Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Green stamps

Remember these?

Yep. S&H Green Stamps. My cousin recently posted a comment about them on Facebook, asking if anyone was old enough to know what these were.

Most people answered yes, they did. Because their grandmother collected them. That made me feel really old, until I learned they were actually in use until the late 1980s.

Sperry & Hutchinson (thus, the S&H) began offering stamps to U.S. retailers in 1896. The retailers, such as grocery stores and gas stations, bought the stamps from S&H and gave them as bonuses to shoppers based on the dollar amount of a purchase.

The stamps were perforated and after collecting several pages, we then moistened them (usually by licking - ugh! They could have made them taste better) and mounted them in collectors books, which were provided free by merchants. The books contained 24 pages and to fill a page required 50 points, so each book contained 1200 points.

The books could then be exchanged for gifts from the local Green Stamps redemption store.

My mother once gave me the twenty cents for a round trip fare and sent me downtown St. Paul on the Grand-East 3rd Street bus line to redeem several books of stamps for a surprise birthday gift for my father. It was a black, goose-necked desk lamp for his home office.

I thought nothing of it at the time, but now I realize how important it often was for a housewife to collect green stamps.  This enabled my mother to get a gift for Dad, not only without him knowing about it, but because money was tight and the stamps were received with her grocery purchases.

There's nothing better than the feeling of getting something in the way of a bonus. Kind of a reward, a sense of satisfaction of sorts, a frugal feeling.

I definitely think they should bring them back.