There's a Prize in Every Box

Packed with vitamins, minerals and hard plastic
I was pouring a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats this morning and - what’s that you say? Yes, I’m going to start trying to lose some weight, but not today. It’s Tuesday. Give me a break. You can’t start a new life of skinniness and health on a Tuesday. Monday I start eating Unfrosted Mini Wheats and my daughter’s organic, happy cow, skim milk.

But for today, it’s Frosted for me. So I started to pour from the new box and out plopped a toy. Imagine my surprise. I didn’t know we were still getting toys in cereal! 

It took me about 7 minutes to open the package. It was wrapped tightly in a plastic wrapper. Once I got that opened, there was another plastic wrapper that was both sealed shut and taped with strong strapping tape. By the time I got it opened I was mad at Frosted Mini Wheats, mad at Kellogg, and mad at Indiana Jones. And I’m an adult with fingernails. If I were a child, I’d be really pissed.

It was an Indiana Jones light-up spoon. The handle looks like an ancient Egyptian column that says Indiana Jones in red, adventurous letters and it has a switch at the bottom. When you flip on the switch and press the red button, the spoon turns red. And there’s a spider on the part that you put in your mouth. Mmmmm.

In my attempt to open my Indiana Jones light-up spider spoon, I ripped apart the instructions. The writing on the bag is all stretched out. The only legible part said I was supposed to No sumergit el mango en un liquido, ya que no es a prueba de agua. Drawing on Mrs. Lindh’s Spanish II, I think I’m being told not to submerge a mango in liquid because it’s not a water probe. 

Before Happy Meals, cereal was the best source of acquiring new plastic toys. They used to be down at the bottom of the box. But not the exact bottom. The toy was placed at any number of different longitudes and latitudes in the cereal, in an attempt to get you to first eat the cereal before you got the prize. How many people remember plunging their hands down into a big box of Cocoa Krispies, up to the elbow, and squiggling your hands around, searching for that prize? Raise your sugar-covered hands.

Cracker Jacks couldn’t really hide their prizes, because the boxes were too small and in the Cracker Jacks I had, the popcorn was cemented together with stale sugar and corn syrup, making it a solid popcorn-peanut-toy mass.

There’s a book called Cereal Boxes and Prizes, 1960s: A Tribute and Price Guide.  Apparently some guy named Scott took high quality photos of all the toys he got from cereal in his childhood and estimated how much money you could sell them for now. 

I’m thinking I should have done that. I like taking pictures. I like saving things. I like having a good reason for savings things that no one is going to play with anymore.

I’ll start with my Indiana Jones light-up spider spoon. As soon as I finish my Frosted Mini Wheats.