Holy smokes ladies and gents, it has been a while. The Video Store article was meant to be my big comeback, but life happened, and it kept me away from really sitting down and hammering this thing out. I've been able to put in a little time here and there, so I am happy to give you the final product: Free With Proof of Purchase!
A phrase that has sold many boxes of cereal over the years. Whether it be in the box itself, or through the mail, we all BEGGED our parents to buy us cereal based upon what the prizes were. Hell, we even ate crappy cereal for a good prize (although they never ate good cereal for a crappy prize...the madness!). I have vivid memories of being a kid in the grocery store...
My brother and I always looked forward to shopping with my grandmother. Why? That's a silly question! We all know why! Because grandparents buy you all of the stuff your parents won't. And apparently, all grandparents are rich. Seriously, every grandparent I ever met has bought and still buys everything their grandchildren wanted, whether they asked for it or not. Even into my mid 20s, my grandmother still throws money at me like I'm 7 years old.
Back on track, the grocery store fun. We would walk aisle by aisle, loading things into the cart. Then it came to the cereal aisle, and the free-for-all began. My brother and I would take off looking for good prizes...I mean cereal. Don't get my wrong, we had our priorities in check. We always went for our favorite cereals first in the hopes that there was a great prize inside. Below is a little diagram of how the plan went down.
The last option was one we hardly ever used, or had to for that matter. Keep in mind, 6-8 weeks is a long time. If I want it, I want it now. Let's be clear on something, we never wanted to wait. At the same time, we never had to worry about such things because when we were kids, there was almost always a great prize in the box. Nowadays, the prizes suck, even the ones by mail. It's so bad that I would buy the brand X stuff just to save a few dollars. Nothings worse than a $5 cereal with a $.05 prize I always say.
Boy oh boy, were some of those prizes great and memorable. You've gotta wonder if kids living in the current generation will be coming to a website like this in 15 years talking about the great cereal box prizes. Probably not. In fact, the current generation is so damn spoiled, that they'll have a site like this to COMPLAIN about their childhood. This computer wasn't fast enough, the graphics on this sucked, etc. Little brats, I remember the Windows 95 start up gallery where you had to move your way through what looked like an upscale ski cabin. And you know what, I LOVED it!
Sorry, back to the story at hand. Memorable prizes of my lifetime. I got to thinking about this the other day while I was buying a box of Trix. Yeah, I should also mention that 3 or 4 times a year, I say screw my diet, I want to eat like a kid. I'll kill a box of Trix overnight and wash it down with Hi-C. I was walking through my local Stop and Shop, or Giant as it is known in other parts of the USA, and I was scoping out the cereals and their prizes. The prizes sucked and I started to think, we had this, that, and the other thing. I concluded it was a fitting article and here we are, some of the most memorable cereal box prizes:Ducktales Toys:
These toys hit the cereal boxes in the early 90's, I want to say it was 1991. They did absolutely nothing...they stood there...but we loved them just the same. Why? They were some of our favorite characters, and you could still incorporate them into whatever game you were playing. Scrooge and his money are being help captive by Rowdy Roddy Piper, until Peter Venkman, Raphael, and Gizmoduck save the day. Classic toy, classic characters. There was also a Launchpad magnifying glass prize, but I couldn't find any photos. I remember when I was little, I used this as a hockey puck on the kitchen floor. I accidentally shot it under the kitchen and my world was shattered. When my parents decided to redo the kitchen many years later, 13 if I remember correctly, I was reunited with my magnifying glass puck. It was a good day.Trix Color Changing Spoons:
We all had em, and we all loved them! Trix Color Changing Spoons, I think I had 3 of them. For those of you who don't remember, these spoons would change color the minute you put them in cold milk. It was one of the coolest prizes I had gotten, at that time at least. What amazed me most of all was the fact that we had them for years, and the color change was as good on the last day as it was on the first day. Here's a commercial: http://www.retrojunk.com/details_commercial/11513/Batman Bank:
America's favorite vigilante imortalized on screen and in cereal. How better to enjoy your Batman cereal than with your Batman bank. You felt like a badass sitting down at the table with one of these in what I believe was 1989. But let's be real, as cool as you felt with the Dark Knight, you felt cooler with...Ninja Turtle Bowl:
Oh yeah baby, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They had a cereal, and now you had the bowl to go along with it. If memory serves me right, the bowl was attached to the cereal box, and the same can be said for the Batman bowl. I had three of these bowls, and my parents still have them in the house. From time to time, while visiting their house, I'll reach deep into the cabinet and pull one of these babies out. What amazes me to this day, is that they still look pretty good. The paint hasn't worn much, and there are no chips or cracks. Turtle power!Kellogg's Excellent 90's CD:
Tony the Tiger singing "Everbody Plays The Fool", I don't know whether to laugh or cry. This was one you had to get by mail, therefore we didn't get it. But hey, a great Cd and for nostalgia perposes, it made the cut. Commercial: http://www.retrojunk.com/details_commercial/10774/Giga Pet:
Back in the mid 90's, we were obsessed with living keychains that weren't actually alive. Yep, the Tamagotchi took the US by storm. What was the point? Feed a keychain pet fake food, or it dies. Game over. Yet somehow, stores were able to charge $50 for these things and we ate them up. Everyone had one. I had one and so did my brother. As per usual, a gift from grandma. Except when she got them, it was at the end of what was in stock, and these things were so hard to find, you didn't say no when you found them. So what did we get? Pink and White Tamagotchies.
