Smart Women–Green Stamps

Ladies Home Journal, July 1956. Click to enlarge

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?

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6 Responses to Smart Women–Green Stamps

  1. Fabrickated says:

    I remember them in petroleum stations but not trading them in. Later gas stations have drinking glasses instead and everyone seemed to collect them. Nice pics Lynn.

  2. JS says:

    I was a kid in the ’60s. I remember the stamps and books but not the rewards. The older woman’s suit has a classic shape and wouldn’t look amiss in a business setting today.

  3. Judith says:

    I was my mom’s “Green Stamp girl”. Since I loved pasting the stamps into the redemption books, that was MY job. And Mom did, indeed, redeem them! I recall that two Green Stamp wall lamps from about 1960 were still in place and in use right up to the time that I emptied out the house following my folks’ demise in 2009. Not bad.

    (Love your blog! I learn something and/or relive a memory with every post.)

  4. My parents had a kitchen drawer dedicated to our hoard of Green Stamps and Blue Chip Stamps (from rival grocery chains or gas stations.) When I finally collected enough myself, around 1972, I was disappointed that the quality of the merchandise was more K-Mart than Macy’s.
    I had a friend in college who drove a tiny Renault car. One night, it skidded on the freeway and landed on its driver’s side. My friend was unhurt, but she was afraid of being hit while getting out of the car, so she stayed put. Eventually, a highway patrolman knocked on the passenger door. He turned his flashlight on her, and she realized that the glove compartment had come open: she was completely covered in Green Stamps!

    • Judith Rickard says:

      Great story! Too funny.

      (Surely there is a blog somewhere on the web devoted to Green Stamp memories! If not, there should be. …NOT volunteering.)

  5. Nann says:

    Forty years ago my first professional library job was in a small Texas city. The H.E.B. supermarket gave out Texas Gold Stamps (“Tuesday is double stamp day!”) and had a redemption center in the local store. I still use the Sunbeam hand-held electric mixer I got there. The other supermarket gave out S&H Stamps. The nearest redemption center was up in Bryan. One of the library clerks was a Vietnamese refugee (1975: many came to Texas). I took her with me on a library errand with a side trip to the S&H store to get a card table. She was amazed — they’d been shopping at that supermarket for months and getting stamps but had no idea what they were for. The next day she said they filled two books. [BTW, I still have the card table, too.]

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