May 29, 2019

Trading Stamps

I was invited to a wedding recently. It’s been a while. Currently, my friends who aren’t happily married are either widowed, divorced, and/or blissfully single. And almost all of them and their kids are grandparents. So, it was with great delight and gleeful anticipation that I quickly RSVP’d that I would attend. Next consideration – the gift. Well, these days that’s pretty simple, money or gift cards. Easy enough! But that didn’t stop me from reminiscing about when I first started receiving wedding invitations shortly after completing high school in my newly independent days.

The invitations were fast and furious, arriving every six months or so. We were young!! And, we were broke!! However, I quickly came up with the perfect routine for securing an acceptable gift even though my funds were invariably limited. I would reach into my “junk” drawer and take out enough S&H Green Stamps, Top Value Stamps, or Plaid Stamps to fill a redemption book and head to the nearest redemption center.

It was pretty easy to accumulate stamps in those days. They were routinely distributed at grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations. I can remember cashiers pulling their pads of stamps out of the bottom of the cash register drawer to give customers the number of stamps that corresponded to the amount of money they were spending.

My favorite gift to trade my stamps in for at the time was a Lazy Susan which required one book or 1200 stamps.The Lazy Susan was a staple. It was a ceramic hostess tray with three small dishes surrounding a center bowl. The whole thing revolved on a wooden stand. It was used for chips, dips, and relishes and was quite the entertainment centerpiece. Practically everyone had one on the coffee table in the living room or in the middle of the dining room table. The ones I would get from the trading stamp redemption centers were particularly colorful and ornamental.

I haven’t seen a Lazy Susan in anyone’s house for years. Today, entertainment foods are commonly served up on aluminum or biodegradable trays. They are easily disposable. Much like today’s marriages. But that’s a topic for another blog!