When I was a kid, my favorite cereal of the moment was usually ranked based on two very important criteria: total sugar content and desirability of the free prize inside. Once in a while, the prize inside was so valuable, you had to save up UPC labels from multiple boxes of cereal and send away for it. And once in a while, my mom let me do just that.
I remember one instance when I sent away for a limited edition Emperor Palpatine figurine from the then newly released Star Wars movie, Return of the Jedi. I think I started checking the mailbox the very day we sent out the hand-written envelope bursting with cardboard box tops to Kellogg’s.
Another opportunity to appreciate the joy of not knowing.
Every day I’d eagerly await the postman’s grinding engine stopping at the end of our gravel lane. I’d casually walk down the driveway, even though my heart was skipping several hundred feet ahead of me. Peering into the mailbox, I looked for any unusually-shaped box or bulky envelope. For a stretch of days that went longer than I’d hoped, but probably not as long as they seemed, the dark interior revealed nothing but boring envelopes addressed to everyone except me.
And on many of those days, I even remembered to bring the collection of uninteresting mail up the lane to my mom.
But finally, it did come. A small white box addressed to yours truly with a return label from some mysterious land known as Battle Creek, Michigan. The action figure was pretty much exactly how I expected, but of course, it never could light a match to the anticipation that built with each passing day.
Everyone likes getting something fun in the mail. Something other than bills and sales pitches. It’s one of those little joys that carries over from childhood. Admit it, every time you sort through a new batch of new mail, aren’t you secretly hoping to find some unexpected gem, something addressed by hand or slightly bulky? In the days of e-mail, e-cards, and instant messaging, the days of turning up something fun are quite rare indeed.
That childlike giddiness of getting something fun in the mail is something I wanted to capture with the Kim & Jason Lemonade Stand. Most of the time when you order something online, you get your stuff efficiently packaged in a boring box with a plain packing slip. Our goal is to take that average experience and sugarcoat it with childhood. What’s most gratifying is when customers write back or even blog about the experience they had opening our package. (Check out this wonderful account posted by Dora at Carebear in Crazyland.)
Feedback like that lets us know we’ve done our job.
And this line from Dora, regarding our Adultitis Stress Relief Tool, made me laugh out loud:
I think this, by far, is one of the best bits. Nothing fancy. Nothing expensive. But hell, if someone gives me a big roll of these things, I’m gonna wrap myself in it and roll down twenty flights of stairs.
We try and pay attention to the little things, just like children do. We aim to add those little unexpected surprises that have the power to brighten a whole day. Sure, it costs a little more, and takes a lot more time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’re not having fun, what’s the point?
Christmas is in the not-too-distant future, and I could easily turn this post into a sales pitch to get you to do your holiday shopping with us. (After all, Christmas shopping can be a daunting task; why not treat yourself to a little fun in the process?)
But the real (and more valuable) message is this: You too can help someone experience the magic of childhood. Give them the joy of finding something fun in the mail. Write them a letter — it doesn’t have to be Shakespearian. Something simple. Heartfelt. Address the envelope with crayon. Include something fun inside, something a little bit bulky…something that will make their curiosity salivate. In times of high stress and high anxiety, we all need a little pick-me-up. Don’t forget the little things can make the biggest difference.
How about you? What’s something fun you received in the mail recently? (Or when you were a kid?)