My nephew Doug, was helping me search the attic for a particular box. Naturally, he did more looking around than being actual help. He came over with a book of what he called funny looking postage stamps. No, they were not postage stamps; they were trading stamps I told him.
A few of us remember the day of “trading stamps” from Gold Bond, Eagle,
S & H Green, Top Value and others. They were given out by grocers, gas stations and some department stores with each purchase.
The stamps had to be put in books, which usually meant my sister or I would sit around the kitchen table, licking stamps. Although my mother used a sponge to wet the stamps, my sister and I would resolve to lick the stamps till our mouths went dry.
At different stores, you would get fulfillment books to put your trading stamps in. The pages of each book outlined that enabled you to paste your stamps in the proper place.
Each page required a total of fifty stamps. Stamps came in point system: singles, ten, and fifty. You couldn’t mix the points. If you wanted a page of singles you had to press fifty singles. If you wanted a page of tens you needed to press five tens. With the fifty point stamp you need to press only one on a page.
Several books full of stamps could be redeemed for all sorts of merchandise . . . small kitchen appliances, sporting goods, children swing sets, radios, televisions — you name it.
I remember vividly my family planned to save trading stamps for a blender. Only after mother explained that we could make milk shakes did my sister and I agree with her plan. My father simply went along with the program. He would just bring home the stamps. We only needed 10,000 stamps to get the blender.
Saving up 10,000 stamps seemed like a daunting task. There was a Osterizer at the end of that rainbow, so we patiently filled up stamp books until we reached our goal.
Eventually, a few stores discontinued the stamps and cut their prices accordingly. Trading stamps vanished from most places. “So you got things from just saving these stamps and stuff?” Doug asks.
I tell my nephew, “You know the silverware you use at grandmother’s house came from Betty Crocker/General Mills box tops.”
Condescending, Nine year old Doug rolled his eyes, “No Way” he said shrugging his shoulders. I shook his little shoulder. “Yes Way.”