The S&H Green Stamps Family - Growing Up as a Company Child

Source

I am an S&H Green Stamps child. My mother worked for the Sperry & Hutchinson Company for 33 years, from 1955 to 1988, an employment that entitles me to call myself a company child. Those were the days of living snugly under the company umbrella.

When you were there for the company, the company was there for you.

S&H provided my mother with a wage, fully paid health benefits, a pension, a network of people comprising an extended family, and a lifetime’s worth of friendships. It provided me with endless hours of play time pasting stamps into books, employment during summer and winter vacations, a four-year college scholarship, and lessons in personal finance, business achievement, social responsibility, ethics, and morality.

S&H Green Stamps were as much a part of our home as they were of my mother’s workplace.

Licking Trading Stamps for Play and Reward

The first time I pasted a strip of perforated Green Stamps onto a page in a stamp book, I was hooked. I loved the taste of the glue. I now wonder if there wasn’t some ingredient in that glue that might have been habit-forming. Even though Mom encouraged me to use a sponge and water, I’d have nothing to do with it.

I was fascinated by watching a book fill up with stamps, page by page, until it was ready to be redeemed. Holding a full book of stamps gave me a sense of accomplishment: I’d started with an empty book, and little by little, the pages had gone from white to green. My hand now held something we could trade for merchandise. We patronized merchants who offered S&H Green Stamps and licked and pasted enough S&H Green Stamps into books to acquire furniture, appliances, home accessories, gifts for friends and family, and even sterling silver treasures. Licking trading stamps and pasting them in stamp books was one of my first lessons in delayed gratification.

Source

A Brief Illustrated Review of Trading Stamps

S&H Green Stamps made indelible marks in the memories of generations of Americans. The Sperry and Hutchinson Company was by far the most successful in the trading stamp business, but other trading stamp companies made their marks as well.

Gene Gable wrote an engaging article, richly illustrated with trading stamp memorabilia, about the impact trading stamps made not only on our domestic lives but also on the world of business. When you read When Families Licked Together, be sure to read the comments where readers share their memories of growing up with trading stamps.

Thank you, Winsome, for pointing us to this article.

Coming of Age in the Social Life of the Company

Company picnics and holiday parties are as much a part of my childhood memories as my own family’s gatherings. In some ways, they were even more special. You see, I already knew my own family and its dynamics and routines, but these company events opened doors to observe and learn not only from other families, but from the family that was S&H.

The earliest lesson I learned was that I belonged to something larger than my family, my school, and my small town. S&H employees came from different cultures, different economic backgrounds, different genders, races, and age groups. At those social events, and much later when I was old enough to work at the office with my mother during my summer and winter vacations from school, my mother’s coworkers always welcomed me by remembering my birthday or a special achievement, or by gifting me with something small but precious, precious because it was a sign of their following my life because they cared about my mother.

Mom’s coworkers were a tightly-knit group loyal to the company and to each other. They were each other’s maids of honor, godparents to children, and strong shoulders in times of loss. Those relationships that stood the test of time began with each knowing the other through their work-day lives and the events that the company provided to bring them closer together. As time passed, the work relationships grew into life-long friendships.

I still have this elegant CROSS pen and pencil set, given to me by the company when I was awarded a scholarship.
I still have this elegant CROSS pen and pencil set, given to me by the company when I was awarded a scholarship. | Source

Growing Up – Lessons in Morals and Ethics

At the company’s hiatus, S&H produced three times more stamps than the US Post Office and published this country’s largest merchandise catalog. My mother flowed along with the company’s growth by advancing from being a receptionist to a payroll clerk to a merchandiser to a benefits administrator. I trailed along on her shirttails by working part-time jobs with the company, at first in the office typing W-2s in December then moving along to summer jobs in the warehouse that involved accounting for and destroying redeemed books of S&H Green Stamps.

I loved the warehouse job. This warehouse was the regional distribution center on the east coast of the US. Men, around the clock, operated fork lifts and loaded trucks with merchandise destined for redemption stores from Maine to the Carolinas.

