Becky and I went out the other night for ice cream. We got our cones, paid the lady, and then were handed our receipt. It was roughly 37 miles (59.5 km) long*. Sure, we like ice cream, but we didn’t order a cone for everyone on earth, nor did we ask to have our cones itemized by the molecule. That was a receipt for two cones.
Why did the cones come with enough paper to choke a mule**? Well, for one thing, there of course needed to be information and instructions on taking a quality survey. There’s a lot of that going around lately. Without the survey, the receipt was still pretty long. But the main question is, why did we need a receipt in the first place?
Mitch Hedburg has something to say about this:
Some places are kind enough to ask, “Do you want your receipt?” but if you say no, all they do is throw it away for you. It still prints out. We still wasted the resources on something that was immediately thrown away.
The record-holder on long-ass receipts is still Circuit City. You could hand-write War and Peace on the back of a receipt for a CD spindle. Buy two spindles and you can do it in morse code. I understand that with electronic equipment you need a receipt in case the thing is defective but how long does it really need to be?
And couldn’t we have a sort of agreement that if we’re paying cash for something and it’s less than ten bucks, we don’t need to document it? Especially if it’s something that will be poo or wee in a few hours?
* – A little over 651 football fields.
** – Thanks, Mom!