Some people doodle when they’re bored. Chris Ritsch counts Cheerios.
“I was kind of thinking about it one day, I wonder how many Cheerios I’ve eaten? I was probably on a conference call at the time, probably zoning out a little bit. I did some quick math and was thinking if these numbers are right and these estimates are right, I’m probably close to 10 million,” he says.
Ritsch, an IT consultant for the U.S. Department of State, guesses he ate his 10-millionth Cheerio in November.
The superfan figures he’s eaten an average of 650 Cheerios each day, or 1.2 bowls, for 42.5 years or so.
This photo shows the sizable stash of Cheerios that Ritsch has in his office.
When he finishes a box, he marks it with an X and the date. Many of the cereal boxes in this picture were gifts from friends who are well aware of Ritsch’s love of Cheerios.
“I’ll have them while I’m watching a hockey game. I’ll have them just watching TV. They’re a snack to me. Like people eat peanuts and pretzels, I’ll eat Cheerios.”
Ritsch enjoys the healthy cereal so much, he jokes his cholesterol is in negative numbers. (By the way, he always eats his Cheerios dry, never with milk).
So, for kicks, Ritsch emailed the folks at Cheerios in November. He shared a tongue-in-cheek rundown of the milestones going on in his life at the approximate time he passed each million on his way to 10 million.
A few days ago, he received a poster from Cheerios highlighting the milestones.
It shows Ritsch playing Space Invaders on his Atari when he passed the 1 million mark. It pictures him the night of his junior prom after the limo driver ran over his foot. That was roughly when he ate his 2-millionth Cheerio. Ritsch is shown with his future wife at a New Year’s Eve party right around when he passed the 5 million mark. His 8-millionth Cheerio is commemorated by the arrival of his daughter. Ritsch thinks he may’ve been mini-golfing when he ate his 9-millionth Cheerio a few years ago. He is pictured reaching the 10 million mark at the top of the poster.
“His story about his Cheerios milestones was really charming, and it definitely screamed for something creative in return, so we decided to have the poster made and sent it to him as a little surprise,” explains Lizzie Breyer, an associate marketing manager at General Mills. “It did seem like a really ‘on-brand’ thing to do, since our Cheerios brand purpose is all about celebrating milestones and possibilities in life, both big and small.”
Cheerios partnered with illustrator Brent Schoonover to create the poster.
Ritsch was told he would be getting something in the mail from Cheerios. He thought it might be a plaque and certainly wasn’t expecting such a personal gift. He plans on hanging the poster in his living room so everyone can see it.
“This is fantastic! It’s a fantastic piece.”
Ritsch posted a photo of the poster online earlier this week, including on the Cheerios Facebook page and Reddit. As a result, he’s received quite a bit of attention for it.
Cheerios also has shared his story on Cheerios.com.