Cracker Jack was usually such a disappointment. You’d tear the open the top of the cheap cardboard box, then pull apart and eat some not-very-fresh popcorn covered in not-very-tasty caramel, along with some peanuts that seemed to have something kind of wrong about them. Then you’d finally get to the “prize” about two-thirds of the way down, which if you were lucky was some kind of cheap plastic lion or bear, but mostly you weren’t lucky. Maybe they’ve gotten better since I was a kid, but the two things I remember most distinctly were a sense of disappointment… and an eagerness to go back for more.
The genius of Cracker Jack isn’t that they sell caramel-covered popcorn of sometimes dubious freshness. The genius of Cracker Jack is that they sell the thrill of the unknown. “What is the prize? I simply must know!” That’s why Cracker Jack — first introduced in 1896 — is still around today. How many other name-brand consumer products can you buy right now that got their start near the end of the 19th century?
Now imagine the thrill of buying another inexpensive consumer product — in this case, a baby bouncer from Goodwill — and finding a Mossberg 715T semi-automatic .22LR rifle inside. And you didn’t even have to eat any of those weird peanuts to get to it. That’s exactly what happened to a Florida couple shopping for a baby shower present on Sunday.
FOX 35 Orlando reports:
Veronica Alvarez-Rodriguez said she was attending a baby shower on Sunday, so she stopped by the Goodwill in Valparaiso to pick up a gift. That’s where she found a Baby Einstein baby bouncer in an unopened box that appeared to be new. For only $9.99, it was quite a bargain.
Alvarez-Rodriguez took the gift to the baby shower where the father-to-be opened the box and said “You guys got me a gun.”
Best baby shower ever, you say? Indeed.
The doubters came out almost immediately on Twitter, and I admit to being one of them at first. It just doesn’t seem possible that an AR-style rifle could possibly fit inside that box, which apparently had shrinkwrap on it as though the baby bouncer was still new. And who could mistake the feel of a 5.5-pound steel rifle (more with the fully-loaded magazine that came with it) inside a box for a lightweight baby bouncer?
1. There's no way that fit in that box.
2. That "semi-automatic rifle" is a toy gun.
3. How are you guys coming along on the search for why everyone hates the media's guts? You and the Scooby Gang have any clues yet on that? https://t.co/jHwbpbg6ew
— Azathoth (@ArkhamRealty) December 4, 2019
But Veronica Alvarez-Rodriguez’s story about her accidental firearms purchase seems to hold up. In a Facebook follow-up post, Alvarez-Rodriguez uploaded a video showing that the rifle does indeed fit inside the bouncer box. And the rifle itself, which looked in the fuzzy Twitter photo like it might be just an airsoft gun, sure looks like the real deal in the full-resolution photos. I can’t explain why there’s also a box of 9mm rounds and a pistol magazine sitting next to the Mossberg, but whatever the reason, that’s my kind of baby shower.
Alvarez-Rodriguez said the local Crestview police checked the serial number, and that it was “clean.” Police will hold the rifle for 90 days, for reasons unspecified, but that after that yet-to-be-born Baby Jonathan will become the proud owner of his very first Mossberg.
Is this the weirdest prank ever, or what? I can’t imagine who would willingly part with a lovely varmint rifle as part of what I guess was an elaborate and anonymous gag. Or maybe some anti-gun-nut decided to show just how “easy” it is for kids to buy firearms — even before they’re born. Why, all you have to do is have your parents’ friend stop by a local Goodwill to pick you up a bouncer that someone stashed a rifle inside the box instead. Happens all the time, right?
To her credit, Alvarez-Rodriguez also said the Mossberg was “a total shock,” but that it was “hilarious, and just glad it came into safe hands with all of our husbands being military.”
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to run down to my local Goodwill. My oldest turns 14 later this month, and I need to rattle the toy boxes for that Browning .22 target pistol he’s been pestering me about for months.