Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Just Wait 6 - 8 Weeks

One thing I miss about childhood are all the great mail-away offers.  You remember the ones, right?  With just 3 proofs of purchase and $5.99 shipping and handling, you could get some kind of really nifty thingamabob.  There was just something about the anticipation of waiting for it, the exclusivity of the thing you were sending away for, and just the novelty of getting mail.  Not just a letter or a birthday card from Grandma, but a full-blown parcel!

Of course, growing up with G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, it was something that became ingrained in you.  G.I. Joe was great for this, as each and every G.I. Joe toy had "Flag Points" on the back.  The Flag Points were your proofs-of-purchase, which you used to mail away for all the exclusive action figures.  My brother and I diligently collected all our Flag Points for a good three or four years, and then, when he was 12 and I was 10, we finally figured it was time to cash in.  Man o man, that was a great summer and a good portion of the fall.  Just about every two weeks we were getting another package from Hasbro with more rare G.I. Joe toys.  And it was all such legendary G.I. Joe mail away exclusives like the Manta Windsurfer, hooded Cobra Commander, and the one that started it all, the Steel Brigade customized figure.  For your six Flag Points and $5.99,  you could get a G.I. Joe whose code name was one that you chose, and whose real name was your name!  My brother was always nuts for aircraft and had just about every G.I. Joe airplane and helicopter...he got his Steel Brigade figure (code name:  Hi-Fi) so he could finally pilot all those planes.

When I grew up and started going to high school and college, I still sent away for the occasional thing.  When I was writing my epic series of entries about all the times I bought Star Wars, I mentioned that you could get a VHS tape of the TV special The Making of Star Wars, with two proofs-of-purchase from Froot Loops and $4.99.  I've still got that tape and watch it every once in a while...I'll probably be watching it less now seeing as to how The Making of Star Wars was included as a bonus feature on the new Star Wars Blu-Rays.  For more Star Wars stuff, I remember when the Special Editions hit theatres.  You could get an exclusive "Spirit of Obi-Wan" action figures from Lay's Potato Chips for three proofs-of-purchase and $4.99.  I got that, too, and it's still a nice addition to my action figure collection.

But my favourite had to be the hockey pennants.  Back in high school, I was eating a lot of Pop Tarts, and they had the promotion where they were giving away miniature hockey pennants...nothing fancy, just a three-inch strip of felt with the logo of an NHL team on it.  They were neat, but no matter how many Pop Tarts I ate, I kept getting the Chicago Blackhawks.  No offense to that fine organization, but after getting two dozen pennants, that's when you start getting a little frustrated.

That's when I read the side panel of the box, and discovered that for two proofs-of-purchase and $6.99 shipping and handling, you could send away for the complete set of pennants, plus a special board to mount and display them on.  So that's exactly what I did.  And, 6 - 8 weeks later, I got my complete set of pennants.  The mounting board was all laid out in the proper conferences and divisions...I remember it was the final season where the conferences and divisions were named after people (eg. the Whales Conference and the Campbell Conference instead of the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference).  I checked the sports section of the newspaper to make sure I got all the teams in their right divisions, and then hung it on my wall.  Some where between my teen years and my adult years, I misplaced that.  I kind of miss it...I'm sure there must be some kind of sports memorabilia collection who might pay a couple of bucks for it.

But now that I'm a responsible adult, I just don't do stuff like that anymore.  Walk down any grocery store aisle, and you'll see that there aren't really a lot of companies doing stuff like that anymore.  Granted, I do buy a lot of crap online, but that's just not the same.

So, back in the early summer, I was perusing the snack aisle, looking for some snacks to feast upon during another quiet, lonely night at home watching DVDs, when a fancy-looking Pringles can caught my eye.  Pringles was having a special mail away offer!  For 4 proofs-of-purchase and...nothing shipping and handling, you could send away for a gadget that turned a Pringles can into a speaker.  My curiosity was piqued.  So, I bought a can of Pringles for my movie-time snacks, and for the next few weeks until I had my four proofs-of-purchase.  I tossed my four proofs-of-purchase in the mail, and began waiting the 6 - 8 weeks.  Actually, 10 - 12 weeks, according to the package.

And then, late last week, I got a package in the mail from Pringles.

A red box with a picture of a speaker in middle, and with the title Pringle Amplified Speaker

Woo hoo!  My speaker had arrived.  So, of course, I had to open it up and try it out.  I was a little stunned that it was an amplified speaker...the original order form didn't say that.

The speaker gadget, 3 AAA batteries, and the instructions

In the box was the speaker gadget, three AAA batteries (Yes!  Batteries are included!) and the instructions.  So, of course, I had to fire it up and try it out.  The instructions are pretty simple:  put the batteries in, snap it into the top of a Pringles can, plug it into an MP3 player, turn it on, and enjoy some tunes!

So, what is the sound quality like from a speaker made out of a Pringles can?  Well, I made a video demonstrating it.

As I say in the video, the sound quality is a little tinny, and you occasionally get this weird metallic echo when you're listening to a podcast.  Other than that, it's pretty neat.  It'll find a place in my kitchen for listening to the radio when doing dishes.

It was a nice trip down memory lane, to once again send away for something like this.  However, I'm not as thrilled as I once was when I was a kid.  When I was a kid, I was all like, "Wow!  It's finally here!"  But now, I'm all like, "Oh, it's here."  Maybe my sense of childhood wonder had finally dissipated.  Maybe it's clinical depression.  All I know is, I have a really neat speaker. 

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