Each summer our local market offers a game to encourage customer loyalty. We shop, and the market rewards us with little slips of paper to collect toward fabulous prizes. Each slip features photographs of "participating products" and corresponds to a spot on a booklet or game board. If all the slips that make up a category or group are collected, a prize is awarded. According to the children, we have "almost" won Free Fuel for One Year, a Dallas Shopping Spree, an Air Travel Package, a Family Getaway Trip, an Apple Macbook, $500 in Roadtrip Money, an iPod Nano, a $50 Grocery Gift Card, and several small cash denominations. In other words, we now have all the standard tokens. I know because I double checked. We have two game booklets. If there is only one missing tab in each prize category, and it is the same, then we can reasonably extrapolate that the missing token is "rare".
Having determined the missing tabs, we continue to open each game piece with bated breath. It's become the latest household reward for the child who gets to tear away the perforated edges to expose the potentially winning game stamp. In an effort to get the children moving, I can have them walk or bike to the store with me to pick up something or other for the household. We cover a roundtrip distance of four miles, and do not turn into lumps. And maybe we will discover one of the final missing pieces that will turn our glossy game booklets into groceries, gasoline, or some such other desirable thing. If not, we will at least have enjoyed good company and a bit of daydreaming as we take turns imagining which prize we might win with the purchase of our store brand waffles.