July 27, 2010

A Prize Inside!


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.


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.


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?