Remember the days you could go to the grocer with your mother and rely on the cereal aisle to have box after box brandished with the words, and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘Free Toy Inside!’ Few and far between these days. I can remember hiding a box of Corn Pops under my bed overnight to be sure to get my hands on the sticky football that would tumble down any wall you chucked it at. (I was young, naive, and my brother already had one, so, fair play)
Furthermore.. do you remember the days that that fun toy was actually hidden, imbedded within the sweetness of the cereals for you to dig your hands in and excavate your prize? These days if you do luck upon a box with a toy inside, it is sealed in its own baggie, safely outside of the cereal bag itself. Now..I understand the modern desire to sanitise everything, but spelunking the box through masses of flakes or loops or puffs or what-have-you was one of the funnest parts of childhood. You earned that free toy inside. Allow me to tell you a story..
When I was four years old my mother brought a box of cereal home from the crunchly club.
The crunchly club is what, in my childlike innocence, I had dubbed “The Country Club”. A grocery store that once resided in the space that is now a Gold’s Gym just down the mall from Donatelli’s, near Century College. I’m sure many of you know the spot. As I recall I spent many-a-time side tracked from play, repeating those words, “crunchly club”, to my parentals, who assured me they weren’t laughing ‘at’ me.
The aforementioned box of cereal was a big box of the Cap’n. Cap’n crunch. So delicious, then and now. Of course, being the good old days, this box contained a free toy inside. A robot..which perhaps did something that I can’t recall. I wanted this robot.
Taking the box to my room I assured my mother I just wanted to look at the box.
“Just don’t open it” she said.
I closed the door. My first attempt to open a box of cereal culminated in an explosion of miniature yellow biscuits all over my childhood room.
I immediately started weeping uncontrollably, much like a four year old, which I was. Frantically, and in a panic, I started cramming handful after handful of cereal pieces and carpet fibers into the mangled bag and box, chanting a mantra of ‘mom is gonna be so mad at me’ ad nauseum.
When all was done I confessed my transgression to my mother between the dry hiccupy spasmic inhalations that only come to children after the most intense bouts of sobbing.
I never got the robot. To this day I’m not sure what it did, if anything,aside from being plastic and robot-y.
The cereal was likely tossed. Nobody should be eating that many foreign particles and carpet fibers.