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Cracker Jack Prizes Suck

Once upon a time in 1893 Frederick William Rueckheim and his brother Louis, mass produced and sold at the Chicago World’s Fair, “candied popcorn and peanuts.” Which would later on garner the name of Cracker Jacks.

Now Cracker Jacks aren’t chocolate, but they are candied and well, it’s time someone said something about them. I enjoy caramel popcorn immensely and I like the candied peanuts as well. Not crazy about the totally lopsided peanut to popcorn ratio, but I’ll live. What I can’t live with is the promised “prize” inside.

Last night at a baseball game, enjoying the traditional Cracker Jacks, I pulled out my prize. Fully expecting a temporary tattoo, sticker or joke card, which to be fair, pales in total comparison to what they used to put in: tiny metal compasses, plastic trucks, holographic stickers, glow in the dark creature cards, whistles, plastic animals and other tiny miniatures, I found this instead.

What is that? Well that my friends, is the worst prize in Cracker Jack history. Worse than any temporary tattoo or joke of popsicle stick grade. It’s Susan B. Anthony as a young woman, complete with a guess who I am history lesson on the left side. On the back side, the history lesson continues, informing you to look for the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin.

So what was the prize part? Young Susan folds up to show you….Old Susan! Oh, hooray! And old lady fold up. What a prize.

OK, history comes alive, I get it. Yes, Susan B. Anthony did a lot for woman kind. But was this really the best prize to make from this concept?

She belongs on the dollar coin, not in my Cracker Jacks!

Now a good prize would have been the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. Like that’ll ever happen.

39 thoughts on “Cracker Jack Prizes Suck

  • Ariana

    My theory – too many unattended children choking on random cracker jack toys. Parents give to their children forgetting what is inside or not removing it first and are ASTOUNDED that their children put everything in their mouths and swallow. I’m not bitter, really. Just disappointed that those silly parents have ruined cracker jacks for the rest of us!

  • Vegan-Chocoholic

    hah! well if you want good treats, you have to get kinder eggs! (Are they still banned in the U.S?)

  • Ella

    I got the exact same prize today and i said the same exact thing, i mean do you remember when they used to give stickers and tattos and such. i looked up prizes and there this was.. what can i say… what happened to the good old days?

  • Andrew

    What a buzz kill it was at the ballpark the other night! I could feel the prize from the outside and just knew I was in store for some tattoos! I opened the package only to find some lame cut out deal with a picture of ants that you slide over a pencil. When you are done, it appears the cartoon ants are walking on the pencil. The girlfriend just doesn’t understand my disappointment. Oh well, at least the beer was cold!

  • CocoaZilla Post author

    Ants on a pencil? Perhaps it’s time that adult Cracker Jacks were invented. The same tasty treat but with a real prize inside.

  • Club Penguin Cheats

    Parents give to their children forgetting what is inside or not removing it first and are ASTOUNDED that their children put everything in their mouths and swallow. I’m not bitter, really.

  • jon sweitzer

    Well Like everything else,All good things in this life must come to an end. Iam just glad that i had the great fortune of being born when i was in 64. What a GREAT time to grow up and witness SO many wonderful and memorable things that truly signified what we really were as a country… And even though my life is probably more than half over Im glad of that too, because the world has gone to HELLl in a Handbasket anyway!..

  • Doug

    I said the same exact thing this afternoon when I opened a box of Cracker Jacks for the first time in about 25 years. The prize was some stupid folding thing with a face on it. Talk about sucking. My son will never know the joy of finding a neat surprise inside his Cracker Jacks. It’s more than likely the fault of idiot parents who never watch their children and the sue happy culture we live in. Once again, mankind’s greed destroyed something innocent and fun. CJ might as well not even put anything in the box except the treat.

  • Christine

    I totally agree!! I got the exact same prize in my Cravcker Jack and I was like WTF!! I wanted a whistle or a decoder ring or I don’t know something else that wasn’t Susan B Anthony( btw originally I thought it was Benjamin Franklin) I want to write an anrgy letter to Cracker Jack cuz they owe me a better prize!!!!

