Green Shield Stamps

Can you remember Green Shield Stamps? My job as a kid was sticking the stamps in the book after the trip to the supermarket. They tasted vile on the tongue. I needed one and a quarter books for a casey football. Of course I wanted a Scalextric, but who could ever accumulate 22 books? One day at Tesco the “tenner” stamp arrived. I was made up. Much less licking and my book was filling at a much quicker rate. Then the new Green Shield Stamp Catalogue was collected on a visit to Tesco and I now needed one and three-quarter books for my ball. All was not lost though because of the “tenner” stamps I thought.

I never got that football. I was filling the books at an ever quicker rate but one day I got the new, new Green Shield Catalogue and to my horror I needed four and a quarter books of stamps. What a rip-off I thought, and obviously so did the rest of the UK because the stamps were finally withdrawn in 1983. The stores became Argos.

It wasn’t a rip-off really, but try explaining inflation to a twelve year old. Inflation destroys value, in that case it was the value of the early stamps that were collected. Today it threatens life savings. If you are lucky you can get 3.1% on a cash isa for a year; take your eye of the ball and next year they will only give you 0.5%. Whilst this isa money is growing for now, eventually you will want to spend it; the cost of what it can buy is officially rising by 5.2%. The maths doesn’t work.

Next April UK benefits will rise by 5.2% whilst workers will receive very little if they are lucky. Prepare for the new “Winter of Discontent” which last occurred in 1978-79.

To put inflation in perspective I will leave you with this. I wanted the football because I thought I was George Best and I used to take penalty shoot-outs against my dad who played the role of Alex Stepney. Unfortunately my dad became ill and after a period sat on the injury bench, like Elvis, he died in 1977. That was 34 years ago in normal time. If you counted one year of time as one percent of inflation it was 384 years ago.