The era of trading stamps has passed.
|Image by Wandering Magpie|
The number of stamps a customer received depended on the amount of money he had spent in the store. Stamp books were provided, and full books of stamps could be traded for merchandise in a catalog.
My mother always thought that pasting the stamps into the books was a good job for my sister and me. When she came home from the store, she threw the stamps into a box. When she thought she had a bookful or two, Charlotte and I got a bowl of water and a sponge. We used a lot of water, so the books and the table were pretty wet when we got done. Also, the books usually had some their pages stuck together when they dried out.
Maybe the catalog had one or two little items that could be purchased with a single book of stamps, but most items required multiple books of stamps.
I knew a family that saved enough trading stamps (around 200 books, I think) to buy a dishwasher. It took them years! My mother once had enough trading stamps to get an electric sewing machine. That was when my dad got Green Stamps with some seed corn he bought.
Wikipedia says that S&H Green Stamps is still in business, but I haven't seen trading stamps for years.
In our area, the closest thing to the trading stamp idea is the "Kroger card" which is sort of a combination ID and reverse credit card. When you buy groceries at Kroger, they scan your card and it entitles you to special prices on some items and (when enough dollars have been spent) a 10-cent-per-gallon discount for a fill-up at Kroger's gas pumps.
I am most familiar with Kroger's cards, but some of the other grocery stores, book stores, etc. also have discount cards.
The Trading Stamp Story
Does Anyone Remember S&H Green Stamps?
Andy Warhol S&H Green Stamps at Museum of Modern Art
Andy Warhol S&H Green Stamps lithograph
New York Times column by David Leonhardt relates frequent-flyer miles to Green Stamps
|Image by Hugo90|