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Re: $2 Bills, Green Stamps and Paying With Your Finger

Grocery stores used to have stamps.   There were other colors, as well, including blue & gold----same purpose.   Each store had its color stamp to save in a little booklet, plus a tempting [thin] catelog of items which could be ordered with them.  Women used them to buy gifts or home items, such as towels, or a kitchen stool [took a few books for that].  They were measured in books & half books, so that when you looked at the wishbook, it might list the price of an item as being 2 1/2 books, or 7books, etc.  At one shower before our wedding, I rec'd some items which had been purchased with them-----among them, a small toss pillow.   They were used to build customer loyalty, & since prices were so low then [as were wages & everything else], it took quite a while to save up enough of the accepted color  for the desired catalog. 

Later, S & H green stamps became available at other types of stores, usually gas, dry cleaners, 'drugstores,' & the sort of places where you got the same small goods/services over & over.  I guess by then, they had carved out a niche for themselves in the stamp world.  There may have been a couple of big ticket items in the catalog, but it would have taken a group effort to get them------a very large group.  Also, the 'value' of the 'free' items was usually higher than the actual purchase price. 

I also remember my mother saving stamps when I was a kid----given for  dept. store cash purchases, I think, back in the days when the only credit cards available were store cards-----& by paying the bill before the 30 days was up , one had no interest, plus the stamps.   This also included free delivery from the main  Cleveland stores [May Co., Higbees, & Sterling/Lindner/Davis], even to the suburbs, but I'm thinking the one with stamps might not have had this, since it was more the budget type [Baileys].  Anyway, this came during/after WWII.  One saw those trucks in the neighborhood the way one sees UPS, etc. today.   

Two other, quite different uses of stamps were these:  During the war, there were also ration stamps, which were part of the wartime ration token system----blue & red tokens, with stamps being part of a red token.  Also, there were stamps to save up toward a War Bond----kids took 10c a week to school if they were saving for a $10 bond, or 25c, if a $25 one.  After the war, these became known as Savings Bonds.  I think the whole stamp idea in this system was to break things up into small enough parts that anyone could afford them-----perhaps a holdover from depression days, which were just 'yesterday' at that time.   

Another thing food stores did to build customer loyalty was to 'sell' dishes.  I built a lovely set of Bavarian china at 22c per item w/ each $5 of purchase.  Whatever was the 22c special of the week, I got.  Never got the extra serving pieces or additional cups, etc. that might be needed to fill out the set.  They went several times thru the cycle.  I have seen this all thru the years, but not the same quality of goods.  Our first kitchen dishes were purchased that way, & then, later, the china-----13 of 1 item, 5 of another, etc.  I still use those plates when there are a lot of us at the table, as I have more than a dozen.  They are what I would have chosen elsewhere, since they have a small blue flower, with a narrow silver, rather than gold band.  There are also small cups, saucers [remember them?], bread & butter plates [perfect for dessert], small bowls [good for other types of dessert].  You can tell that I shopped at that local IGA for a long time. 

I do also remember teaching my kids to skip, using the wide frozen food aisle  there, when it wasn't crowded.  Also used the side wall [outside of the frozen food aisle] for tennis exercise-----when 2 or 3 balls ended up on the flat roof of that low building, I had to go inside & they were glad to honor my request.  Could only do that when Himself was home to kidsit.   

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."                                             



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