This weekend my family was able to attend a bar-b-que for our ward birthday party. On every table was bunches of bags of Cracker Jacks. The turnout to the party was actually quite low, so we got to take home a lot of Cracker Jacks. Ches and I were excited because we knew there was always a prize inside. Remember how exciting it was as a kid to break open a box of Cracker Jacks and find a cool plastic ring, or some fun stickers? It was awesome, huh? Well, we were excited to share this piece of childhoos with our children, but do you know what was the prize in each package? Some lame thing that gave facts about a historical figure. The other prize was this paper thing that you fold and unfold and make it so the picture of the animal on the paper now has a mouth that can open and shut, thereby making it “talk”. Really, really lame.
You know it has to be lame when I actually use the word “lame”. I mean, I don’t think I’ve really used that word since high school. When it was cool to say “lame”.
I remember as a kid that getting sugar cereal was such a treat not only because it was rarely bought, but because there was always some toy in that box, too. Since becoming an adult, those toys have turned into codes to go online and play games or something.
Speaking of codes, do you remember when you would buy a bottle of pop at a convienience store and twist the lid to see what you won? You never knew if it was going to be $100, another free pop, or the message, “Sorry, please try again!” (which is what I always got). Now you twist the lid and there’s some mysterious code of letters and numbers. Then you have to go online to a certain website, type in the code to see if you won anything, and somehow get your name on a list to recieve a hundred pieces of spam in your inbox everyday.
Maybe it’s pricing. Maybe companies just can’t afford to put a cool prize in their boxes. Maybe they have to put codes under the lid rather than an actual prize because the company needs their advertisers that send all the spam. Maybe it’s all about marketing and trying to get you to keep trying and come back for more. I don’t know. All I know is that when I open a box of Cracker Jacks, I expect a secret decoder ring. I don’t want a lame piece of paper with a cartoon duck on it.