Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fast Talk: Receipts

I was at a local big-box store today and purchased a set of headphones. One single item. I made my purchase, and was handed a receipt that measures over 11 inches in length -- longer than an ordinary piece of paper. The receipt includes the following information: the store name, the contract ID number (we have a contract?), the store's address and phone number, the date and time, the store name again, the item I purchased, the cost of the item, an invitation to tell them how they are doing online, a promise that if I fill out the online survey I could win a gift card, a series of codes for when I go online and do the survey, an indication of where I can find the contest rules (not printed on the receipt thankfully), a notice indicating I can order items online and pick them up at the store if I want to, the price of my item again, the tax amount, the total, four digits from my Visa number (plus 12 Xs), the GST registration number, something called the ACI/ISO#, and a final note that (wait for it) I bought just one thing.

Now, I'm glad to have some this -- the total and a reminder of which credit card I put it on, but do I really need all this information and does it really have to take up so much paper? This store must dole out the equivalent of thousands of sheets of paper a day at this rate. But what really bugs me is that half of the damn thing is marketing and advertising. I know stores must advertise, but can I not be shielded from the marketers even immediately after I've made a purchase? It's like the waiter at a restaurant bringing you another menu at the end of the meal in case you want to take something out or order ahead before your next meal. I'm not hungry! I just ate! Leave me alone!

Next time I'm tearing off the part I need and giving them the rest back. See how they like having a lot of useless paper on their desks.

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