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Stamp Of Approval

Posted by Jim Botticelli  August 8, 2013 02:17 PM

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"Hey Rosita, come quick. Down at the cantina they're giving green stamps with tequila!"
 ... Pat Boone from Speedy Gonzalez.

     The S&H Green Stamp store on Boylston Street, long gone, was a local monument to an era when shoppers got rewards in stamp form, eventually redeemable for merchandise. At Casa Botticelli it was well known that a full book got you a Zippo cigarette lighter. Others may have been purer in motive. The program validated consumers by offering further consumption as a reward.

     Peaking in the 60's the program faded during the 70's as a series of recessions, inflation and stagflation made the stamps less valuable. Consumers quit saving them as their value became no better than retail prices. By 1973 S&H Green Stamps had fallen to the point where one merchant recycled a sign, using it to announce another disappearing act of the day, gasoline.

     One of the Green Stamps' legacies was unintended. Truckers used in as code in the 70's and 80's on Citizens Band radio. "Ol' Smokie just got some of my green stamps" was a way of saying that a cop had just given the driver a traffic ticket ... Anyone got a light?
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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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