Wednesday, December 03, 2008


The other day Spouse & I stopped into a store for 3 specific items, and upon locating them, headed to the check-out. This was not a shopping trip, but rather, a quick duck-in to pick up 3 specific times.

When we finished checking out, the cashier handed me this giant, long, register receipt. I swear the thing was nearly 2 feet long - for 3 items.
I gave the cashier a surprised look and said "All this for 3 items?" She just rolled her eyes and made some indecipherable noise/comment.

As we walked to our car I said to Spouse that, with all the emphasis for people to "go green" these days, its surprising that retail chains haven't tried to use less paper by shortening their receipts.

When I looked at the receipt there was all kinds of 'extra' information on it that really isn't necessary. Most of us don't even look at the receipt, and simply throw it in the trash when we get home anyway.

The receipt had an entire paragraph thanking me for shopping at the store, knowing there are lots of options to consumers these days. Another complete paragraph outlined their return policy. The receipt contained a request that I go online and complete a customer survey, which would garner me a $5. gift card to use in the store. The name of the store manager, his email address, and his phone number were on the receipt. Even items that were going to be on sale the following week (read: not on sale now) were listed on the receipt. It was ridiculous!

This got me to thinking about how much money companies could save it they reduced the length of their register receipts. My receipt could easily have been less than 1/2 its length and still given me all the necessary info. But if a company cut the size of their register receipts in 1/2, they would spend only 1/2 their current budget on the actual receipt tape that goes into the registers.

To quantify this, let's just say that any of the major retail chains (Best Buy, Sears, Target, WalMart) spends $100,000. a year on receipt tape. If they cut the length of their receipts in 1/2 by removing all the useless info that nobody reads anyway, they could save $50,000. a year. And that's saying nothing of the trees they'd save.

Why don't retailers understand or implement this? Anyone know?

Crush du Jour: Grant Bowler


Seth said...

I suppose in the corporate/retail mindset, advertising dollars are more important than "tree dollars" to coin a phrase.

Especially listing those upcoming sales, on the off chance someone might actually read the reciept in toto and rush back the following week.... means more sales!!

But yeah, generally speaking, there is a ton of useless information. Although one supermarket I sometimes go to, prints those fancy-schmancy color coupons on the back of the reciept, and I did get alot of 50% off ecologically-unfriendly-chemical-laden carwashes out of the deal, which allowed me to keep my ecologically-unfriendly SUV in shiny condition!!


Seth said...

Oh and by the way... forget the reciepts, worry about the shopping bags!!

I heard a report a year or two ago on the radio, about how ONE SINGLE SUPERMARKET STORE used something like 20,000 plastic bags and 10,000 paper bags per year - or some equally ridiculous numbers!!

Although, today I was in IKEA, and they no longer provide ANY shopping bags whatsoever (unless you buy their branded bags for 59 cents each) - sort of ridiculous.

Java said...

Because they're stupid, greedy, selfish bastards. IMHO.

Joie Mayfield said...

I think retail stores should give an option to sign up for a special card or key chain that will allow them to just link the account to an email. When you purchase items, scan the card/key chain, and the store backs up a copy of the receipt, and you recieve one on your email. As an incentive to cut paper costs or go green, you could receive a discount of some sort.

Just my thoughts. I wish I had $100,000 for paper a year. Geez.

RAD said...

OMG!! I have thoguht the same SO MANY TIMES! What the heck.....and yes I have received the same roll of eyes from the cashier when I mention it...such a waste! Nice crush of my new fantasys for sure!