Supermarket brings back 1930s-style rewards program

My local Albertsons supermarket recently brought shoppers a blast from the past: a savings stamps program where loyal customers receive stamps for spending at the store and then trade the stamps in for certain items. In this case it's cookware. Once shoppers fill up a savings card with stamps, they can get a frying pan or a dutch oven for a penny. With enough stamps, they can get a whole cookware set, piece-by-piece, penny-by-penny. The program has proved so popular that last week, my local market ran out of the stamp cards.

It's a customer loyalty reward system that was first seen in the 1930s. Housewives (that's what stay-at-home moms were called before the term became politically incorrect then became alright to use again thanks to reality TV shows) would collect S&H Green Stamps at the supermarket. After books of them were filled up, they would flip through a catalog and pick out something nice for the home. It's how my grandmother got her first toaster and how my mother got her first toaster oven. Fortunately, I did not need to paste stamps into little books to get my first microwave.

So is there some larger meaning that a program that encourages savings and patience has returned to our culture with a vengeance? Will we be bidding adieu to instant rewards and no longer seek immediate gratification?