I worked with two extraordinary men, Ron and Bob.

A Peach for a Peach of a Girl

Ron's peach was even more beautiful than this one. I wish I had taken a picture of it all those years ago.
Ron's peach was even more beautiful than this one. I wish I had taken a picture of it all those years ago. | Source

Ron was a southern gentleman who one year, after a vacation to his hometown in Georgia, brought me a glorious peach with its stem and leaves still looking fresh from the tree. He left the peach on my desk so that I would see it when I got to my job at 6 in the morning with a note that said, “A peach for a peach of a girl.”

Bob was more reserved about this kind of attention to a girl. He was a rock, and also Ron’s boss. But he was the one to say, “You’ve worked enough today, go spend some time with your mother.”

This job in the warehouse was rife with temptation. Being a teenager and by this time a rebel, and also knowing the value of S&H Green Stamps, I wondered what would happen if I removed some of those books of filled stamps and put them in my pocket instead of sending them to the incinerator. I could have done that. But the man who gave a peach to a peach of a girl, and the man who honored my connection to my mother, men who valued the company as extensions of themselves, were enormous role models for me. I knew that if I violated their trust in me, which would be disrespecting my mother and their love of and admiration of her, I would be toast in Hell, with a burned crust that would have no hope for redemption. Ron and Bob had more moral impact on me than the priests and nuns who were my teachers.

As I look at events that transpired after my working with Ron and Bob, I know for certain that the examples these men set for me kept me out of jail.

Reflections

Sometimes I have to chuckle, wondering if this family-centered relationship with S&H wasn’t a kind of kismet, something fated to happen. Both my mother’s and my initials are S.H.

My mother and I were ambassadors of this company that was good to us and consequently we became an extension of its marketing strategies. Home and office became entwined.

Through the years, the company marked Mom’s employment anniversaries with precious items of gold and silver that carried the company’s logo. Mom wore these conspicuously and proudly.

There is no doubt that the company excised pounds of flesh from workers in its quest for profits, especially from women in the years when women had limited opportunities for growth within a company; their depressed salaries certainly contributed to the bottom line. However, those years were the golden years of being a company man, in this case a company woman. The company looked out for you. They paid your medical expenses, provided for your retirement, and they also built a culture of extended family.

Today I understand the patronizing aspect of that relationship between underpaid worker and corporate profit, but in that long-ago time, women were able to support their families and also enjoy the security of knowing that the company would provide for much more than just a salary.

One last thought...Thank goodness all those stamp books were incinerated. Just think of all the germs that could have been passed around.

Interior of the Trenton Redemption Store in 1913

The gentleman in the center is Peter H. Spectre's grandfather, Myer Brooks, who set up redemption stores for S&H.
The gentleman in the center is Peter H. Spectre's grandfather, Myer Brooks, who set up redemption stores for S&H. | Source

The Facade of the Trenton S&H Redemption Store in the Early 1900s

Myer Brooks's store in Trenton, New Jersey.
Myer Brooks's store in Trenton, New Jersey. | Source

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Comments 80 comments

Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 5 years ago from SE MA

I am old enough to remember these. I cannot remember what my wife and I traded in our last book of stamps for sometime in the late 60's or early 70's, but I remember doing it..

When did S&H go out of business?


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Actually, S&H is still in business but in a reincarnation of its former self (meaning it was bought out for the last time and is now another entity).

http://greenpoints.com/account/act_default.asp

By the time my mother left S&H, it had been acquired by Baldwin. To tell you the truth, I'm surprised that it exists today in any form.

The good news is that if you have saliva-soaked stamp books in your house, you can still redeem them at that greenpoints site.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 5 years ago from SE MA

If we did, I'd keep them for their sentimental value:)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

*sigh* Green Stamps, Plaid Stamps, King Korn Stamps, and the host of others. It's a nice memory.


proudgrandpa profile image

proudgrandpa 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

Many of us had Ron's and Bob's in our lives but a lot of people didn't have the integrity and fortitude to build on their recognition of good character. You are truly a Peachy Lady. NEIL


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Neil, I hear you, my friend. These men were enormous influences in my life. They replaced the priest of the confessional and pulpit, giving me a dose of reality that embraced a true spirituality. I know that others like them happen in other peoples' lives, and also that they are not always recognized.

