Keep Your Damn Receipt!

They say a pun is the lowest form of humor. Analogously, a rant may be the lowest form of blogpost. But we love both from time to time.

The other day I bought a salad at a health club (overpriced at $7.50). The pre-packed kind, in a plastic container with a tiny plastic cup of dressing inside. They sell sandwiches and water and chips—it’s a small place run by a concessionaire.

I gave the lady a twenty. She gave me back change—a few coins, and several bills—with the receipt neatly held together with the bills.

So here’s my little rant. I hate those gratuitous little receipts. I mean, a salad?

“I don’t need the receipt,” I said, making a bit of a show of peeling off the receipt and handing it back to her.

That’s when she upped the ante. “The wastebasket is right over there,” she sniffed, pointing behind me as she withdrew her hands from the proffered receipt. Which of course just ticked me off more.

“I’m sure there’s a wastebasket on your side too,” was my (oh-so clever!) retort as I turned and left the receipt on the counter.

Now, maybe I could use a good “get over it” lecture. Fair enough. Still…

What is it with dinky purchases and receipts?

If I’m buying a computer, furniture, office supplies—I get it. The tab for six at a business lunch, the week’s grocery shopping, hardware—I get it.

But a Hershey bar at the airport bookstore? A coffee at Starbucks? A bag of chips or a magazine at a chain pharmacy? Like I’m going return it? Or put it on an expense account?  My tax return?

Am I the only one that thinks it annoying to get a receipt for every little purchase?

Here’s what I suspect.

• I suspect it’s largely the bigger, chain stores that are guilty of this.

• I suspect this is the same crowd that brought us “Your message is very important to us…”

• I suspect some programmer suggested it ages ago, something like, “now that we’ve got the inventory replenishment process linked to the POS system, you know what else we could do—like, for free?”

• I suspect some “customer service analyst” thought, “If the customer has to ask for a receipt, that’s annoying to the customer—but hey if we just give it to everyone without being asked…”

• I suspect the higher-up that approved this nonsense thought, “Hey, if we give one to everyone, then no one can ever blame us, and we don’t have to allow our brainless frontline staff to make any decisions at all. It’s a total win!”

That’s what I suspect, anyway. How about you?