Here's another blast from our past that I don't believe has been mentioned. Those of you that remember them, which stamps went with which chain? Who had the best stuff IYHO?
Down here, from what I remember:
S&H green stamps was primarly Publix
Triple S Blue Stamps was Grand Union, Grand Way, Stevens supermarkets.
Plaid was A&P
Winn Dixe, back then known mostly as Kwick Check had Top Value yellow stamps.
Food Fair/Pantry Pride issued Merchant Green Stamps.
King Korn Stamps were primarly gas station stamps and indie stores. There were a few old chains that vaporized or were aborbed by the big chains that issued them. Their catalog from what I remember had the best stuff.
The redemption centers were very much like the early Service Merchandise Showrooms. You looked at the stuff on the shelves or the catalog, wroted down the catalog number and they verified your books of stamps and put them immediately in a device that punched a hole through each possible stamp postion in the book. In some cases, they didn't stock the item and you'd have to pick it up at a later date. Otherwise, you went to a delivery area where the item was pulled out of stock and handed to you.
The dispensers in the stores were first manual with the operator either dispensing the individual stamps from a roll type machine. Some had a dial like a telephone IIRC. Later ones were generated automatically. You had to be careful not to get shorted as it was up to the check out operator to determine the correct amount. Some products in the store had labels for double stamps, some specials listed in the paper or a coupon also increased how many you got. People seemed to be more interested in making sure they got all their stamps then if the products were rung up correctly....no barcode scanning for you younger folks. Direct entry from blue ink stamps or labels on the products and lots of room for error that was never in your favor.
Hope I reactivated some old brain cells.