July 27, 2010

A Prize Inside!

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As a kid, I would get oh-so-excited to find the prize in the bottom of my cereal box. I wish the healthy (boring!) cereals I eat as an adult were as fun! It's not very likely that I'll excitedly dig to the bottom of my box of Fiber-Crispies and pull out a secret de-coder ring. During the Great Depression, it was actually quite possible to eat your last bowl of oats and then pull a little trinket out of your empty oat container. The Quaker Oat Cereal Company helped keep one glass manufacturer in business by buying up several shipments of glassware and using the items as premiums (incentives) to buy Quaker Oats.

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Many people collected these ‘oatmeal glass’ pieces, one by one during the lean years of the depression until entire collections were completed. They are now highly desired collectible items. Even though we've been in a bit of an economic slump in the past few years, I can't imagine some of the dire straits that folks, especially those in the rural south faced during the Great Depression. I can waltz into Target anytime I feel like it and pick up a new set of cups or bowls. The idea of waiting until all the oats were eaten before discovering which new glass piece was revealed is sort of a novelty to me. But I know at that time, it was something of a treat.

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My good friend Mrs. C has an impressive collection of oatmeal glass and while I was looking at her pieces, I thought of the excitement that each one's original owner must have felt when she pulled it out of the oatmeal container. I'm so glad to have been raised to appreciate things of the past...things with a story. This is definitely something I wish would make a re-emergence. I know I would be more likely to buy a product if it included some little collectible item or its package was reusable. Wonder if we couldn't try to bring this back?

2010-07-27

11 comments:

  1. Wow, those pieces are really pretty! My grandparents had some really similar ones, now I wonder if this is what they were.

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  2. I just love looking at people's collections like that! I adore milk glass and wish I had more storage space so I could collect more pieces!

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  3. I love going to antique stores and looking at the glass. I recently bought a book all about the variations of Depression glass and I cannot wait to start collecting a few patterns.

    I think it would be so fabulous if companies started doing that again!

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  4. My grandmother had some similar pieces of glass. I love glassware and I also wish I had more space to keep/store it!

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  5. I didn't know that this went on! How cool! I always keep the little figures that come in my Red Rose Tea boxes. They're cute.

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  6. I didn't know about this! How cool, and what lovely glass!

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  7. I would love if companies did this again!

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  8. what a great and informative post -- thank you!! i love this idea and wish they'd do it again! can you imagine opening your oatmeal and finding a saucer? too cute!

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  9. I just went antiquing the other day and went down the same memory lane looking at treasures such as there and so many beautiful, quirky other things! Love your posts, love the cat!

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  10. maybe we can get a petition going to some of our favorite companies and bring back this sweet practice!

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  11. I would LOVE it if companies would start including useful stuff in their packaging! I got a lot of useless crap out of cereal boxes as a kid, but this glass?? An awesome incentive to actually EAT all of those oats...

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Lay it on me y'all!