Bruce Bary was the classic prep store that should have opened up a branch at S.I.--you could not go in there in the 1960s without running into one or more classmates. Their credit policy was even easier than all the other stores in the mall--no charge plates required. Mom let me have an account there in 1968 when I was a Junior at S.I.--all she did was give the store my name, and sign a one-page form saying that she & Dad would be responsible for the bill, and I was then free to do my own back-to-school shopping. All I had to do was give the clerk my name and address, and things were good to go--just amazing when you think back on it.
I remember shopping with Mom at Stonestown about 1961 or so when the "new" City of Paris opened to replace the original Butler Bros. that was in that location. The elegant saleslady in cosmetics (with the elegant upswept hairdo & required European accent) asked Mom if she had a charge-a-plate from the Emporium, which everyone in San Francisco did in those days. Mom pulled it out, and the lady took it to the office and returned in a minute or two, having had it "nicked" for acceptance by City of Paris (a little semi-circle notch was stamped out of one side, thus allowing the plate to fit into the imprinters used at City of Paris). No lengthy credit applications were required, nor disclosure statements, nothing. It was a convenience for the customer to be dealing with the Charge-a-Plate stores--all the big department stores in town--like Emporium, Macy's, City of Paris, The White House, I. Magnin, Gumps, Livingston's. Wow, there's a walk down the memory lane of retail!
Fast forward to 2009--I just received a new Visa card for one that is set to expire soon, and it came with 27 PAGES of disclosures--and in the fine print, I'm told that my first use of the card will acknowledge my acceptance of ALL 27 pages!
Guess I had better log off here, and start reading...