Do you remember when you were a kid and cereal boxes were mail order heaven? Cereal companies would offer anything they could for just a low price of $3.49 (shipping and handling) with 4 proof-of-purchases? It was a marketing strategy that worked wonders. Any kid that would read the back of a cereal box was a target. They would see that secret decoder ring and wham, the begging and pleading to their parents starts. “The only cost is for shipping and handling, it is only 4 proof-of-purchases, I will eat all of the cereal, I promise”.
The cereal boxes were bought and you ate cereal for every meal trying to finish each box just to get to the next one. Even as you grew up, you started to catch on to the game plan. By then, you would try to cut out the proof-of-purchases without destroying the box, knowing that cereal is going to pour out of the hole that you just created.
Once you got all the proof-of-purchases, you cut out the order form from the cereal box. You filled it out so very carefully, got your parents to write a check for the shipping and handling, grabbed an envelope and a stamp and out it in the mailbox it went. All the anticipation for getting the required items has built up to this day, your order was going into the mail. It was a perfect day for you. You could not care less that it was going to be 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. That is no problem. You could handle it. The first week goes by and then you start thinking, wait a minute…4 to 6 weeks? That is a month and a half. Oh, it will come in 4 weeks and I will have that wonderful toy in just 3 weeks now.
By the time the 3 week shows up, you start watching the calendar, counting off the days from when you circled the date you sent it out via snail mail. By the 4th week, you are getting of the bus, running into the house screaming “Did it come?” to your mother, only to hear the dreaded “no, dear, your package did not arrive”. After your expectations are crushed at that moment, you think to yourself that it is ok, it will be here tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and still no package…you start to wonder what if they lost your order in the mail? What if it got wet and you could not read the order form? What if the limited supply ran out because you did not eat that cereal quick enough. It was going to be the end of the world. You just had to have that glow-in-the-dark watch. Eventually, you got home from school, walked into the house without any questions or excitement, resigned to the fact that you would have to wait another day only to find sitting in the middle of the kitchen table was your PACKAGE. It was the best day ever. You have renewed your faith in the mail order system/postal service. There is nothing better.
About 3 weeks ago, I pulled a box of Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries out of the pantry and read the back of the box. They were offering a retro Cap’n t-shirt for 4 proof-of-purchases and $3.49 for shipping and handling. I finally sent off my order form yesterday. It is going to be a long 4 to 6 weeks.