Supermarket register tapes from 1976

mtnesterOctober 15, 2012

Seven years into retirement, I finally got around to cleaning out a file cabinet in the attic yesterday, and I found an envelope full of register tapes from the supermarket. 1976 must have been the first year they printed an itemized receipt; some of the tapes from early in the year were just a list of unidentified numbers. Looking through them is like going down Memory Lane! We don't eat beef or lamb any more, I changed from Pepsi to root beer, and our baby, who was just starting on solids then, is now 36! But I still use many of the same products, just different brands or different forms of the same thing.

Here are some sample prices (I can't believe so many items were under a dollar):

Round roast $2.19

Sirloin steak 2.85

XL grnd beef 1.43

Lamb chops 4.05

Chkn breasts 1.85

Apple juice .45

BB light tuna .50

OS crnbry sc .25

Spaghetti .40

Ragu sauce .69

Sugar 5 lb .89

Brown sugar .45

Townhse crkr .85

Maxim coffee 3.39

Cheerios .63

Wheat brd .34

Parsly flk .25

Salt .17

Pepsi 16 oz 1.49

Gerber cereal .41

Gerber str carrot .20

Gerber str meat .39

Rubber pants 1.09

1.26 lb banana .21

12 oranges 1.38

Cantaloupe .59

1.13 lb onions .33

Pascal celery .49

Green pepper .20

1.97 lb peachs .77

Skim milk qt .43

A large eggs .76

Am cheese .83

Butter lb 1.31

Promise margarine .77

Bryr van fdg 1.99

Froz peas .67

Froz spinach .23

Bounty towel .59

Scot facials .55

Kitty litter 10 lb .79

Cascade 1.15

Ajax cleansr .39

This was fun, a snapshot of the past.


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Jimmy Careter ran against Gerald Ford and won.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 8:24PM
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I remember buying 10 green peppers for $1 then. I think about that often.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:36PM
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In one of my seldom used cupboards I recently found a nearly empty bottle (in the original box) of Schilling peppermint extract from around that same time period. The price tag on the bottom of the box reads 45cents.

I think the vintage box and bottle are now worth more than the peppermint extract cost at that time! (I am saving it, it's a glass bottle with a metal lid....don't see that anymore!!) LOL


    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Linda, I think you're right. My tapes include: McCormick rum extract for .45 and house-brand vanilla extract for .39.
Save that bottle--you have a "collectible"!


    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 10:33PM
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I was most surprised by the prices of sugar and milk!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:15PM
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Amazing that milk and eggs are about the same price 36 years later, but butter and cheese are much more expensive. Sunday I paid $1.99 for a gallon of skim milk, and .89 for a dozen large eggs, while the butter was $2.99. I wonder why some and not others.

Thanks for a fun trip.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:35PM
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Coffee hasn't changed much in 36 years!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:36PM
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I can't believe that you typed all that. Good for you. I remember that my food budget for two of us back in the late '60s was $15.

I still miss prices on each item, or prices stamped on with purple ink. I remember seeing the stock boys opening the top of a box of cans and stamping each item. They were fast!

I also remember putting 50 cents worth of gas in my car and having it go quite a way.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:55AM
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Yes, but, do you remember what your paycheck said back then, too?


    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 9:30AM
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Shermann - Do you live right next door to the farm?? I pay about 250% what you quoted for milk and eggs - more for the eggs if I don't catch them on sale! On the other hand $3 for butter is right in line with what I pay, when on sale.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 9:33AM
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Good point, Sally. My husband was a student so our paycheck was pretty much $0.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:46AM
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Sally, you're exactly right! I just found an online calculator to find out "what is a dollar worth?" in various years (see link). A dollar in 1976 would be $4.08 in 2011.

In 1967, my grad school roommate and I used to go each week, on foot, to the A&P around the block, so we tried to carry home only one grocery bag each. Our goal was to spend no more than $10 per bag. I remember lots of canned spaghetti and tuna in those days. Of course, we didn't have kids or pets then, and we had some lunches on campus and dinners on dates, so the $20 wasn't the true cost of our meals per week. Also, our grocery bags included non-food items, like cleaning products and tissues.

Later the same year, I began teaching in a public high school. My starting salary was $6000 a year. (Using the calculator, I see that a 1967 dollar would be $6.96, so I was making the equivalent of around $42,000! [Who knew! I was rich!] And our two bags of groceries would cost around $140 today.)


Here is a link that might be useful: price calculator

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Here milk is on sale this week, $2.77 a gallon but a store in a neighboring town has had it for $1.98 a gallon for about a month now. It's their "loss leader", gets people into the store. Eggs yesterday were 99 cents a dozen for large white eggs, your run of the mill grocery store ones, not free range or organic, etc.

I graduated from high school in 1973, got married in 1974. I was making $1 an hour then went to Wolverine making Hush Puppy shoes. They paid $3.18, I was rolling in the dough, LOL. When I went to work at the Prosecutor's Office in 1978 I made $6,000 per year. Yup, I was rich.

I remember buying bread, for 50 cents a loaf. Right now it's on sale for $1.19 a loaf, so I guess that's not much of a price jump.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:56PM
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LOL, Annie. I used to work as a waitress in the summer and I earned 85 cents an hour, plus tips. Tips were where you made your money. Fifty cents was a great tip and if you got a dollar, you nearly fainted.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 1:20PM
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In 1971 I was a junior in high school and got my first real job, working in the office of a small department store in our town. I made $1.25 per hour and thought I was in hog heaven! LOL

Later in the 70's when my kids were small I recall taking a calculator to the grocery store with me because I had a $30 grocery budget. Now I can't even half-fill a brown grocery bag for $30!

Loaf of bread here is around $2.99, I rarely buy milk so not sure what the price is. Butter is over $3 per pound, and eggs I think are around $1.79 per dozen (regular eggs, organic and free range are more than double that.)
However I am fortunate enought to have neighbors with chickens, so I get farm-fresh eggs from them for $1.00 a dozen.

Yep, Sue I agree. My peppermint extract bottle is a collectors item. I am definitely hanging on to it!


    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:06PM
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Rubber pants. :) 60s and 70s

Diaper wraps in the 80s and 90s

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:18PM
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Yes, and gas was 39 cents a gallon until the oil embargo and then it went up to 70 cents. That was on days I could buy it, I had a license plate with an odd number, so I could get gas on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Even numbers could buy it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Everything was closed on Sundays.

So I was making something like $2.90 an hour, LOL.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:08PM
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I'm always curious to look back at prices but I do realize that the income was much less and so often people start to wax nostalgically while overlooking that little tidbit. I'm always looking for how some things aren't so different, which means they were a LOT higher proportionately then compared to now. When I watch something like Dobie Gillis or an old movie or show, besides looking at the cars, I always try to look at the gas and grocery prices when they're showing them.

I keep a price book and look back occasionally and what's interesting is the price changes in just the past few years. Both up and down at times.

I probably have glass bottle/metal capped extracts in the cupboard. I don't miss them at all. I usually got one or two uses and they'd be glued on there so I'd have to dig out a plier to open it!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Neat-O! Love all things vintage/old.

As for the rubber pants, 1980's and 90's, too!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 3:51PM
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