  • CocoaZilla Post author

    LOL. Ok- the Ben Franklin crack is excellent and sad. Excellent because it is true, but sad also because it’s true. BRING BACK THE DECODER RING!

  • KMaster

    I’m 13, and I wish I COULD have x-ray specs, decoder rings, or glow-in-the-dark stickers. Like the taste. Hate the “prizes”

  • Don

    I remember when my boss pulled a small magnifying glass out of a Cracker Jack box and that was only in 1997!!! And since the doctor recommended age for children eating popcorn is 4 years then there should not be a problem with popcorn having small toys!!! Either that or raise the age for Cracker Jack consumption to “Adults Only!” and give us back our cool prizes!!!!!

  • Kari

    Today, being the Brewers home opening day, the boss came around with bags of peanuts and boxes of Cracker Jacks. I tore into my box right away, and boy was I disappointed! I got a picture of Alexander Hamilton. I’m sorry, this is NOT a prize! I’d like to think that kids nowadays are just as smart as we were and knew better not to eat the prize. I’m guessing that the real reason they changed to the truly cheapo junk is because it costs them a lot less. A postage stamp size piece of paper is a lot cheaper than a plastic ring, or those cool magnifying glasses!

    Oh yeah, and I think I had maybe 5 peanuts in the entire box! Cheap, cheap, cheap!!! It’ll probably be another 35 years before I open another box, and I hate to think what will be in it then.

  • CocoaZilla Post author

    The prize will probably be a wish for peanuts. That’s all. I really hate Cracker Jack prizes now- they’re not even trying anymore.

  • Me

    You get what you get. Move on, the world is at war, oil is getting us into wars food prices are high . Lots of things are getting bad .

  • Kate Kelly

    I was reading for info on what people are getting as Cracker Jack prizes now for a feature I’m doing about baseball traditions for my website, Readers might be interested to know that presidential trading cards were among the early prizes. While I totally agree that a miniature toy is a lot more fun than a Susan B. Anthony card, it’s interesting to note that the company is actually reviving something that’s close to an old tradition.

  • back2thefuture

    They still suck and its cheap, I bet its walmart fault. I got the same piece of paper except with a cow on one side and a duck on the other. A REAL JEM

  • Coura

    I bought one the other day and our prize was worse than yours… it’s a little piece of paper with a slit cut at the top and bottom. On the paper is a printed piece of pencil and a couple of bugs. The idea is you feed your pencil (you provide) through the slit.

    Yup. That’s it.

  • Jackie Alfirevic

    I wrote to them. Told them how disappointing those prizes are. Told them that they should change the words on the box which were “fun surprise inside”. I said these paper fold ups were neither fun, nor surprising since that is all they ever put in there. Now it says, “prize inside”. There you have it.

  • CocoaZilla Post author

    Agreed and thank you for taking the time to notify them what a total suckfest their “prizes” are.

  • Jessica

    when I was about 6 years old I had to have massive invasive surgery on my eyes, to top it off, I was one of those unlucky rare people where the anasthesia paralyzed me and made me unable to talk but I was still awake and felt every thing throughout the entire surgery, (it’s a real thing, look it up) which needless to say messed me up psychologically for the rest of my life, afterwards while I was healing from the surgery I was completely 100% blind for about 2 weeks, when we were released from the hospital and were driving back to Colorado (the surgery was done in Houston) my mom stopped and bought me a little treat, a box of cracker jacks, when my eyesight came back, that was the first thing I saw, was that box of cracker jacks, ever since then they’ve been something of an important symbol for me.

    tonight I picked up a box for that very reason, open it up expecting, as you said a glow in the dark sticker or one of those little games where you have to get the little beads into the holes and I got the same thing you got only it was Alexander Hamelton,

    I broke down and cried

  • Mary

    They are just being cheap. It can’t be because it is a choking hazard. Peanuts and popcorn are a choking hazard!!!

