Saturday, October 12, 2013

Searching for S & H Green Stamps

I remember my mother, grandmother and aunts all saved S & H Green Stamps. They'd lick the backs of the stamps and place them on pages of small booklets. Once they had enough booklets filled, they would go downtown to the S & H Green Stamps store and redeem their books of stamps for merchandise-really good, brand-name merchandise-everything from pearls to luggage to kitchen pots and pans, etc. The more expensive an item-the more books one needed to redeem the stamps for the merchandise. That's how many Christmas presents were 'bought.' Some people would save their  books of stamps all year long and then go shopping at the S & H Green Stamp store. It was fun looking through the 'S & H Distinguished Merchandise Idea Book.' It was like the Sears Toy Catalog-but not as exciting!

My cousin and I liked to save the stamps too. I remember searching anywhere to find enough stamps to fill a book-my mother's purse (after asking), desk drawers, under couch cushions, under chair cushions, in my father's car, in kitchen drawers, pant pockets, jacket pockets. And when a book was almost filled, the search became intense. Sometimes my grandmother would give me some of hers. My grandmother had lots of stamps. It felt good to finally have enough stamps to fill enough books to go shopping. It was like getting stuff 'free'-no money needed-just books of stamps. What a nifty idea-clever actually because people would shop places that gave out those green stamps when buying something. Stores would display the S & H Green Stamp logo in the window. One particular department store in my hometown was know for green stamps. Once a customer bought something, their money and sales slip would be placed into a cylinder-type container-then put down  a tube that carried it to the office. The fun was waiting for it to come back to see how many Green Stamps were inside-and then see who would get the stamps to take home, lick and put into booklets.

I have no clue how S & H Green Stamps really worked. But it never mattered. It was too much fun searching for enough stamps to fill a book-and then another and another!

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