This might be a good question for a quiz show—what were Green Stamps? When I was a child, you got them in places like grocery stores and gas stations, a certain number depending on how much you spent. You were supposed to glue them into booklets and take them to a special store for redemption. Three booklets might earn you a hand mixer or a radio. Perhaps my family wasn’t tidy enough, but I recall the process as a big mess—stamps everywhere, half-filled booklets, and never earning enough to get what you really wanted.
In the fifties, women’s magazines were full of ads praising the benefits of Green Stamps. In this one from 1956, two women from different generations are supposedly enjoying the rewards. Let’s compare and contrast their styles. Both wear hats and gloves; both carry purses of a similar shape; both sport small earrings and pearl necklaces. There the similarities end, though. The younger woman favors the full skirted silhouette of the era. To add to the feminine look, her hat is frilly and her dress printed with flowers. By contrast, the older woman is monochromatic. Her suit is tailored and her hat more angular.
This is one case where I think that age wins out over youth. And take a close look at the savvy older woman’s right hand–doesn’t it look like she has traded in her Green Stamps for a cell phone?