In 1943, shoes were rationed and had to be purchased with ration stamps. However, in order for the merchants to rid some of their odd and end pairs, a “shoe holiday” was established which lasted for two weeks from July 19 to July 31.
Some of its stipulations were the sale would only consist of a small percentage of each type to be sold. The dealer could sell only 1% of his stock of men’s dress shoes and men’s work shoes, 4% of women’s shoes, 2% of misses, children and infant’s shoes and 2% of all other rationed footwear.
The sale price couldn’t be more than a 10% mark-up from the price paid by the dealer. If the price couldn’t be determined or if the shoes were made by the owner of the establishment, the selling price had to be at least 25% of his selling price on July 1, 1943. It was a way both the merchant and the customer could benefit by purchasing a few odds and ends, broken sizes, and any other problem shoes on the merchant’s shelves.
The shoes were to represent a fixed percentage of retailers’ stocks which were to be marked down and they had to be stamped with stickers bearing “OPA lot release” in any notice or advertisement. People were urged to turn in their old shoes, boots and soles.
The amendment also allowed mail order houses, wholesalers and manufacturers to move the same percentage of such shoes without a time limit, after July 19, but they had to apply to the district office for permission.
Other rules were more lenient concerning children’s shoes. Considering the fact children would outgrow their shoes, parents could apply to their board for special permission to buy additional shoes and if the parents could prove a need, they would probably be given extra stamps.
In a hardship case when a person couldn’t afford to buy a pair of shoes in addition to the regular pair option they were asked to apply for special coupons.
— written and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO