But I think there's a distinction between thinking that giving a child candy is okay and thinking that people's intentions are good when they offer a child candy. They're being thoughtless, and they are putting you in a bad position, but that's not their intention -- they're thinking, "Kids like candy. Hey, there's a kid. Hey, here's some candy. I'll give some candy to the kid." So while I agree with you in principle, I can also see that, nonetheless, most people are, in their own way, being kind when they do all that thoughtless parental undermining.
In fact, I wasn't even irritated at this one lady who discreetly asked me if she could give DD a lollipop (the ONLY person I can remember who did this! I was actually really happy for a moment!) and I smiled and said something like "Thanks, but it's too close to her bedtime" or something - and she gave DD the pop anyway! I just assume she just heard "thanks" and went with that. So I just smiled and thanked her, and DD (sigh) had the lollipop.
One time when DD was really little, maybe 5 months old, a guy at a liquor store (we were buying a bottle of wine for our visiting MIL) handed us some sweet for DD. At this point, it wasn't an issue; DD didn't know what it was and we just thanked the guy and DH put it in his pocket. But what was weird is, the guy launched into a tirade about parents who don't let their kids have the candy he gives them. "You wouldn't believe the number of parents who actually don't want the candy! What is this world coming to!" And apparently still keeps offering kids candy even though he's found many parents don't want them to have it
Heck, even our contractor, who's an awesome contractor, has a real bee up his butt about restricting children's access to sugar. It really makes him angry. He once saw DH had a Dunkin Donuts coffee and assumed we were God fearing, Dunkin Donuts patrons (in Massachusetts it's almost the law to eat donuts from there - frequently!) and launched into a similar tirade as the liquor store clerk. DH recently went to his house to work on his computer, and the guy slipped DH 2 bucks specifically to stop by Dunkin Donuts on the way home for DD.
So obviously I'm not the only one with strong feelings about the matter!
I've learned to mostly avoid places that offer treats, the bank being the only place we can't avoid (all 3 banks in our town offer lollipops, and believe me, DD knows this!!!). So she gets a lollipop twice a month when DH goes to the bank. What are ya gonna do? Still cheeses me off...