Seeing Green

The big, bad green machine.  Se the little key where you would load the stamps and then lock them up?

The big, bad green machine. Se the little key where you would load the stamps and then lock them up?

First of all, thank you to my seller friends at eBay for sharing their Green Stamps photos with me. I encourage my readers to go buy from these people if you are looking for vintage Green Stamps memorabilia. I am going to post their eBay sites at the bottom of today’s post. Also thanks to Meg at http://soupisnotafingerfood.wordpress.com/ for her vintage stamp machine picture. Please go visit her cool site when you have a minute.

Mom emailed me some information about Green Stamps that I thought you would like for Monday’s blog. Really, Mom is a great source about what went on in Jachin. For awhile, she wrote a column in “the Choctaw Advocate” that was called “Jachin Jots.” The “Advocate” was the local periodical that came out every Thursday. More on that, later.

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Here is what Mom wrote me after reading my Green Stamps post:

We bought S & H Green Stamps. We gave them to customers when they bought groceries. [For] a reward. For each dollar they spent, we gave one little stamp.

Since our rural customers rarely went to Meridian, MS, our nearest town with an S & H store, we would take their books in for them and redeem the stamps for a gift.

This was time consuming, but we wanted them to get sheets, pans and pots, dishes, curtains, etc., for their homes. I can still see Aunt Dossie with a paper bag full of S &H stamps.

She would rip them apart, wet them with a wet sponge, and stick them into books. We had a truck full of gifts when we got back home from that store. I’ll bet you and Ben went with me, too.

We also took Food Stamps. They were kind of like little Monopoly dollars. They could only be used for food. The customer separated the food items from clothing, medicine, gas, animal feed, hardware, etc. This was a bit time consuming, but no real problem. In later years, we also participated in the WIC program. I was teaching school most of the time, but (I think) this stood for “Women, Infants and Children.” The qualifying people would come in with a “voucher” to fill.

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Check out this picture of the prize book. I’ll bet the model lady has never really played the guitar before. I play the guitar, and I wouldn’t attempt a chord with long nails!

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My friends who were nice enough to share their photos (in order of appearance on post):

Green Machine
Meg at Soup is not a Finger Food. What a fun blog name! More about Green Stamps here…
http://soupisnotafingerfood.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/sometimes-my-life-feels-like-a-house-of-cards/ Thank you, Meg!

Vintage Stamp Book — 1969 “S&H” GREEN STAMPs
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/STAMP-BOOK-VINTAGE-1969-S-H-GREEN-STAMP-10s-50s-FOLDER-3-1-2-X-6-FULL-/350876375580?ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:CA:1123 Thanks, Bruce!

Idea Book Catalog
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=251340721562&ssPageName=ADME:X:eRTM:US:1123 Thanks, Jim!

Collectible 1960’s Filled S&H Green Stamps Quick Saver Book
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=121164840698&ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:US:1123 Thank you, Marlinkc!

We Accept Food Stamps

The little Green Stamps sign on our store.

The little Green Stamps sign on our store.

Looks like the House is voting to cut a bunch of money for the Food Stamps program. I promised that I wouldn’t talk politics on my blog. A good idea for me, because I am so passionate about my politics. Ask anyone who knows me.

But I will tell you about my experience with Food Stamps.

When I was growing up in rural south Alabama, Dad’s store sold food stamps. Or traded with Food Stamps, or whatever they did to exchange them.

They had this little green machine that would spit them out. They were sticky, like a postage stamp, and you could stick them in this little booklet. Once you had a certain number of Food Stamps, you could order toys or other stuff from a Food Stamps catalog.

We had a big Food Stamps sign stuck on the front of our store’s plate glass window. That’s all I can remember. Fact is, I’m not even sure that is how the Food Stamps program worked. I was little when we were doing that.

I didn’t even know they still made Food Stamps.

Oh, wait a minute….

Oops.

I just looked up my picture about Food Stamps so that I could post it.

Looks like we did not sell Food Stamps. We sold green stamps. My bad.

So here is the scoop that I got from Wiki…therefore, believe it at your own risk, right?

S & H stood for a company established in 1896 by Thomas Sperry and Shelley Byron (okay, that name is already suspect… He was named after Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, maybe??).

Apparently, store owners doled out the green stamps as sort of a rewards program to their customers. (Heyyyyyyy, the CVS of their time!) The stamps were given in denominations of 1, 10, and 50 points. Customers would get a free little book with 24 pages to stick their stamps. When they got a certain number of points, they could order out of the catalog. I think I read somewhere that the stamp program went on until the mid-1980s.

Interesting factoids:
– The catalog was the largest publication printed in the U.S. in the 1960’s.
– In the 1960’s, S & H printed more stamps than the U.S. Postal Service.

All of this is from Wiki, but verified. The company is still around, but now it uses “green points” instead of the stamps. But I think the little perforated, gummy stamps were a lot more fun.

P.S.: I found a bunch of images of the Green Stamps at eBay. I emailed the sellers and asked if I could use their pictures in return for me linking up to their eBay page. I like the share-ability of the ‘Net, don’t you? If they say “yes,” then I’ll post more pictures later.

Dad with Me in front of Jachin Grocery.

Dad with Me in front of Jachin Grocery.

Save More, Shop at Findley’s Store

Me in a shopping cart.

Me in a shopping cart.

I mentioned before that Gihon Springs Grocery was a big part of our lives when I was growing up in rural south Alabama.  After all, it was the main source of livelihood for my family, and it had been in my family for two generations.  Papa Findley had established it.  (I need to find out the details from Mom of when and how it was founded.)

The facade of the store was made of glass windows, and Mom used to make big sales signs out of butcher paper.  There was a long banner that ran at the top of the store windows and across the transom of the glass doors.  They promised, “Save More, Shop at Findley’s Store.”  That used to greatly bother me when I was a child.  Because I wasn’t a Findley.  I was an M. 

Mom countered, “But I am a Findley.  It’s my maiden name.”

Her assurance did me no good.  I thought that we should get a new sign that said, “Save More, Shop at M’s Store.”

Aunt Dossie is holding me (7 months old). Can you see the 'Shop at' at the top of the glass doors?  Looks like the old door could use a paint job!

Aunt Dossie is holding me (7 months old). Can you see the ‘Shop at’ at the top of the glass doors? Looks like the old door could use a paint job!

You can see part of the "Save More..." sign at the top of the window, behind Dad and me.

You can see part of the “Save More…” sign at the top of the window, behind Dad and me.

Ben, on his way back to college at Auburn University.  Check out those acid-washed shorts!

Ben, on his way back to college at Auburn University. Check out those acid-washed shorts!