Shopping Through The Years

When I was a kid, I was easily amused by clever advertisements, whether it was selling shaving cream or Whip ‘n’ Chill.

We could tell you that Brylcreem’s ” little dab will do ya” worked wonders for your hair. The “plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is” meant we could calm our upset stomachs with a bubbling glass of Alka Seltzer.

As I got older I came to appreciate the store ads in our newspaper. I later learned that those glamorous drawings of ladies in stylish coats or lavish evening wear were the handiwork of local artists who often drew the artwork while a copywriter would prepare the words to promote the products.

Recently I had the opportunity to peruse some old newspapers here in the office. The ads jumped off the pages at me. Hornes of Wheeling and The Hub had some of the most beautiful ads that would make any fashionista pull out her charge cards and head to the stores.

L.S. Good and Co. enticed shoppers with their ads as well. Their handbag and jewelry departments were top quality and a gift from L.S.Good’s was, well, very good. They also had the talking Santa box in their window on Market Street that called people out by name as they passed by the store. Can you remember the first time someone took you on the escalator there or at Stone and Thomas? It was scary and exhilarating at the same time.

What really caught my eye while perusing the old newspaper ads were the prices. No wonder my parents could feed us three squares a day. Food prices were pretty reasonable and there were many grocery stores including the mom and pop corner stores that all competed for our dollars.

Competition was definitely a good thing.

Clothing, bedding, furniture and even toys were within reach of the average working family. Wages and prices appeared to exist on a parallel plane in the ’50 and ’60s. I believe things started creeping out of kilter in the 1970s and it’s been difficult to catch up ever since.

Yet when the Thanksgiving Day newspaper lands at my door on Thursday morning, I will take it apart and relish each advertisement leading to Black Friday. While I am not one to head out to shop in the pre-dawn hours, it’s kind of fun to hear the shopping stories of those who braved the crowds, parking woes and long lines.

I’m just thankful that I live in a country that offers us so many choices whether we are looking for a new coat or a baby doll. And when I’m bowing my head in prayer next week, I will be grateful for that and so many other things we, as a country, have weathered this year.

I will remind myself that the United States established the Thanksgiving holiday not just to sell more turkeys, but to make us stop and reflect on the positives if even for just one day, with or without shopping.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at ziegler@