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Green Shield Stamps

A sales promotion or incentive scheme designed to encourage shopping. Popular in the UK during the Sixties and Seventies.

Shoppers were presented with stamps based on the size of their purchase. They then collected the green coloured stickers in a book. The more money you spent, the more stamps you got.

Lots of shops and most supermarkets and petrol stations signed up to the scheme and gave away stamps with every purchase.

The books could later be exchanged for a range of household goods such as toasters, garden furniture and toys at the Green Shield Stamp shop.

The ‘catalogue’ chain store Argos began in July 1973 as the brainchild of Richard Tompkins, the UK founder of Green Shield stamps. For seven years it traded independently (though heavily linked to the Green Shield stamps operation) before being sold to BAT Industries.

Consumers eventually began to realise that, although the stamps were accumulating, grocery prices were having to rise to cover the costs of the scheme.

So, when Tesco abandoned the stamps in favour of a simple value for money approach, other retailers were forced to follow suit.