Merchandising: Stamps: Taking a Licking

In the housewives' assault on the high cost of food, one item at the check-out counter has become a highly visible target: trading stamps. Trouble for the $1-billion-a-year industry is coming from all directions.

The Federal Trade Commission has begun an investigation of the role stamps — as well as their trickier cousins, prizegiving promotional games — play in food prices. California's Governor Pat Brown last week promised to help the F.T.C. by sending along a new state wide study that, he says, indicates that the gimmicks cost shoppers "at least a week's groceries a year." New York City Commissioner...

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