and hanging out with Miller guys, you don't want to offend anybody. Keep 'em guessing."

Susan Fussell, 33, Arlington

Vice president of communications, National Confectioners Association

So . . . you guys get good dental coverage?

"Candy is no more likely to cause cavities than any other fermentable carbohydrate," says Susan Fussell, pristinely on point. "We believe there's a place for candy in any healthy, active lifestyle."

Amen. Walk into the National Confectioners Association offices on the third floor of a drab building in Tysons Corner and you'll see a big gumball machine with the word "FREE" slapped where "25ยข" would be anywhere else. The lamps are made of cookie tins. Shelves of Toblerone, Mike and Ike, and Altoids line the temperature-controlled storage room. Boxes of gum are stacked like gold bullion.

Cubes of cocoa from Ecuador sit on Fussell's desk, spoils from a recent trip to South America, where she toured cocoa fields, met cocoa farmers and drank chocolate liquor (chocolate in a pure, unsweetened, non-alcoholic liquid form).

"Please, have some," she says.

No, thank you.

"Go on."

It's against company policy to accept gifts.

"Please."

Okay.


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