Tuesday, 10 November 2015

When consumer loyalty was a plastic flower on offer from OMO

I have been wondering what passed for a loyalty card when I was growing up in Lausanne Road.

As late as the 1990s one independent supermarket still offered a little card which was hand stamped after the cashiers had written in the amount you spent.

But then Handbury’s operated from a converted cinema and had retained much of the trappings of the 1950s.

Attins on Queens Road was too small to go in for such schemes and so I guess may just have confined themselves to the Christmas Club.

Today of course it is all a different world which starts with the online points you can earn topples over into the special offer and culminates with the two for one.

Now I doubt that mother would ever have been seduced by such deals although I do remember the house was full of those plastic flowers that came with OMO and our breakfast cereal and brand of tea were determined by the little toy or picture card that were inside.

But back then two for one had little meaning for households which didn’t have freezers or fridges and who still had vivid memories of wartime rationing and shortages which rather than tipping people over into excessive consumerism made them very careful.

Back then the idea of make and mend still dominated our house which meant that my socks were still darned, dad did running repairs on our shoes with adhesive rubber soles and heels and Nana looked sternly on if you didn’t eat everything on the plate.

A decade or so earlier and many of the bigger houses would have had their groceries delivered either by the boy on the bike or the man with the van which would have still been horse drawn.

Of course by the time I can remember Lausanne Road it was only the milkman but he still had a horse which pulled that very tall orange and cream milk cart and as a side benefit left a trail of droppings eagerly prized by next door but one for his roses.

Now it is easy to sentimentalise all of this and as much as I like and support the small independent traders from the deli to the bookshop it is also true that a lot that passed for quality food wouldn’t pass muster today.

Cheese was often just white or red the big open biscuit tins in front of the counter will have been poured over by countless grubby fingers and coffee in our house went under the name of Camp.but that as they say is another story.

By contrast the choice and range at our local Morrisons knocks the socks off what I could buy even in the 1970s so I put up with some of the enticing coupons on offer and reflect that for my generation that loyalty card was dominated by the divi number.

Pictures;2d token issued by the R.A.C.S., date unknown from Boldon History, and Sugar Puffs from the collection  of Andrew Simpson

Boldon History, http://www.boldonhistory.co.uk/Boldon-Colliery-ID11/The%20Co-op-IDI141

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