I accord whatever integrity and fortitude I had to recognize the gifts these men gave to me to my mother. She's a piece of work. I can say she raised me right.

Peace and love ~Sherri


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 5 years ago from India

I remember sticking stamps into a book too for a certain period during my childhood - but I just can't remember what we redeemed them for! Thanks for this trip back in time, ST! :)


Kind Regards profile image

Kind Regards 5 years ago from Missouri Ozarks - Table Rock Lake

Sally's Trove, What a beautiful story! Kind Regards


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee

voted up and beautiful! I remember these and the pasting also. Thanks for the memories. My mom wouldn't shop at a store unless they offered S&H Green Stamps...


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Oh yeah! My mom and dad lived the in S&H Green Stamp world! I remember an S&H store. Thank you for this!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

FP, I'm delighted to know that you share that memory of licking stamps. Kids love tactile things, especially things they can put in their mouths. I also remember paper-bound books that came in the mail...they illustrated one country a month and included beautiful large picture stamps that you matched to the text in the book. When you were sure you had the right stamp for the text, you licked the stamp and pasted it in. For some reason, I remember Holland vividly. But I'll bet India came in the mail, too!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

KR, so glad you enjoyed that trip with me down memory lane!

Sam, I know what you mean by shopping stores that gave S&H Green Stamps. For the most part, it was grocery stores and gas stations in our area. We steered clear of those merchants who offered Plaid and King Korn! I'm glad we can share these memories.

Micky, the heart of the S&H business during the time you and I were growing up was pretty much in the neck of your woods in the Carolinas and in Virginia. Corporate offices were in NYC, but I believe the pulse the company took was that of the south to mid Atlantic. Redemption centers there had the largest stores and the greatest turnover. Glad you enjoyed this!


SDG 5 years ago

You can still redeem S&H Green Stamps! Check out this article to find out how!

http://www.ehow.com/how_4542416_redeem-sh-green-st...


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thanks for the link to ehow, SDG. We already covered how to redeem stamps in the comments above, but the ehow article is helpful. Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

You have brought some memories, we had them in England too. Called Green Shield stamps.


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Thanks for the wonderful memory. I loved helping my grandmother and great-grandmother fill their books. On occasion, they would allow me to choose something for myself.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

H,h, glad to bring back good memories. There's a story behind Green Shield stamps and the American company, Sperry & Hutchinson. Think I might have to do more research!

Truckstop Sally, another Sally on HP! I like your grandmother and great-grandmother...they knew that a kid loves to help and loves to paste stamps, and they loved you. I wonder if you remember what those items were you chose for yourself?


C.J. Wright 5 years ago

Great work, brings back great memories.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thanks for the good words, C.J.! Those are great memories, aren't they?


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

This is a cool story. I had no idea they were still around. I have a beer stein full up on a shelf. I know they still gave them out in the early 80's because I used them.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 5 years ago from USA

What a wonderful journey through life as it was then...I also loved to place the stamps in a book, tho I licked a few, I did most often use the sponge...hahah. You describe the relationship between a caring corporation and it's employees. In spite of the rich salaries for the "upper crust" they did seem to have a heart, then. Some still do, but it is a rare attitude.

When you speak of Ron and Bob, I am reminded of how it takes a village to raise a child. What I was taught at home, I often found at my friends homes as well. An adult was instructive, values were shared and common among friends and neighbors. I could expect the same rules nearly everywhere I went.

My years in foster care and living have surely impressed me with how that is no longer the case.

The other day, I accidentally turned "out of turn" at a 4 way stop, and the teens in the car across from me stopped beside me, rolled down their windows, and in unison threw me the finger...they had good rhythm so they must have done that frequently. ahha

I just hope my own sons would never have done that...and I know we wouldn't have done that especially to an adult woman when we were in the village that was raising the kids...