  • jeff

    I totally agree!!!!!!!!!!
    Bring back the tatoos. At least the cracxker jacks are still top notch@

  • Debra

    Just what I was thinking, Mary! Choking hazard? Nope, the product is that already. Given the paltry peanuts quota and the extreme cheapness of the prizes, it’s clear that Cracker Jack is going down fast. What I don’t understand is why they couldn’t at least put in stickers. What’s cheaper than stickers? Kids feel like they actually got something when they get stickers. Of course, the dreadful graphics I’ve seen on the prizes lately might be enough to ruin even a sticker or temporary tattoo. Seems like they’re shaving costs in every conceivable area. Like many of you, I grew up with better prizes. We didn’t mind a tattoo, but it was even better if we got a toy. I got a magnifying glass once. And they varied! You didn’t know what sort of thing would be yours. I remember the simple paper packets bulging with their humble contents. Even in college, when we would but it just for laughs, we got teeny baseball cards and we thought THAT was lame! They’re probably collectible now or something… Anyway, we’ve seen a lot of the lame prizes lately because someone at my husband’s work gave him a whole bag of the little boxes… So I finally decided to look it up and vent. Also, I don’t agree that the product is top notch… it seems like they didn’t have enough syrup to cover the popcorn.

  • cashbox

    Agreed!!!! 100% ……The box clearly states PRIZE inside. So I buy a box dig around and pull out a piece of paper…It says “GUESS WHAT’S INSIDE?” I didn’t need to guess cuz I already knew it would be a POS paper with 2 slits with ants on it. WOW I can’t wait to put this on my pencil, so exciting….Oops it ripped… there goes my prize. The side of the box says “Now, there are new surprises waiting for you- so open a box and enjoy”….The only thing I’m enjoying is throwing this box away!
    The other side of the box says, ” Tastes just as good as you remember- A delicious blend of carmel coated popcorn and peanuts, with A FUN SURPRISE in every box”…….Prize means something exceptionably desirable. No one desires your crappy paper. Bring back the tattoos, magnify glass, whistle, stickers & etc , Frito Lay you greedy corporate bastards you owe me some tattoos and peanuts

  • shrinkydinks n' pop rocks

    Is this where we come to share our stories of woe upon finding the horrid (and quite common, I see) “smiling red ants with brown shoes” pencil topper?! Gahd – talk about being jolted back to reality. For a moment, I thought I could at least have some satisfaction in believing that my “prize” was unique, for what that was worth. Now, I just see that I’m one of the disappointed, nostalgic masses.

  • CrackerCrap in Daytona

    I just had a small bag of Cracker Jack and got the Alexander Hamilton “Prize”. Whoopdeefuckindo! I can’t even believe a typical kid would even know who the hell that is, especially the terrible picture of him in the so-called “prize” which is not a whole lot different looking than Susan B. Anthony (by the way, no kid will know who she is). I can’t imagine there isn’t some sweatshop in China that couldn’t provide Cracker Jack/Frito Lay with some nice cheap plastic junk to put in there. However the lead paint would probably draw a class-action lawsuit. Oh well. I need to get to playing with my Alexander Hamilton picture. The fun is too intense for me to contain myself so I should get back to it right away!

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  • Here, Here

    This was such an interesting read! When I was just starting kindergarten I happened to recall my GG (grandmother) introducing me to this very snack– & to
    d how it had a surprise inside. Like many kids, I was excited to see what it would be. Was it like one of those little toys that came from a machine? Would it be as good as the ones in a cereal box? Even at such an early age my immediate reaction upon discovering the ‘prize’ was ‘ this really it??’. Needless to say..I was a little bit disappointed. To this day anybody could tell you that I have always ragged on CJ for this. Wouldn’t you know that I just learned that the original prizes were up there with today’s Happy meals? xD

    In all truth though it actually saddened me how the companies were okay with downgrading the prizes. Talk about dramatic changes, right? Before I never would have thought for one second that….

    Sigh. It’s too depressing. A moment of silence for the former greatness of Cracker Jack..

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