How many of you remember going to a grocery store that offered gift stamps? The cashier would “ring up” all of your items, take your money, and hand you the change you were entitled to receive.
But wait, you forgot something. The cashier pulls the dial on the dispenser found next to the register and out comes your predetermined amount of stamps based on the amount you spent.
Trading stamps! Get your trading stamps here…
Trading stamps were a popular marketing tool for years, and acted as a way for businesses to “thank” customers for their business.
In reality, the stores likely saw profits from this strategy as people spent more money to receive more stamps.
After they were given your stamps, they were placed in books which were able to be traded in all types of different items. My friend Chris Otto has a great story on his Papergreat blog about some items being offered (“Selections from the 1967 Top Value Stamps Catalog“).
A recent memorabilia donation from Janelle Hake, owner of Borrowed and Blue Vintage Rentals, helped me learn of a local business that also offered trading stamps, the P. A. & S. Small Company which was based in York, Pennsylvania.
The company’s version of this marketing concept was the Colonial Saver Book, which features a colorful cover, as shown above. By using the word “colonial”, one would think the rich history of York was being referred to, which makes sense noting the many years York served as the company’s home.
The “good stamps were the “10s”, which counted as ten single stamps. They made filling a page quick and simple. Life isn’t always easy though, and “singles” were more commonly utilized…
What I find interesting is the fact that two different types of stamps were used in this book: Colonial Gift Stamps and United Trading Stamps. It appears that the “Colonial” stamps were distributed by the Small company and the “United” stamps by the United company, but why?
Below, you can see the example on the right is marked “profit sharing” and “discount stamp”. Were these given to employees as a token of gratitude when the business saw a profit?
I’d love to learn more about the products being offered in exchange for Colonial Gift Stamps. Was there a local store where you could go to exchange them, and if so, where?
- For the record, this Colonial Saver Book is completely full of stamps, totaling 2,880 points.
- Make sure you read my story about a grouping of employee photos from P.A. & S. Small that I’d like to identify.