About 12-15 years at American* department stores (and even after that... I'm not sure), you could look on the ground under clothes and find objects like this:
I have no idea what they were used for, since I was only 7-8 when I saw and played with them, but they were white, plastic, all over the place, and I assume used for clothing in some manner, maybe to hold them together at folds. I'm also sure they weren't bobby pins, as they were meant for clothing, and were much smaller (about 1" in length).
What are these called, if they have a name?
* This rule was a mystery to me.