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The Prize That Never Goes out of Style


Did you hear?

Cracker Jack will no longer bury prizes in their snack boxes. Instead, consumers will find a digital code that will link to a “baseball-inspired mobile digital experience.” The famous sailor boy mascot and his dog, Bingo, will also get an update.

The public reaction was swift and brutal. A woman named Janet raged, “This may be more stupid than Kanye, Cracker Jack New PackagingKim, Caitlyn, and who pee’s (sic) in what bathroom. The backbone of Cracker Jack has always been a young child’s treasure hunt……SHAME ON YOU. What an idiotic move.” A person named “ML” was a bit more charitable, but no less disappointed: “Obviously, they have no consideration for millions of kids that don’t have access to digital technology. Taking toys out of Crackerjacks will turn out to be one, huge fizzle, and totally irrelevant.”

Wow. Who knew that a little box of caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts could stir such passion? Why, there’s even a Facebook page, Put the PRIZE back in Cracker Jack, which, as of this writing, had almost 1100 Likes. I’ve had a few boxes of Cracker Jack since my childhood and I have to admit, the prizes were getting pretty lame. In this high-tech age, when kindergartners are using computers and smart tablets, I’m guessing cheap paper puzzles don’t hold much of a thrill. Me? I still struggle to remember what all those little buttons on the TV remote do.

Public tastes change; fads come and go; unpopular products go by the wayside (New Coke, anyone?). Sometimes I wonder if Christianity, with its ancient doctrines and rituals and teachings, will become irrelevant in a world where self-driving cars and space travel to Mars are just around the corner.

I certainly hope not. In fact, as we navigate this crazy ocean where technology seems to be surging ahead of our wisdom and compassion, I think we require an anchor more than ever. Humans will always need timeless spiritual values to ground them in the ever-shifting plate tectonics of this world.

So go ahead and enjoy that box of Cracker Jack, even if the prizes have changed. There is one prize that never goes out of style. Seek it with all diligence.

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