Great story, thanks for sharing that part of many of our lives!! I loved it!


FlyingPanther profile image

FlyingPanther 5 years ago from here today gone tomorrow!!

sally thank you for the wonderful hub,great work again!

FlyingPanther


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Thanks for your response. My grandmother and greatgrandmother bought practical household items like irons and toasters. There weren't many things for kids (if I remember correctly), but I loved a pink plastic tea set!!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

Gosh I remember those - it was so fun saving them up and getting 'stuff'!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Pamela, that is so cool that the stamps are in a stein. I just hope their glue hasn't stuck them all together! Now you know you can redeem them. :)

Marisue, you add so much to others' thoughts with your comments. I do feel sort of alien or alienated with my expectations, which are based on my childhood or even based on my daughter's childhood, where folks in proximity to us behaved in expected ways or even engaged at all. Now that's a heavy topic. One thing I do know is that this spirit of "it takes a village" is very much alive in some places, just not in enough places. And in too few companies.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

FlyingPanther, thank you always for reading and commenting. Your words mean a lot to me.

Sally, a pink plastic tea set?? Oh my. I never saw one of those and would have died to have one. I think your memory is quite accurate. The merchandise offered by S&H was definitely domestic-centered, even in 1913, as we see by that fabulous photo from Paul Albertine. S&H's marketing strategy, I think, always focused on the "little lady". She didn't have much of a dollar budget, in terms of cash, but she had a tremendous influence in deciding the needs of her home. Green Stamps were an effective way for her to achieve those things without laying out cash. Thanks for this wonderful insight.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Audrey, it was fun, wasn't it? Now, some supermarkets offer discounts on china or glassware or pots and pans, because of a deal that they've made with the manufacturers or distributors, but it's not the same as having those stamps to redeem. Food for thought.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 5 years ago

Ok, this comment is long overdue, and for that, I'm sorry.

All I really remember about the green stamps is the licking, and how excited I got when a book was completed. However, I could not even begin to tell you what they ever got with them.

Thanks for this walk down memory lane :)


Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Thanks for sharing a wonderful story of family,community and a work environment that certainly shows how we could all get along. This is a keeper! Voted up and awesome!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Hi Sally, thanks for the fun memories and the glimpse into your family history. It sounds like a company with true values and dignity. I read an article called "When Families Licked Together" that Warren Buffet bought many of his companies by buying the Blue Chip stamp company with its cash reserves and using those reserves, not to buy the merchandise it was intended for, but companies like Wesco Financial and See's Candy.

I always enjoyed that Greensleeves spoof song: "I met my love in a grocery shop, selling pickles, turnips and soda pop. She said try my asparagas tips and I fell in love with her ruby red lips. Green Stamps were all she gave. Green Stamps were all I took. Green Stamps were what I saved, so I pasted them in my Green Stamps book."

=:)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Trish, there was just something about licking and pasting those stamps, wasn't there? Kids loved it. As I was writing this Hub I had a flashback to another "book" activity we had in school as kids. Remember filling up bank savings books with dimes and quarters? The inside of each book had slots for quarters or dimes, and when the book was full, you got to take walk it over to the bank and deposit it in your savings account.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Scribenet, thank you so much for the good words. I do think S&H was remarkable for the commitment it made to bringing coworkers together socially. There was of course the separation between what my mother respectfully called the "upper echelon" and the "rest of us". But company-sponsored social engagements managed to bridge that divide in ways that counted.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Winsome, your breadth of knowledge adds greatly to this Hub. You can see your comment reflected in an addition to this Hub (the text box accompanying Coming of Age in the Social Life of the Company).

