We Accept Food Stamps

The little Green Stamps sign on our store.
The little Green Stamps sign on our store.
Looks like the House is voting to cut a bunch of money for the Food Stamps program. I promised that I wouldn’t talk politics on my blog. A good idea for me, because I am so passionate about my politics. Ask anyone who knows me.

But I will tell you about my experience with Food Stamps.

When I was growing up in rural south Alabama, Dad’s store sold food stamps. Or traded with Food Stamps, or whatever they did to exchange them.

They had this little green machine that would spit them out. They were sticky, like a postage stamp, and you could stick them in this little booklet. Once you had a certain number of Food Stamps, you could order toys or other stuff from a Food Stamps catalog.

We had a big Food Stamps sign stuck on the front of our store’s plate glass window. That’s all I can remember. Fact is, I’m not even sure that is how the Food Stamps program worked. I was little when we were doing that.

I didn’t even know they still made Food Stamps.

Oh, wait a minute….

Oops.

I just looked up my picture about Food Stamps so that I could post it.

Looks like we did not sell Food Stamps. We sold green stamps. My bad.

So here is the scoop that I got from Wiki…therefore, believe it at your own risk, right?

S & H stood for a company established in 1896 by Thomas Sperry and Shelley Byron (okay, that name is already suspect… He was named after Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, maybe??).

Apparently, store owners doled out the green stamps as sort of a rewards program to their customers. (Heyyyyyyy, the CVS of their time!) The stamps were given in denominations of 1, 10, and 50 points. Customers would get a free little book with 24 pages to stick their stamps. When they got a certain number of points, they could order out of the catalog. I think I read somewhere that the stamp program went on until the mid-1980s.

Interesting factoids:
– The catalog was the largest publication printed in the U.S. in the 1960’s.
– In the 1960’s, S & H printed more stamps than the U.S. Postal Service.

All of this is from Wiki, but verified. The company is still around, but now it uses “green points” instead of the stamps. But I think the little perforated, gummy stamps were a lot more fun.

P.S.: I found a bunch of images of the Green Stamps at eBay. I emailed the sellers and asked if I could use their pictures in return for me linking up to their eBay page. I like the share-ability of the ‘Net, don’t you? If they say “yes,” then I’ll post more pictures later.

Dad with Me in front of Jachin Grocery.
Dad with Me in front of Jachin Grocery.

0 Responses to We Accept Food Stamps

  1. I remember these, but nothing about what we “bought” with them! I remember looking in the catalog and I wanted a toy cordless phone, (I actually think the program went into the very early 90s), which I never got. 🙁

      • CD players, too. I remember when they were so expensive and you had moved up in the world if you had one. 😉 And computer scanners. That was my BIG Christmas present one year, but now they come standard in printers, and even then are almost obsolete due to the advent of digital cameras and the ability to share articles all online.

          • Oh, yes! I’ll have to ask my dad what our’s was, come to think of it. I know it was DOS-based. He would sit me on his lap in the basement and teach me the alphabet through a program he had. I learned basic math in elementary through this means, too! He was always a computer geek and had programmed in FORTRAN for the Navy, but now I have to help HIM with Windows! The love of computers was genetic, because from 12 years old and on, I have used computers for everything and even make my living in web design, programming, and online marketing. I’m a bit of a hypocrite, but I am JUST now getting into blogging for myself, even though I’ve told my companies and clients for years how good of a tool it is! 😉

            I will look forward to that post!

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