Rationing during wartime kept prices down but annoyed consumers
The Mitchells has frequest references to rationing, which was a part of the wartime shopping scene in World War II. In the absence of rationing prices would have risen. The Office of Price Administration in Washington used a system of stamps and stamp books to allocate a certain amount of scarce food based on family size. Dairy products were in especially short supply, for example, because of the needs of Allied soldiers for easily transported cheese and other dairy priducts.
All meats, except for beef steaks and beef
roasts, are available ration free in the U.S. as of midnight today, the Office
of Price Administration announced during World War II. The OPA
also said that the monthly allotment for red points, which are needed to
purchase butter, margarine, cheese, and evaporated milk, would be cut in half,
giving citizens less of these staples. Restrictions on beef steaks and roasts
remained the same.
"Announcement that the Office of Price
Administration has suspended the point-rationing system for all kinds of meat,
with the exception of choice cuts and roast of beef, brings to an end one of the
least glorious battles on the home front – the battle of the butcher shop," an
editorial in the Valley Morning Star explained on May 12, 1944. "In a
world which was visibly tottering under the weight of an atrocious assault on
free institutions, a world in which whole races were being systematically
exterminated and in which whole innocent and unoffending nations had been
overrun and starved, the self-appointed spokesmen the American people acted as
though the worst atrocity of all time was a system which limited their right to
buy as much meat as they chose and at as high prices as they could afford."
NOTE: According to OPA Administrator Chester A.
Bowles, rationing restrictions changed due to reduced Army and Navy demand, the
stopping of lend-lease pork buying and the hope that more meat would be brought
to the market over the summer.