By Bill Ward
---- — When I go to the local gas station look at the pump and decide I really did like it when I paid what was after the period not what was in front of it per gallon. But I also thought of a lot of other things. Patty my wife and I set up house keeping with the help of the gas station in Milroy as well as those in Rushville. Many stations used hand outs as a way of generating business. You fill up or buy a specified amount of gas and you get a free tumbler. Each was actually glass and usually at least close to tasteful. We actually used those tumblers for years afterward and enjoyed them greatly. We tried to keep using one station so the glasses would at least look the same. Other business establishments used give a ways as traffic makers too.
I laugh when I remember the many times I commented that Patty and I started married life and decorated our new home with early orange crate. That in essence meant we used a lot of freebies (misnamed actually you paid for them one way or the other). There were places that used dishes as premiums as well as tumblers. Some used cutlery usually one item at a time which tended to bring you back in the shop numerous times. There for a short time there were a few places that used bake dishes as a premium anything that would bring you in and help you decide to buy something. Plain dinner dishes and then added serving dishes were also available.
At one time Rushville National Bank out did all others in my mind, for a certain amount deposited in their bank your wife got a wig. Sure was better than a pen or booklet of some sort in my mind. A lady we knew happened to remember I was township trustee and we used that particular bank for the township funds. She thought Patty would probably get her wig were she to want one (and she didn’t) by using our personal account. So I was asked if I would allow this lady to have the wig that might be given to the township. Had to turn her down, I didn’t think much of the idea first off and secondly the bank did not think the township funds would qualify for this give a way.
There were other ideas used to get you into the shop and in the buying mode. There was a multitude of stamps available, green, plaid, about any type you could think of. You generally received one stamp for each dime of your purchase. If you purchased an item that cost you a dollar you got 10 stamps. You then pasted those stamps in a book the stamp company and merchant would give you. Then after you managed to get enough books of stamps you could trade them in on something you might like. The stamp boys would put out catalogs much like Sears and Montgomery Ward and you then picked out the prize you would like to have. There were even stores that were nothing but stamp redemption stores where you could go and pick out and up your choice of prizes.
A lot of items some even worth while were available for the correct amount of stamps. You could even get things such as rocking chairs. I use this as an example because my little plant sold to a company in Tell City that made rockers and only for Green Stamps. It was in an old building and family owned and operated. One time we (Patty and my family went on some sales trips with me in the summer) were there calling on Tell City Chair and this small firm Fisher Chair. The gentleman who ran the place wore bib overalls and a cotton shirt to work and sat at an old, and I mean old, roll top desk. I knew him from my many trips selling as well as delivering our product.
This time around it was summer and we were in no hurry to get back home, in fact we were camping at a local camp ground if I remember correctly. Patty and the children felt it might be fun to go to Santa Claus Land forerunner of Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. I figured to do so additional funds would be required so I asked the manager of Fisher Chair Co. if he would vouch for me at the bank he used so I could cash a check. He was more than happy to do so for me and the family. He took me right up to his bank, walked in yelled at the president of the bank and told him to cash any size check I may present to the bank at any time. I thanked him and he headed back to his work. When he left I made out my check the bank cashed it and the president asked me if I was sure that was enough or should I make it out for more. I was able to get what ever I needed according to my customer. I thanked him but said I felt I had sufficient and evidently the gentleman I sold cotton to must be a pretty good customer to be able to just barge in and vouch for me. I was told well yes he is, in fact he just happened to own the bank. By golly you just never know.
There have been all kinds of schemes to get your money these were just some of those I remember and felt were good at the time. I don’t believe that they still have stamps but I also don’t for sure but when I was a lot younger they and gas station give a ways were very much appreciated.