As a kid I played guitar and sang (in a soprano voice that's since gone off someplace into outer space)...Greensleeves was my delight...but I never heard this spoof. Thanks so much for your awesome comment with its trails to more adventures.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 5 years ago

I certainly do remember bank books. However, with the vague memories I have of green stamps, the same holds true for the bank books. I'm sure the money was put into an account of my very own, but that's all I remember. I don't remember how much I saved, or what I did with the savings. Perhaps early Alzheimers is setting in? :(


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

I remember Green stamps! I saved a bunch when I was a teenager. My mother, sister and I went to redeem the stamps for a new waffle iron. I was so excited! While waiting, my mother got the giggles. What was so funny. Standing in front of us in line were 2 women with long blonde hair, like my sister and I. But they must have each weighed 300 pounds. My mother said 'that's you 2 after a year of the waffle iron.'


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Dolores, thanks for sharing your story. So many of us have very specific memories of events related to trading stamps. They had a tremendous impact on our day to day lives. S&H in particular was a brilliant marketer, making sure their brand was immediately recognizable and thus memorable. Now I have to wonder what ever happened to that waffle iron!


annemaeve profile image

annemaeve 5 years ago from Philly Burbs

Oh Sally, I had completely forgotten that I ever knew the taste of S&H green stamps, but now... I can taste them on my tongue! We got them at the Acme, right? Awesome Hub - learning more about what makes you you, and loving it!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Indeed we did get them at the Acme, Anne. Thank YOU for resurrecting that memory in my head. By the time you were licking them, they were on their way out, while Mom was winding down her career. I'm so glad you have that memory. Don't you think they put something in that glue that continues to leave a memory after so many years? :)


mwatkins profile image

mwatkins 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

This is so cool! I had no idea that the company operated this way - What a neat way to grow up! I remember the cardboard boxes of green stamps banded up in my mom and grandmas closets - And licking all of them. My mom used my brother and I as human stamp lickers and we weren't as happy with that role as she was! There was a small store in the town we grew up in - Lincoln City, Oregon, where we could redeem the stamp books, but it was always more fun to make a day of it and drive to Portland, OR, instead to spend them with mom and grandma. Your memories here are priceless and I think every time I hear the word "Green Stamps" I unconsciously make a face in anticipation of having to lick the stamps! Thank you!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Mischelle, your comment is priceless! And precious. Precious because you found something in this Hub that gave you a different take on trading stamps (the family aspect of this company). Priceless because your memories stand in counterpoint to most kids' experiences. But I don't think you are alone. Clearly, the taste of the glue was not the tonic for everyone that it was for me. Thank you so much for sharing!


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Sally, excellent Hub. I saw that S&H Green Stamp symbol, and could not stop reading this Hub. Like many of those commenting stated, I can taste the glue, and remember the feeling of accomplishment in having a full book.

Weren't there little ones you got, and then big bonus stamps? What funny memories. I remember when we were having the first oil crisis and it got lots easier to fill the books. Thank you for this green and gummy stroll down memory lane. Voted up and shared.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Lilly, thank you so much for your comment. I loved what you said about the first oil crisis, where gas cost so much more than it had before. And that was also the time that saw the end of Green Stamps. You were on the cusp of that transition.

These green stamps touched our lives in ways that even Coca Cola advertising campaigns never did and never will...Coke tasted good, but it didn't bring family together. S&H green stamps did.


Ron 5 years ago

I worked in the Chatham Redemption center in the late 80's after school. The manager Helen was a wonderful woman and the Head counter woman Mary was a lot of fun to work for. I worked there for 2 years after school and weekends. They were like family. I was sad to see the store close.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Ron, thanks so much for sharing your experiences. S&H truly was a company that kept its old-time, family values from the beginning to the end. At the time you worked in Chatham, my mother was a lead merchandiser, making sure the redemption center managers had the products they needed for their customers. I will have to ask her about Helen, but my guess is that they were, at the very least, good phone buddies! I'm glad you had the opportunity to work for this wonderful company.


robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey

This is quite wonderful and takes me back too-- I remember those stamps and the books and I too liked to lick them and paste them in the books and there was something so satisfying about redeeming them-- what a great trip down memory lane and as always, a fabulous read. Thanks ST


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thanks for joining me on this memory trip, Robie. It's little things in life like this that bind us humans together. I'll bet some successful Wall Street broker licked his/her fair trade of green stamps as a kid, too. LOL


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

A wonderful, beautiful trip down memory lane! Great job Sherri!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Glad you enjoyed the read, Steph!