Like everything else, someone else had to make a knockoff, and so now enters the Giga Pet. The poor mans Tamagotchi. And if it wasn't bad enough that people would have one, they would have three more so that it had "friends"...yikes. I'll never forget being in the fourth grade and riding the bus on the way home from school. Some girl had dropped one. I found it was going to keep it. Suddenly she rushed back onto the bus and saw me with it. If only I knew that all I had to do was eat Chex: http://www.retrojunk.com/details_commercial/9750/Wristband Snaps:
Total monster when you talk about 90's fashion. Everyone I knew had the wristband snaps. I had a bunch myself. I remember distinctly having a ninja Turtles one. Cereal companies were all over this one. Here's a Honeycombs commercial advertising them: http://www.retrojunk.com/details_commercial/7919/Hot Wheels:
Hot Wheels...that's all you need to say. Every boy has had, and still has, his Hot Wheels. They are an American staple, and a favorite of childhoods past and present. Cars, we all love them, and Hot Wheels did it right. These things were everywhere. I remember when I was 5 years old, and my parents had just gotten our place upstate. I've mentioned it in older articles.
When we were moving stuff in, my brother and I found dozens of Hot Wheels buried in the yard. My mom gave us a bag from a loaf of Wonder Bread, and told us to gather them up. She cleaned them for us, and we played with them none stop. We had those cars, and that bag, for the better part of 10 years. I'm not sure where that bag is anymore. Cereal companies always had these as a giveaway, as did restaurants like McDonalds. Here's a commercial: http://www.retrojunk.com/details_commercial/7486/CHEXMAN!!!!! (Chex Quest, technically):
Sorry, I got a little too excited there, but come on now, it's Chexman! I remember vividly getting this gem. My mom had taken my brother and I to Price Club, now known as Costco. We head towards the cereal aisle where they sell cereal boxes by the pack. You know, just in case the nuclear fallout actually happens.
We start checking out the cereals for prizes, and I spot a box with a CD ROM INSIDE! In the mid 90's, this was a big deal. CD Rom games came at a premium, and we were sure to only get them for birthdays and Christmas. We grab it, and my mom said to us, "Are you only getting this because it has a game?". "No mah, we like Chex'. We never had Chex before and she knew it because she never bought it before. It wasn't half bad, although we never got it again, but hey, things come and go.
We got home and I immediately popped this one in. I loved this game, and so did my brother. The graphics didn't suck for a freebie, and neither did the gameplay. simple concept, you play as Chexman and shoot slime at creatures. It was really a lot of fun. Enough to the point that I played it for YEARS. I'd even pop it out from time to time while I was in High School, just to relive fond memories and missions. Believe it or not, this was my all time favorite cereal box prize, I don't care what anyone says. Aaaaaand commercial:
Well, there it is folks. Some of my most memorable cereal box prizes. May have been a little brief, but with this type of subject, we could have gone on for pages. I always like talking about these types of things, and telling some of my stories. Thanks for checking this one out with me. What were some of your favorites? I'd love to read about them in the comments section. I really had a lot of fun with this one, as I do with all of my articles. I know I have said it before, but this time, it's for real...I'm back!