Tree Killers

I think that if we wanted to wrap the world with receipt tape, we'd only need to buy a couple of loaves of bread and a gallon of milk for maybe a week. That ought to do it.

If we ever run out of firewood in this country, I am blaming America's retailers. Their receipts surely must be killing trees by the truckload.

Have you looked at receipts lately? I could decorate our Christmas tree with one trip to Target.

Receipts are getting longer by the day. In fact, receipts are about as long as the day is long.

At my local CVS, the spitting out of the receipt by the register is tantamount to a winner at a slot machine. It keeps going and going, to the point where I am expecting to hear sirens and bells go off, and a spotlight shine on me from the ceiling.

You think you're the store's lucky customer of the week, as the receipt flows out of the register and spills onto the floor until the clerk is covered in white paper from head to toe.

But alas, 95% of what is on the receipt is not of any use to me. It's filled with coupons I'll never use, offers that will never apply to me and information that has no consequence in my life. The other five percent is what I bought, at what price and on what date. That could come in handy, but even that info rarely does.

The receipts nowadays give the register number (I don't care), the cashier's name (don't care), the store number (don't care), the store's address (I already know where I bought my stuff, so don't need it), and the transaction number (don't care).

Once you've waded through all that, you are finally able to find some useful data, such as the items purchased, their prices, and the date and time.

But it's what comes after all this stuff that is making our forests endangered.

Coupons. More coupons. Solicitations to take surveys. Ads.

The receipt is so long that the cashier has to fold it into layers, like ribboned candy, just to fit it into the bag. I think some receipts have weighed more than the items I've purchased.

Now, I know some of this data that is useless to me is helpful to the retailer. Right?

Sweetie, I feel your pain (one gallon of milk=3 feet worth of receipt!)

But maybe it doesn't really matter that Steve, who is cashier #0981353, using register #04, rang me up under transaction #6458 at store #8019, for a Snickers bar.

The above numerical data, I pulled directly from a recent CVS receipt that I managed to stuff into my wallet without needing a new wallet---or a valise.

I guess retailers, Lord knows why, need those indicators on their receipts. I really won't get on their case too much for that.

It's the add-ons to the receipt that bug me. The stuff that turns a receipt into a length of sash that could be cut up and used for all 50 contestants at a Miss America pageant.

Of course, these days, you can't buy a taco without being begged and pleaded with to fill out a survey.

Too bad one of the questions isn't, "Are our receipts too long?"

America's retailers have turned into serial killers of trees. I am thinking that it won't be much longer before your receipt at the grocery store will reach from the cash register to your car.

K-Mart asks you if you want your receipt e-mailed to you. Seriously. At this rate, I'm afraid that if I say yes, the memory on my hard drive will run out during the download.


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