Sunday, September 24, 2006

Were you a "bought lunch kid" or a "sandwich for home" kid?

So after the Renn Faire last night, I ate dinner with theCSO and six of our friends. Still thinking about PB's post about a Lunchables commercial, I brought up the subject to our table.

"So, y'all remember lunchables? Were they a rich kid or poor kid thing?"

FWIW, the answers came out as follows:

CC and someone else thought of them as a rich kid thing.

Two people thought of them as a poor kid thing, explaining that the rich kids bought their lunches. (Ironically, I'm almost certain school lunches would have been less expensive, which doesn't at all mean those people weren't right.)

Oddly enough, the four people who were cleanly divided on the issue all went to school in the same county within a few years of each other.

Two people were too old and were out of school when they came out.

TheCSO said they were a "lucky kid thing" because they looked better than a regular lunch. Various people around the table concurred. CC recalled, as she did on the thread following Peacebang's post, that Lunchables always looked sophisticated and adult to her when she was a child.

The last person had gone to school in a town that she described as the "Welfare Capital of Idaho" she said nobody ate lunchables because everyone got their lunches for free.

The results of the survey are pretty inconclusive, IHMO. But other aspects of the conversation interested me.

One of the more conservative people at the table (NOT CC) started a discussion about how the kids who got free and reduced price lunches got the same lunches as the kids who paid full price and that as a kid he didn't think that was fair.

Various people expressed their disagreement with various levels of enthusiasm, but it's safe to say he was alone on that one.

Everybody recalled knowing from a very young age who the rich kids were and who the poor kids were and how what you had for lunch was pretty important. Various people recalled stories of good and bad school lunches from yesteryear. CC packed her own lunch and tended to bring weird stuff like a deli carton of leftover cole slaw. One guy reported taking a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich to school every day for six years.

There was a lot of significance to that 45 minutes a day.



Anonymous said...

To increase your sample size:

This midwestern-raised kid bought the school lunch every year for a decade. My mother found it difficult to make a lunch herself for under $1.35 a day that was as healthy and as varied as school lunches (and that didn't require refrigeration). She also felt that Lunchables were largely overpriced for the food they offered.

From 1st to 12th grade, it was rare for any student to bring in a lunch from outside the school. Even the Amish bought in.

Joel Monka said...

I, like nearly all my classmates, walked home for lunch- as I went to school before busing, kids had neighborhood schools. As to lunchables, I had been out of highschool fifteen years before they were invented.

blah said...

My mom packed my lunch, then in high school, I packed it.

If I forgot my lunch, typically I bought nachos/cheese and a pack of donuts. The rest of the food looked gross.

I did have lunch-envy in elementary school, but not for the lunchables type meals--for those kids whose moms wrote little notes and put surprises in their bags. I only got food. :)

TheCSO said...

45 minutes? We only got 30..

Anonymous said...

I brought lunches from home -- no other option, and lunchables hadn't been invented. One of my mother's closest friends owned the local Health Food store, so my lunches tended toward the healthy. I also sometimes got notes and treats.
The note I remember said:
Tigers are furry,
Fishes are Finny,
Eat all your lunch
So you won't be so skinny.

Actually, I always did eat it, I was just skinny. Not any more.

Cindy said...

No such thing as lunchables when I was a kid, they were "invented" 15 years after i got out of school, but even if there was such a thing, we couldn't have afforded them, and my mom was committed to our putting only healthy food in our mouths.

I ate bread with either
peanut butter and banana,
peanut butter and jelly,
peanut butter and baco's,
cucumber and mayo,
tomato and mayo,
fried egg, and occasionally,
just mayo.

and an apple.

and sometimes a celery with peanut butter in it. and sometimes 4 ritz crackers with peanut butter between them. (sense a theme?)

I usually got a nickle or dime to buy a milk. I was that kid in every school that always begged what the other kids didn't eat.

In my humble opinion, lunchables aren't rich or poor, but might be either, just as a packed lunch might be rich or poor.

Anonymous said...

I went to elementary school in the public system in Fairfax, Virginia in the 70s. Fairfax wasn't as built up then as it is now, but I think most of my classmates were financially comfortable. There were however a handful of poor kids, like the kid in my class who didn't have a phone.

It never occurred to me that buying lunch or not was a rich kid vs. poor kid thing. Most of my friends and I looked at the menu beforehand. It it was something we liked, we bought it that day. If it was something we didn't like, we toted in PB & Js in our Snoopy or Charlie's Angels lunchboxes.

Lunch cost 50 cents, plus another 10 cents if you wanted an icecream.

Anonymous said...

Also, I have no idea what lunchables are. I guess that puts me on the "old" side of this generational divide?

indrax said...

I'd say lunchables were a rich kid thing, but they were a nerd thing anyway.
I think I wanted lunchables, but I'd have been mocked for binging them.

I think the main rich/poor question was who got their lunches for free, or at discount, and who had extra for disserts.

Lunchables and bag lunches implied you had a home with parents who loved you, which meant you were jst a kid, and that was uncool.

LaReinaCobre said...

Never heard of lunchables until I was in my late teens. No one in my elementary school had them.