- S&H Green Stamps
S&H Green Stamps (also called Green Shield Stamps) were a form of
trading stamps popular in the United States between the 1930s and late 1980s. They formed a rewards programoperated by the Sperry and Hutchinson company (S&H), founded in 1896 by Thomas Sperryand Shelly Hutchinson. During the 1960s, the rewards catalog printed by the company was the largest publication in the United Statesand the company issued three times as many stamps as the U.S. Postal Service. [ [http://www.shsolutions.com/history.html S&H Solutions | About S&H ] ] Customers would receive stamps at the checkout counter of supermarkets, department stores, and gas stations among other retailers, which could be redeemed for products in the catalog.
Sperry & Hutchinson began offering stamps to U.S. retailers in 1896. The retail organizations that distributed the stamps (primarily supermarkets, filling stations, and shops) bought the stamps from S&H and gave them as bonuses to shoppers based on the dollar amount of a purchase. The stamps—issued in denominations of one, ten, and fifty "points"—were perforated with a gummed reverse, and as shoppers accumulated the stamps they moistened the reverse and mounted them in collectors books, which were provided free by S&H. Shoppers could then exchange filled books for premiums, including housewares and other items, from the local Green Stamps store or catalog. Each premium was assigned a value expressed in the number of filled stamp books required to obtain that item.
The company also traded overseas. In the early 1960s, it launched "S&H Pink Stamps" in the
United Kingdom, having been beaten to their green shield trademark in 1958 by Richard Tompkins' Green Shield Trading Stamp Company.Cite web
title=Tompkins, (Granville) Richard Francis (1918–1992)
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press
Sperry and Hutchinson was sold by the founders' successors in 1981, and was purchased from a holding firm by a member of the founding Sperry family in 1999. At that time, only about 100 U.S. stores were offering Green Stamps. Eventually, though, the company rebounded with the birth of the Internet and now offers "greenpoints" as rewards for online purchases. [ [http://www.greenpoints.com S&H greenpoints ] ]
Currently the company operates as S&H Solutions and offers S&H Greenpoints, a digital version of Green Stamps, which can be earned online and in participating grocery locations.
December 7, 2006, it was announced that S&H Solutions was purchased by San Francisco based Pay By Touch. The purchase price was in excess of $100 million in cash and stock. Pay by Touch has since gone bankrupt with the likelihood that S&H will survive as a separate company divested to new owners.
Green Shield Stamp "syndrome"
Green Shield Stamps were successful as a business, not because they encouraged people to buy goods in proportion to the sales value - they made money because so many receivers of Green Shield Stamps never cashed them in. Sticking the stamps in books was time consuming. This became known as "Green Shield Stamp syndrome", which is now a deliberate and intentional problem common with rebates.Fact|date=May 2007
Green Stamps in pop culture
An episode of
The Brady Bunchdeals with the family saving up stamps from a program similar to Green Stamps.
Starsky & Hutch: The Complete First Season DVD - Disc 5 - Special Features contains a featurette entitled "Starsky & Hutch: Behind The Badge". One of the persons interviewed in this documentary is Leonard Goldberg, who was Executive Producer of the 1970s television series, "Starsky & Hutch". During an interview, Leonard Goldberg states that while considering the name of the pilot for "Starsky & Hutch", they asked the creator, William Blinn, "Where did you get these names from? And [Blinn] said, 'It's S&H - those are the real names of the guys who created the Green Stamps.' Now... I never knew if he was kidding, or telling the truth, but I thought that was such a good story, we would just go with it." It is unknown whether or not Sperry actually went by the name Starsky, however.
On Writing", the author Stephen Kingdescribes how one of his earliest attempts at an original story as a child was about a man who discovers a way to counterfeit stamps very similar to S&H stamps, except in the story, the stamps are pink. The story was entitled "Happy Stamps". Allan Shermanrecorded a song titled "Green Stamps", a parody of S&H Green Stamps based on the popular song Green Eyes (Aquellos Ojos Verdes).
Two Slot Machines, a standard model and a deluxe model, based on the Green Stamps concept were produced by
* [http://www.greenpoints.com/ S&H greenpoints]
* [http://www.shsolutions.com/ S&H Solutions]
* [http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mgreenstamps.html Straight Dope Staff Report: Whatever happened to Green Stamps?]
* [http://www.paybytouch.com/ Pay By Touch]
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