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Blog: Financial Organizing Made Easy & Fun
Have You Seen a Short Register Receipt Lately?


As I child I remember intently watching from my grocery cart perch at the Hollywood market. I loved to watch as the register spewed out its long white streamer at the end of each shopping trip. It didn't take long for me to learn that the length of that tape was strangely connected to the amount of time it took to load the paper sacks into our wood paneled station wagon. In my young mind I had figured out one of the world's most complex relationships…. the longer the receipt tape the longer I'd be waiting on mom to load up the wagon.

It's now many years later and once again I find myself watch intently as those register receipts spew out. It's bad enough that my local grocery store flashes the running list of purchases on a monitor right before your eyes, but they now hand a lengthy streamer. My previous findings have now been debunked…. the length of register tape is long regardless of the amount you spend or the number items purchased! Even worse for me is that now I am the shopper who must manage to get that long, winding receipt into my bag. I can still here my mother's voice telling me to put away my receipt before I leave the store so I don't loose it! She never taught me how to cram a twenty four inch long receipt into my bag! Let me give you some examples from my trusty holiday shopping envelope… that disprove my earlier theory.


     Major Department Store: 2 Items Purchased => 14 inch receipt Shocked

     Electronics Store: 1 Item Purchased => 10 ½ inch receipt Confused

     Toy Store: 1 Item Purchased => 10 ¼ inch receipt Angry

So why are register receipts so darn long? Ahh! I've discovered the culprits on today's lengthy streamers. 

Culprit #1 - Every shop that seems to be taking a customer survey or running a contest that they must tell you about! Using words like, "your opinion counts" and "win a shopping spree" are endlessly littered at the bottom of many receipts. Ok, call me skeptically, but I've never met anyone who actually won a shopping spree for answers one of these surveys. Have you? Many retailers even go so far as to add a special user id and password for their website. Are they trying to trick us into thinking we're special or unique? I'm not fooled, and neither should you. I liken these survey tricks to their evil relatives, the free savings club memberships that retailers use to capture our buying habits and trends. Now they've invaded our register receipts.


Culprit #2 - Those irritating return and exchange policies and restrictions. As if the tiny little print, so small that only an ant can read it, first appeared on the back of receipts. Now that same information and tiny print has managed to jump its way around to the front. It's as if they are screaming something like, "Hey there idiot can't read the fine print on the back so we put on the front too!"


As an adult I seem to have lost my childhood fascination and amazement with register tape, along with my other amazements that I'll save for another time. In fact my emotions have actually turned to frustration and disgust! In recent months, as I try to be more "green" including trading in my plastic grocery sacks for reusable ones, it continues to irk me to watch those ridiculously long paper tapes spew out.


Got any creative ideas on how to combat these not so festive paper streamers? I'm all ears and waiting for you thoughts!

posted on: 12/18/2007 11:30:00 AM by Nanette Duffey
category: Finances

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Financial Organizing Made Easy & Fun

by Nanette Duffey

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About Nanette:

Nanette Duffey, owner of Organized Instincts, LLC provides professional organizing and money manager services to individuals, families, and small businesses. Before founding Organized Instincts in 2005, she held several finance roles at GE and earned a B.S., Financial Management, from Clemson University. Nanette has appeared in the media and regularly presents to a variety of civic and community organizations. Nanette currently serves as the Treasurer for the NAPO Georgia (National Association of Professional Organizers) chapter. Nanette loves to travel, football, photography, ballet, and learning to cook.

Nanette's Website:


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