Beat the receipt (Day 88)…


I hate when I make a point of gathering together all my tote bags, walking to the grocery store, spending the whole shopping process trying to buy local, organic food with the least amount of packaging, only to finish paying and then get handed a mile-long receipt, sometimes two separate ones if I paid with credit card or debit. I always recycle them when I get home, but still, it provokes a lot of that frustrated, Marge Simpson kind of grumbling.

The worst are the receipts that are twice as wide as the standard cash-register size, printed on glossy white paper and have so much useless information on them they end up running 10 times longer than need be — like this Walgreens one here, which has a personalized thank-you message from the employee who helped the person, an advertisement about the store’s phone-in prescription service, another ad about the survey you can go online and fill out in order to be entered for a cash draw, the entire thing printed over again in Spanish and the date and time printed twice.

I understand that some computers and high-tech registers are programmed to automatically spit out a receipt when a transaction is made, so it’s not always possible to decline one. And there are certainly purchases where it’s a good idea to get one if there’s a chance it’ll get returned or exchanged.

But from now on, whenever I buy something — especially if it’s something I’m going to eat straight away or that know I won’t be bringing back — I’ll at least ask for no receipt right when I step up to the counter.

Receipt courtesy of ineedtostopsoon at Flickr

41 Responses to Beat the receipt (Day 88)…

  1. Lori V. says:

    Be very careful with this one. In my experience, there are very few places that truly have the option of “no receipt.” More often than not, you’ll get no receipt, but your receipt automatically will print, even if you ask for “no receipt,” and then will end up in the garbage where the clerk will put it. At least, the way you are doing it now, the receipt finds its way to the recycle bin! (Of course, the next question is whether those receipts are actually recycled because of the heat-sensitive chemical coating they put on the paper. Anybody know?)

  2. Shawn says:

    Maybe some of these mega-receipt companies could be the target of your letter writing routine? Better yet, let’s pick one offender and start a cross site effort to change their receipts. Vive la resistance! I bet if we tried we could actually get someone to change. Just have to choose who…

  3. christal says:

    Apple stores have the option of not printing out a receipt and also give the consumer the ability to have one emailed to them. I love this feature! If everyone did this it would save time, money, resources and it would provide an organizational system for all the little bits of paper no one really wants to hang on to anyway.

  4. Alicia says:

    I work in a store and I always ask customers if they would like a bag for their purchases, as well as if they require a reciept. What’s really annoying is the people who say they need a bag only to fold it up and stuff it into their purse/other bag, and the people who NEED a reciept and then leave it on the counter/floor. GRRRRRRRRR! So much WASTE!

  5. Christy says:

    Home Depot is the worst about this. They give 2 receipts both of which are a mile long with lots of excess information. I think if we are going to target a company to reduce their receipt size they would be a good place to start.

  6. gettinggreen says:

    You’re right Lori — but I’m going to make sure I ask if it’s possible to not print a receipt, too. Alicia, that would drive me crazy dealing with those customers! I don’t know how you do it.

    So should I draft up a letter to Home Depot then? The other one I know is bad is the Dominion grocery store near me. Actually Loblaws is bad too. I feel like the bigger the chain, the bigger the receipt… why does that not surprise me?

  7. Lori V. says:

    Well, Vanessa… you saw my gripe back in March regarding Blockbuster…

    I think they should definitely get a letter… I mean, really… receipts when you aren’t even buying anything?!?!

  8. Morgan says:

    I make a point to say to the store clerk… “If I don’t take the receipt will you recycle it or are you going to throw it in the trash?”…I have yet to come across a store with a recycle bin behind the counter! The other thing I see stores do a lot of the time is throw paper coin wrappers in the trash…in the course of a day, they throw quite a bit out!

  9. Lynn says:

    In some stores here, they give customers a handwritten receipt, so at least I’ve been able to refuse them right away after making my purchase. It’s a lot harder in bigger stores, though. When I pay using a credit card, I get the receipt from the cash register, plus three more receipts for the card purchase: one is the bank’s copy, another is the merchant’s, and the third is mine.

  10. Shawn says:

    Sounds like picking one company might be tough. Safeway is one international chain that comes to mind. Our angle there could be to ask for the no receipt printed option (aka apple store system). I hate blockbuster and won’t shop there so that one is not as interesting for me 😉

  11. nicole says:

    Most places print receipts on thermal paper, which if I remember correctly, is not recyclable (at least not here in my town).

    If you do get a receipt, you can always save it for doodle/notetaking purposes!

  12. […] think it means supermarket receipts, which are increasingly printed on it are not recyclable also. “Just say no”… or toss it yourself. […]

  13. coatings says:

    I heard there are some new health risks when applying teflon. any advice?

  14. Ariel1065 says:

    Thermal paper receipts contain BPA, a suspected carcinogen/endocrine disruptor, and is NOT recyclable. But the recycling companies don’t filter it out, so it gets mixed into the recycled paper, and makes all of or “green” recycled paper products toxic. Ugh. Stop recycling receipts!! Not printing them is a great idea though…

  15. […] Ask for no receipt. […]

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