s_hby Chrysa Smith

The Price of a stamp. What is it now? $.46? How many stamps would you have to save before you were able to buy a brand new set of dishes?

Sounds like an elementary school math problem, but truth is, it’s all coming back. Yes, remember those S&H Green Stamps,? Plaid Stamps? Other savings programs? It dates back to when Lay-A-Ways were all the rage. And people weren’t spending hundreds of dollars on plates, cups and saucers—not to mention thousands on clothes and hundreds of thousands on houses. But I digress. At least for the simpler, more affordable home items, it’s back.

Just the other day, as I checked out of the Acme grocery store, I was handed a brochure and three stamps. For each $10 spent, you receive a stamp. Paste them into a booklet and keep collecting. Collect 20 stamps and it gets you a free item. Collect all 120 stamps and you get six pieces of dinnerware.

But wait–there’s more. Not only do you score free dinnerware. You score Rachel Ray dinnerware. And that too, brings back memories of olden days. Remember Fiesta Ware? Bright, colorful collections that brought your table to life? Well, Rachel’s comes in navy, orange, lime green and red. And it’s all very hip. (You can catch other pieces from her collection in Kohl’s).

S&H Green Stamps were all the rage for almost 50 years, beginning in the depression era and continuing through the 1980’s. My family collected them, and apparently the catalogs offered a pretty large variety of items to choose from. In fact, for part of its history the S&H Company had the largest circulation of catalogs in the country. And they issued more stamps than the US Postage Service.

It seems that everything old really is new again. This time, the brainchild of a large supermarket chain and one of the most recognized chefs on tv. Clever, I’d say. And I wonder, if like S&H, this Rachel Ray program has something to do with a sluggish economy. Or perhaps, it’s just a stand out program in the world of supermarket bonus cards that offer a percentage off your next order or some discount on gas. Or maybe it’s just a lure to evangelize the non-Acme shopper. (They’re also offering a chance to win a ticket to see the Rachel Ray show in NYC).

Whatever it is, I like it. It’s nostalgic. It’s fun. And while I hadn’t thought about acquiring some new, funky, Rachel Ray dinnerware, I just might now. After all, I like Acme and I like Rachel Ray.

Now excuse me while I go locate those stamps. I only have 2 1/2 months to expand and colorize my service for six.

For more on the Acme program, visit:http://www.acmemarkets.com/savings/promotions-sweepstakes.html

For more on Rachel Ray’s collection of vibrant kitchenware, visit: http://www.rachaelray.com/shop/index.php

No Acme? Check your local grocery store chain to see what kind of offers they’re throwing out there!