Thursday, January 10, 2008

S&H Green Stamps and Green Points?

Do any of you remember S&H Green Stamps from when you were a child? I remember that everyone (including my mother) used to collect them. People got them when they made certain purchases at certain grocery stores, gas stations, and other stores. Then, they pasted them into booklets. S&H provided a catalog of items, and each item "cost" a certain number of Green Stamps. You could turn the Green Stamps in as if they were cash to obtain the item. Or, you could go to the Green Stamps store, view the item in question, and "pay" for it in Green Stamps on the spot if you wanted to. The program offered all sorts of things, including small appliances if I remember correctly.

Green Stamps. Follow this link to learn more about the old Green Stamps program.
The article says that the reason the old Green Stamps program worked is that more people were given Green Stamps than actually turned them in. Apparently, this is what retailers who offer rebates count always on, even today. They depend on there being a lot of customers who will never bother to redeem the rebates. However, in my memory, it seems to me that lots of women actually turned the Green Stamps in, and, by dong so, obtained nice little items for their home. I know that both my mother and my mother-in-law did, at any rate.

My mother-in-law is downsizing and is trying to find a home for an item she got through Green Stamps. So, I decided to Google the item to see if I could find out if the item had any value today or if anyone would want it.

To my surprise, my Google search turned up a home page for S& H Green Stamps. I had thought that Green Stamps were a thing of the past, but apparently, they're still around in the form of a Green Points program. (This Green in Green Stamps or Green Points has nothing to do with being environmentally "green".)

Guess what! The Green Points program is still taking the old Green Stamps. You can use the Green Stamps alone or you can combine them with the newer green points. I would imagine that there are some older women out there with completed Green Stamps booklets lying around in a drawer, so maybe they can get some use out of the old stamps.

The old Green Stamps had just about disappeared by the time I married, so I never got a chance to use them for myself. It seems to me, though, that the homemakers of my mother's generation found them to be a great value. I think this was because you were given the stamps for lots of purchases that you need to make anyway, such as gasoline, and because Green Stamps catalogs and stores were such a large program with lots of offerings. I remember picking out items with my mother and helping her save toward them.

I wonder how the new Green Points program stacks up. Is it a thrifty plan, too, or does it actually end up costing you money?

Until very recently, Betty Crocker used to have a points program, sort of like Green Stamps except that you got points only when you bought their products. I did collect Betty Crocker box top points at various times throughout twenty-seven years of marriage. However, with the exception of flatware which I didn't need, I never thought that the Betty Crocker bargains were that great. While you could actually "buy" an entire item using only Green Stamps, the Betty Crocker points generally gave you only a discount off of an item and you had to pay to make up the difference. It took a whole lot of box top points to get the best discount that BC offered for an item. And, the item was priced so high to begin with that the discount only bought it down to fair market value, in my opinion.

The catalog was enticing, though, because it offered some items you could only get through Betty Crocker. So, I started saving the points again. But, wouldn't you know? Betty shut down her program.

(Betty is a real woman who lives in a 1960's kitchen and who teaches real children how to cook. I have held on to her children's cookbook since I was ten years old, and it has quotes from her students and from Betty herself in it, so I know this is so. If you think otherwise, please do not disillusion me. Yes, Virginia, there is a Betty Crocker...)

Back to the Green Stamps and the Green Points: Hey all you thrifty readers out there, tell us what your findings have been. Have you used the new Green Points program? If so, what do you think of it? How do you think it compares to the old program? Do any of you have any memories of the old Green Stamps? Tell us about them.

Here's the link in case you want to check it out for yourself: Green stamps

Keep in mind, I have not tried this yet. So, I can't comment one way or the other about whether it's a good program or not. I'm depending on some of you thrifty experts to weigh in on this for us.



Blue House on the Hill said...

I remember! Mama shopped especially on WEDNESDAYS which was double stamps day at the local supermarket. And we pasted a year's worth of stamps in to our booklets every November. Just in time to go 'shopping' for Christmas gifts for family members. I used to look forward to that Stamps catalog as much as the Christmas book from Sears!

Elizabeth said...

Hi Blue House,

Someone else that remembers! Wasn't that fun?