Wendy S. Wilmoth profile image

Wendy S. Wilmoth 5 years ago from Kansas

Very nice! I remember pasting S&H stamps with may mom. She kept them in a basket. It is one of those cultural reference points that my husband and I talk about- we grew up so far apart but there are some things that our childhoods had in common. S&H is one of those things.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

I guess they are cultural reference points...a much more erudite way of saying they're the glue that binds. :) Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and leaving the good words.


Psalmist4M profile image

Psalmist4M 5 years ago from the Shelter of His Wings

I grew up with the S&H Stamps and remember the fun we had anticipating the possibilities. It was something my mom shared with her 8 children as something to enjoy and anticipate for Christmas.

I appreciate your story of the integrity & trust instilled in you and how you grew up. Thanks for sharing your story. Enjoyed this article.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Psalmist4M, it's been a wonderful experience to read so many comments about the pleasant memories engendered by S&H Green Stamps. "...anticipating the possibilities." Love it! Thank you so much for sharing your memories and for the good words.


SallyTX profile image

SallyTX 5 years ago from Only In Texas!

Well, this just brings back memories! I used to love shopping at the S&H Green Stamp Store! I wish we still had them! ;D


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

I do too, Sally TX. Those stores were so much a part of my growing up. And now that I think about it, the only currency exchanged was a book of stamps that licking effort had gone into. *sigh*


moonlake profile image

moonlake 5 years ago from America

I still have a few things I got with green stamps when we were a young married couple. Enjoyed your hub.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

moonlake, I still have some of those things, too, from a sewing basket acquired in 1960 to a butcher block in 1976. None of these remaining things will ever leave my house. I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub. :)


Mitzi 5 years ago

wow, just ran across my Mom's S&H Green Stamp book from 1975. There is some really cool stuff in it and not much has changed. Looking at this stuff really gives you a warm feeling. I just saw the cameras with flash cubes lolol. They could really get hot. The TV's have greatly changed and colors have changed, but it's a book I will keep and hopefully pass down to the next generation. The current coupon/groupon users have nothing on the ladies and gents who used to use stamps for merchandise. Thanks for this website.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Mitzi, what a wonderful comment, both nostalgic and useful. I enjoyed your observations about items in the S&H catalog...a toaster is still a toaster! I agree completely about the online coupon business. I think if you don't have your hands (or tongue, when it comes to licking stamps) on actual currency or coupons, then you can't possibly have a true appreciation for their worth. It's sort of like using cash instead of credit cards...credit cards are just too, too easy to use unthinkingly, but when there's cash in your wallet, you count it, sort it, and think a bit more about where it's going to go. Thanks for an awesome comment.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California

What a wonderful story. I loved those stamps, we too redeemed them for lots of household items, some of which we still have. For instance, my mother gave me a set of six stemmed water goblets, of which she had twelve, to take with me when I got married. I still have 5 of them today. I so wish they had them today. Not just because I'm telling you this, but I liked them better than the blue ones, which will remain nameless, nameless, mainly because I can't remember the full name. Anyway again this was a wonderful hub. I see why you get so many views, I look forward to reading more. Voted up, funny, awesome, interesting.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

fastfreta, ty so much for contributing your memories to this conversation.

S&H was a company that, in those days, impacted our lives in a way that no advertising program has been able to emulate. There might be groupons today or store coupons, but none of these require that we lick something or that we delay our urges for instant gratification. The more I think about it, stamps were an echo or a mirror of the value of saving for a rainy day.

I am so glad you still have those goblets. S&H was all about quality merchandise.

I can't help wondering, what were the blue ones? :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America

I remember yellow Top Value Stamps at Kroger supermarkets, but it seems like it took an awful lot of stamp books to redeem for anything. I remember better my father's Raleigh cigarette coupons - you could save up enough of those to redeem for a car, although I never knew anyone that did.

