Friday, December 10, 2010

Market Street and S&H Green Stamps

I wanted to blog a bit about my favorite grocery store....I mean this is a major place in the life of a housewife, right?  After antiqueing and estate sales, I was about bushed  but still had to buy a few groceries for Shabbat and a loaf of Challah.  I do plan to start making this more often, myself, but right now I am happy with buying it from the bakery at Market Street.  Speaking of Market Street, I think this is my most favorite grocery store.  I feel like it is a small town store back "in the day".  They are so nice.  When an employee asks "how are you" they look at you and wait for an answer....they seem to really want to know.  And if you need help finding something, they know before you ask....AND take you to whatever it is you are looking for.  When you are finished, checked out, and ready to load up...they INSIST on taking your groceries to your car.  I have said, several times when I just have a bag or two, "no thanks, I can manage"...but they INSIST.  Now I know when I shop there to have my car nice and clean so I am not embarrassed.  LOL.  Their produce and meats are very good quality and fresh.  The prices are, for the most part, comparable to Wal Mart.  The few things that cost more are worth it.  And their bakery is THE BEST for Challah.  Everything is so fresh.  The one I shop at is at, but I am confident that they are all run just as well.   If you are hungry, be sure to get something from the deli or make a trip thru the salad bar, before you leave.  Everything in that area of the store is good, too.

Right now, Market Street is having a promotion where you save stamps to earn cook ware.  This reminds me of S&H Green Stamps from when I was a kid.  Do you remember those?  We had a store in our neighborhood that handed them out.  We took our empty Dr Pepper bottles to that same store for cash, and boy did we always have a lot of those.  No wonder I was so addicted to DP, but that is a thread for another day...  Back to green stamps.  Us kids (me, Krystal, and AJ) would find loads of them in the junk drawer in my mom's kitchen and start pasting them in books with visions of treasure in our little heads.  We had to share the stamps, of course, but if we were in a "let's get along" kinda mood, we might pull our stamps together for a BIG prize.  We would pour over the S&H catalogue adding up what we could spend.  Thinking we knew just what we would pick but then when we got to the store (we had an S&H Greenstamp store in our lucky were we????) we would walk up and down the aisles having a hard time choosing.  You wanted to be sure to get what you wanted because it would be a long time before you saved up enough for another trip.  It is funny because we may not give these stamps another thought until someone was told to clean out the "junk drawer"...then we might come across one of the books partially filled in and then the mad stamp saving would begin.....maybe we were really bored during the summer, but whatever it was this would occupy us for awhile.

I have always wondered whatever happened to these stamps and found this on The Straight Dope...

"Green Stamps, believe it or not, are still around. But like everything else in the world they've gone virtual. You now have to lick your monitor. But more on that later.

Anyway, I have until mid March to save up enough of the Market Street stamps to get a new pot or pan. They even give you a cute little booklet to paste your stamps in, this is what reminded me of the S&H Green Stamps.  I think you have to save something like eleventymillion stamps to get the smallest of sauce pans.  I have three so far...
Sperry & Hutchinson, distributor of S&H Green Stamps, was probably the most popular of quite a few competing stamp companies. Sperry & Hutchinson began offering stamps to retailers back in 1896. The retail organizations bought the stamps from S&H and gave them as bonuses with every purchase based on the amount you bought. The more you bought the more stamps you got. Eventually you saved up enough stamps to toddle down to the redemption center with a sore tongue and trade them in for merchandise. No kidding--when I was younger my mom got a toaster this way.
S&H made their money by selling the stamps to retailers. The trade-off to the retailers was in customer loyalty. Customers flocked to stores that gave stamps. It was an extremely successful program. According to a publicist for Sperry and Hutchinson, when the program reached its zenith in the mid 60's, they were printing three times as many stamps as the US Postal Service and its catalog was possibly the largest single publication in the country. It was estimated that 80 percent of US households collected stamps of one sort or another, creating an annual market for S&H alone of about $825 million.
Different colored stamps were created by different stamp companies. These included Orange, Yellow, K&S Red, Pinky, Blue Chip and Plaid, Top Value, Mor-Valu, Shur-Valu, Big Bonus and Double Thrift, Buckeye, Buccaneer, Two Guys, King Korn, Eagle and Regal. You could get just about anything with Green Stamps, from toasters to life insurance policies. Not everything was listed in the catalog, but you could negotiate with the company for pretty much whatever you wanted. One school in Erie, Pennsylvania even saved up 5.4 million Green Stamps to buy a pair of gorillas for a local zoo!
Stamps programs faded away during the recession of the 1970's. Sperry and Hutchinson was sold by the founders' successors in 1981, and was purchased from a holding firm by a member of the founding Sperry family in 1999. At that time, only about 100 stores were offering Green Stamps. Eventually, though, the company rebounded with the birth of the Internet and now offers "greenpoints" as rewards for online purchases. (
If you still have boxes of Green Stamps tucked away in your attic, here's good news. You can still trade them in for either cash or merchandise. Cash value of 1,200 stamps is $1.20 and you can still get a catalog by calling them at 1-800-435-5674. "

I am heading over there to check this soon as I hit "publish post" for this blog.  Pretty cool, huh?


1 comment:

  1. Mom and I were just talking about how good the S&H stuff was. We still own stuff we got there! I think if they were to do this again, it would be a huge success. The old way, not the internet way. The S&H stores were part of the success.