The store for a soldier on a post in 1940 was (is) technically called "The Post Exchange" We referred to it as the P.X. or Canteen. Since you are generally restricted to the compound you could not take off to go shopping when ever the mood hit you. It was a primary supply (Store) outlet, set up in a common barrack. Ours was set up in one end of the Rec. (Recreation) Hall. Some what like a concession stand at a public swimming pool. The Bar Tender was usually a Leader or Assistant Leader. (Non Com in the Army) You were served from a concession counter. They were established in all Military Posts. The larger the Post or Fort the Bigger the PX. They were not stores that you could walk through.
We were allowed to draw from One to Five "Canteen" books each month, that had 20 --five cent coupons. i.e. $1.00 ea. Total $ 5.00 per month. These were debited against our monthly PayRoll of $ 8.00** These coupons were like "Script" used in various industries. ( The Company Store) Coal Mines Railroads etc. The Prices were very minimal, probably sold at cost. (Non Profit Status) ha ha We used ours to buy Candy, Ice cream, Bugler, Tobacco to roll you own cigarettes. Packaged Cigarettes were called TAILOR MADES They cost 16 cents a pack. Very few of could ever afford them. Each Saturday we had a general inspection. The Best Dressed man was awarded a whole carton of Taylor Made Cigarettes. The "1st Runner up" received two Packs. I won two packs one time in the 6 months. Ice cream was sold in Pints only. (No Cones) 13 cents a pint. Two of us would flip a coin to determine who was going to pay the odd penny. ha ha . Then watch the parting of the carton. with a critical eye . Shaving cream razor blades. A rather wide variety of GIFTS to send your sweetheart (If you had one) The Most Popular was a fancy embroidered small pillow cover. They cost one whole Coupon book. In those days there were places called Novelty Stores selling inexpensive odds and ends. That's pretty much the way a Post Exchange Was then.
I suppose you could buy a Humvee or a B M W in one of them today. I could ramble on but that will give you some idea of the POST EXCHANGE in 1940
----- Ed Braun
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