S&H was a good employer for the benefits they provided your family in wages, fringes, and solid human connections. We have few companies that offer all or any these today.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

I remember those cigarette coupons, too, Patty. As you know, they became anathema later on.

S&H was a good employer, but not without its faults. Ultimately they came to a decision to forsake the "corporate family" for the bottom line. It was a good era while it lasted.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 4 years ago from USA

Hi ST - My bride still uses the set of pots and pans she received from S&H so many years gone by. Smiled a lot remembering those days as I read your great article here. Gus :-)))


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Hey Gus, please tell your bride I still have a lot of those items from the days gone by, like a sewing basket from 1960, and a butcher's block from 1977. I'm so happy she still uses those pots and pans. S&H's merchandise was always of enduring quality. Glad this made you smile. :)


Beth 4 years ago

My father also spent 25+ years at Sperry & Hutchinson, from the early 60s to retirement in 1983. He worked at 330 Madison Ave, NYC at the point of his retirement and would go to the warehouse in Edison, NJ periodically to review the merchandise. S&H Green Stamps were a huge part of my formative years, including the trips with my Dad to the warehouse. He was a buyer for many years, and would select the items for his assigned lines of business that would go both into the standard catalog as well as the incentive program catalog. We couldn't go by a redemption center when we were traveling without stopping in it and dreaming of what our books of stamps would buy us! I had an S&H scholarship (complete with an S&H pen) when I went off to college.


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Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Oh Beth! I wonder if your father and my mother knew each other. I never mentioned Edison in my article, which is where my mother worked. She also worked in NYC from time to time at 330. And you had the pen and scholarship, too? This is so good. Please email me through my contact link at the top of this article if you'd like to chat. I'd love to hear from you.


Beth 4 years ago

I would be happy to contact you... but just seeing fb and twitter links....no email.


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Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Beth, click "Contact Sally's Trove". It's at the upper right of your screen, under the large ad that's underneath the Sally's Trove avatar. :)


Cathy 4 years ago

I worked for john P Hetherington at 330 madison in nyc in the 80's. His wife's name was nora and he had a daughter whi was a teacher at the time! He was a wonderful boss and taught me the importance of being prompt and doing the right thing at work! He loved smoking his cigars and was a sharp dresser. He was a great mentor. I was the young kid on the block and the entire company at 330 was a family! I always wondered what happened to my boss, as i had such great respect for him! He had such a great attitude and never lost his temper! The company was great! I was young and loved running across the street during my break to shop on madison ave. There was a great cigar shop across the street and at times i went to buy expensive cigars for my boss! I learned a great deal about purchasing and how the distribution centers worked! When i left the company to begin my teaching career, the staff had a party for me and i knew i worked with a great group of people. I always wanted to go back and

visit but years went by and i continued working on my masters degree--- til this day i wonder what happened to shelley who was my good friend at 330 -- my boss--- and the many people who had such great work ethics!!!!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Cathy, these are the stories about the S&H family I love to hear. Anyone who worked for the company, no matter for how long, had the opportunity to learn to do "the right thing", because the company valued excellent service, work ethic, and family values.

Although I don't recall meeting Mr. Hetherington, I do remember that his name was spoken with respect and admiration not only in our own home but also in the Metuchen distribution center, where my mother spent most of her S&H years. I love the description you wrote of him.

Even now, my mother runs into former co-workers now and again. I'll ask her if she knows anything about what happened with Mr. Hetherington.

Cathy, thank you so much for sharing your S&H experiences here. Please contact me via the link above (Contact Sally's Trove) if you'd like to share more. I think Mom could have some information about the people you so fondly remember. 330 and Metuchen were very closely aligned, probably because of their proximity.

