When I was a kid, I chose cereal based solely on what toys were inside, which explains how I ended up eating so many boxes of C-3POs. If you never had the privilege of tasting C-3POs, try to imagine eating a bowl full of sugar-sweetened styrofoam packing material. Mmm. As I grew older, my focus switched to healthier reasons for choosing breakfast food (except for those decadent Pop Tart years in college. Ah, those were the Gatsby days.) It’s a good thing I don’t have kids, because—kavark!—have you seen how expensive cereal is now? It’s a sad, sad day when I have to put back a case of champagne to buy cereal. With the world in economic ruin and cereal prices looming towards $5 a box, I thought it was time to prepare a feature on how to get the most from your money in the cereal aisle. And by that, I mean toys. So here’s what the major manufacturers are offering up right now:
It’s all Star Trek with Kellogg’s right now. They’re offering up a Star Trek Beam-Up Badge in specially marked packages of cereal, as well as a mail-in redemption for a Star Trek Flash Drive Wristband. On larger, economy-sized boxes, they have Star Trek Data Cards you can cut out and collect. I went with the Beam-Up Badge, because I don’t want to wait 6-8 weeks for a toy with my cereal. The badge is pretty cool. It lights up, but they’re quick to warn you it runs on a non-replaceable battery. Also, while the badges are pictured as coming with neat little display stands, mine didn’t. Still, it’s been fun flashing my badge at everyone: friends, family, police officers.
Post has decided to complicate things. They’ve created a token system, where you cut out tokens from the packaging, save them, then redeem them for things like a Kung Fu Panda blanket or a Flinstones dance mat. Their big promotion right now is the Night at the Museum Sleepover. I’m just going to assume it’s aimed at kids. Though I’m sure the Smithsonian would prefer a group of thirty-somethings over a group of 10-year olds. Maybe. I didn’t buy any Post products this time. I couldn’t think of a single reason to have a Kung Fu Panda blanket.
3. General Mills
Like I said, I like to open the box and get the toy right away. General Mills understands this, because they’re offering a free Lego Racer inside their cereals. I got my car, put it together and even applied the decals. Now it’s sitting on my desk, and it’s been loads of fun to play with and take apart while I should be working or paying attention on conference calls.
Final Recommendations: To get the biggest bang for your breakfast buck, I recommend the Star Trek Beam-Up Badge from Kellogg’s and the Lego Racer from General Mills. I may also go for the Star Trek Flash Drive Wristband, although such a thing might cross the line between everyday geekery into cartoonish super-geekery. Now, eat your breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day!