Memoirs of the so-called “Thoi bao cap”
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VietNamNet Bridge – Twenty-five years after Vietnam implemented the open-door policy, many people cannot forget memory about the so-called “Thoi bao cap”, when they bought everything not by money, but coupons.
“Thoi bao cap” is the phrase used to mention a period of time in Vietnam after the country’s unification in 1975 until late 1986 (before the Doi Moi or renovation period). This is the time of the centrally-planned economy when goods were not traded in the market, but distributed through coupons. Even salary was sometimes paid by goods. Below are photos of the “Thoi bao cap”, which are displayed at the “Vietnam – 25 Years of Renovation 1986-2011, through Archived Documents” at the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi:
Tramcars in Hanoi were always fully occupied. People lined up to purchase food, using coupons. The food registration book of Mr. Phan Van Sinh’s family in Duyen Ha
commune, Thanh Tri district, Hanoi. A food coupon granted to Mrs. Nguyen Thi Bay in Hang Khoai Street, Hanoi. Goods coupons are different for different locations. There are many kinds of coupons. With this coupon, one could buy 2kg of pork. Coupons for purchasing beef, pork, fish and eggs. In this period of time, everything from petrol to cloth, bicycle spare parts, etc. were bought by coupons. Each coupon is noted with a fixed amount of goods that holders could purchase, for
example 0.2-0.5-1m of cloth. Even the type of cloth, for men or women, is noted in the coupon. Families that have children were granted with milk coupons… … and also sugar coupons. Country women had coupons for those who just give birth.