Do You Remember S & H Green Stamps?
Our “Do You Remember?” topic this month is S & H Green Stamps. What do you remember about Green Stamps or any of the other brands of trading stamps? Please share your memories with us! You can e-mail your story to us at email@example.com, or you can create a login and type your story directly on this page. See the instructions at the bottom of the page.
A reader from Buffalo, New York has sent us the following story:
Collecting S & H Green Stamps
My mother and grandmother diligently saved S & H Green Stamps while I was growing up during the 1960s and 1970s, but I remember these items best from a child’s perspective, as something fun to collect and then, when we had accumulated enough filled books, to trade them in at the redemption center for a gift when it wasn’t even Christmas or my birthday.
Pasting each earned set of stamps on the grid pages of the booklets was a fun kitchen table project, and visiting the redemption center with Mom was always an interesting errand. Product barcodes and computer touch-screen order kiosks didn’t exist yet, so each time we wanted an item, Mom filled out a paper order form, submitted it, and waited for a stockroom clerk to check the store’s inventory to see if it was available. I usually passed the wait time browsing the pages of the product catalogue, imagining what I would choose if I could have anything pictured.
I still vividly remember obtaining my first tennis racket via S & H Green Stamps: a Pancho Gonzalez wood racket that survived years of summer lessons and recreational play in our neighborhood park.
NQ / Buffalo, New York
A reader from New York has sent this story:
The Glass Lamp
My grandmother used to put all her Green Stamps and Plaid Stamps in a cookie tin that she kept in the kitchen. It was my job to sort them all out and paste them into books when I visited her during school vacations. It took hours, but I loved doing it. Grandma would put a sponge in a saucer of water so I didn’t have to lick all the stamps, and I would sit at the kitchen table for hours, pasting away.
In the early 1960s, when I was nine or ten, my mom got a lamp for my bedroom with Green Stamps. It was white hobnail milk glass, and had a white shade with little chenille puffs around the top and bottom rims. I spotted the lamp while browsing through the Green Stamps catalog and decided that it would look perfect on my bedside table.
My family didn’t have a lot of money, and my parents were not able to go out and buy things on a whim. I can’t remember my mother buying anything new for the house when I was a child except bedding items like sheets and pillows. Our relatives and neighbors lived the same way. Everyone handed household things down, bought at rummage sales, or exchanged items with one another, so getting a brand-new lamp for my room was really extraordinary. It took months of begging and pleading to talk Mom into using some of her precious supply of filled books to get the lamp.
Redeeming Green Stamps involved making a trip on the bus to the Green Stamp redemption center, which was two towns away. Once there, we filled out a paper form and waited anxiously while a clerk scanned long rows of shelves in the back room to see if the lamp was in stock. My mother had prepared me for the possibility that they might not have the lamp and we might have to wait and come back another day, but we were in luck.
When we finally got home and took it out of the carton, it looked even prettier to me than it had in the catalog. I was so pleased with that lamp. It sat on my bedside table until I left home.
D. S. from Pittsburgh, PA sent the following comment:
“My younger sister and I shared a bedroom when we were kids. When I was nine or ten, my mom got a matching pair of pink chenille bedspreads for our beds. She wanted to get white because she thought the pink might fade over time with washing, but my sister and I begged and pleaded for the pink. We were so pleased with those spreads! It’s amazing how something so simple made us so happy back then.”
Wanda from GA sent the following comment:
“My mom collected S & H Green Stamps for a long time. I remember getting a now old radio from the catalog, we were rich then. Now I have a Thames purple cow head cookie jar that I think came from the catalog. I am not sure, but hoping someone would remember this and let me know if it came from S & H Green Stamps. Thank You.”
Paula A. from Connecticut sent the following comment:
I had a hobnail milk-glass lamp like the one in the story above on my bedside table, only mine was pink, and my sister had a matching one on her bedside table. My mom got them both with S&H Green Stamps when I was in second grade. I had forgotten all about it until I read this story. The shades on ours were scalloped at the bottom, and covered in some sort of netting with little bows at the top. Seems odd now, but they were very fashionable for girls’ rooms back then. A lot of my friends also had similar lamps. My mother got an electric frying pan with her stamps at one point. I remember it took a long time for her to save up enough books for it.
Be Sure to read our other story about S&H Green Stamps in the 1950s section of our site: http://americansremember.com/?page_id=157
Let us know what you think! We love to hear from our readers. Do You Remember S&H Green Stamps? What did you or your family purchase with them? Share your story by e-mailing it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.