Best regards,

Sherri


aexbush profile image

aexbush 4 years ago from Ohio

It is so sad that "Doing the right thing" has become more of a yesteryear concept than a roadmap of how we can get back on the right path. Many thanks for the comprehensive S&H journey.


bboles 3 years ago

Dear Sally I am trying to find a product name, and value if possible of a baby doll bed and high chair that my mom got from redeeming big bonus stamps. I can send pictures if that will help. Thanks.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

bboles, I think the best thing to do would be to start with eBay. Your search terms will work well--baby doll bed / baby doll high chair--or, toy doll bed / toy high chair for baby doll.

eBay has a wealth of information about these wonderful vintage items, because the sellers who feature them, for the most part, love to write about them.

I wish you well in your search...you'll do just as good a job of that as I would. The results you get will also give you an idea of current value. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!


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Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

aexbush, I am so sorry that I didn't see your comment until now. Sometimes HubPages is like that...comments wait in the wings until some undetermined future time.

I so appreciate your thoughts about doing the right thing. That ethic seems to be missing so much now. Now, it's more like, do the ME thing. I fault our generation for that...we saw it as it was happening and did little to stop it.

I'm glad you enjoyed this little journey into the past. :)


jphseegar 3 years ago

Cathy, seeing my name and having someone ask about me after all these years was an unbelievable emotional shock. It took a while to catch my breath.

HOW ARE YOU? Thought of you many times over the years wondering how your career developed. You were my favorite secretary and a lovely individual.

Nora and I are fine and just celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary last July. Ain't love grand.

By chance, I ran across Sally's Trove and found it to be absolutely

fascinating. What a great insight into the fabric of the Company. It was great to read so many wonderful stories about S&H and the great respect people had for the Company. S&H is still functioning as S&H greenpoints and was just recently bought by ProLogic Consumer Marketing Service. I believe they still honor S&H Green Stamps.

Being employed by S&H was a wonderful experience. Whether you worked in the Home Office, the Metuchen Office or any of our Gift Centers you were always impressed by the dedication and the loyalty

of everyone you came in contact with. Credit has to be give to William S. Beineike our past owner and president for the direction he gave to his Company.

After 41 years, I retired in 1996 as Vice President of Store Operations and Distribution. By the way, I have just about given up on cigars.

Sally's Trove mention her mother worked at the Metuchen office but never stated her name. I also worked there from 1960 to 1972 and knew a wonderful employee by the name of Stephanie Hubbell who had a daughter, Sherri, who eventually married and moved to Pa..

Is this the same Sherri?

Cathy, keep in touch.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

jphseegar, I am delighted that Cathy's comment led you here. It just so happens that my mother was here with me when you wrote, so I was able to share your comment with her. She sends you and yours all her good wishes.

As you can tell by this article, S&H had and still has a profound impact on our lives. Mom continues to keep in close touch with a handful of her coworkers from those years, women who have become lifelong friends, dear to her heart and mine.

I can't tell you how glad my mother and I are that you found this article and left your gracious comment. Indeed, this is the Sherri you surmised. :)


rosie2002 3 years ago

I, too have enjoyed the comments about S&H green stamps.

My Mother collected them and I did too for awhile after I was married in the 70's. I have a question for you, my mother redeemed stamps for a set of 6 Goblets or iced tea glasses, not sure which they are. They were rimmed around the top and bottom with platinum/silver. She got them in the late 50's or early 60's. I have them now, but one was broken no long after she got them. Is there any way to find out who manufactured the glasses and maybe the glass style name? I would love to go on a hunt for them to see if I could add to the set.

I appreciate the help and, again, enjoyed your shared memories.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

rosie2002, one of the best resources for determining what you have is eBay. Search in collectibles or glass using key words like "silver rimmed glasses" or "vintage silver rimmed goblets" and see what you find. I would not be surprised if you found your mother's glasses. eBay collectible/ephemera sellers, for the most part, are very knowledgeable and often share in detail what they know. I wish you good luck in this search and hope you find additions to this set. :)


rosie2002 3 years ago

Thank you so much . I will do as you suggest.


Shades-of-truth profile image

Shades-of-truth 24 months ago from USA

I loved S&H green stamps! Although there were four children in my home when I was growing up, I was the one who usually pasted those green stamps into our books. What fun it was, deciding how we were going to redeem them.

You brought back some childhood memories - thanks!

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