Receipts, Receipts, and Receipts
I have a wicker basket that holds about 200 receipts and this includes store and restaurant receipts. I sometimes dump my proof of sale into the basket after shopping and worry about organizing later. As more receipts are added to the basket, typically the newest ones are on top.
Sometimes, before the receipts are added to my collection, they are kept in my wallet, stretched out like dollar bills and hidden behind my cash. Therefore, when my wallet is emptied, I’ll fold my receipts and place them in that basket for possible future reference. If my intuition tells me I may have been overcharged, I’ll review the prices. However, I’ll typically do that in the store as I have mentally added up a rough estimate of the cost so if the total is a deviation, it’s best to catch it before leaving the store.
Some of the receipts I’ll find on top include Home Depot, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Ace Hardware, Target, Walgreens, Marianos, etc.. I don’t even know if all of these stores require receipts when returning items. Needless to say, it’s a good habit to get into to avoid any surprises if something has to be returned.
If indeed I attempt to return something, I’ll look for the sales purchase before leaving. Considering my retail habits, if I’m going to return something, it will be done within 1-2 months of the actual sale. I rarely need to hunt for a receipt a year old for two reasons. First, I don’t know if it’s returnable after a considerable period and second, I usually know within a few uses of an item whether or not it will become a permanent part of my consumer existence.
It’s June of ’17 so I don’t know why I may have receipts from ’15 or ’16. Should they be recycled? Burned? To validate my purchase, I’ll ask for one even if I don’t need one. I’m sometimes curious how they’re laid out and designed. Because I shop in different states and counties around my area, I’m sometimes interested to see if the tax on duct tape is the same in Wisconsin or Illinois or between Lake County and the high tax rate of Cook County (where Chicago resides). One side note, some say the Indian word Chicago actually means high taxes.
I’ll also review if the address and phone number are included. Date properly placed. Just like to check these things out so I typically will ask for one if one is not offered to me. BTW, I’d love the Walgreen policy to apply to all stores. You know, if they don’t offer you a receipt after purchase, they’re on the hook for something…It’s nice to be asked, you can always say no.
That dress-up holiday at the end of October has come and gone so if I wanted to take back that Halloween candy purchased weeks before, that ethicist voice in my head tells me otherwise. One might also say because it’s candy, it might still be editable purchased 9 months ago.
Going through the receipts, I’m amazed at how many purchases I’ve made over time. You can review your credit card for consumer related purchases; however, seeing all things items listed individually helps drive home all those expenses made in the recent past. It’s interesting too to see some of those restaurants you visited but forgot the name but maybe not the experience. It’s fascinating to see the price disparity between restaurants. Some urban, trendy and pricey and others very low budget. If you reviewed my restaurant receipts, you’d probably see a consistency level of gratuity. It’s an anomaly if I tip less than 15% unless the experience started out as bad and after feedback, continues to be bad. That might warrant a 10% tip. Having said that, it’s probably an anomaly if I tip more than 20%. Usually in the range of 15-20%, which I think, is fair although some servers over the years might have a difference of opinion.
I’m digressing but have one more comment about gratuity. At some restaurants, we’re offered to have a drink at the bar and if an unfamiliar restaurant, we don’t know the prices, it’s loud and sometimes dark, and not getting a receipt or price list doesn’t help prepare me for the amount of tip to give. My mental calculator doesn’t always work so if I knew a minute or even 15 seconds before getting our drinks, I might be more accurate at tipping. If a sign appears saying a Samuel Adams and Margarita is $15, I would know giving $2 would be a fine tip.
Getting back to receipts, it’s nice they include the stores’ telephone number, address, name, etc. The date is the critical piece. I’d like to know when I purchased my Greek yogurt from Costco or the date my tofu was purchased at Trader Joe’s. The date needs to be included and easily visible, preferably at the top of the receipt for quick reference. If it’s not on top of the receipt, I may have to search up and down to get the purchase date. Not a big deal but inconvenient nonetheless.
For example, if one has ever purchased 20 or more items at Costco, they produce a long receipt, maybe longer than necessary and if you’re just studying it for the first time, the date is not easily identified. You’ll have to search all the way to the bottom before locating it. I would prefer it being on the top for easy access but I guess even though Costco does so many things right, I guess the fact they are an outlier when it comes to where the date is located.
To me, a receipt is a snapshot of my behavior at a restaurant or store. It may remind me of my spending habits from a time a year or two ago. I can also get a good idea which local restaurants I frequent the most and if my culinary habits are similar or dissimilar from the past visits. I also appreciate restaurant receipts that include the basic gratuity calculations. I’m proficient with making that determination without a calculator, however, after consuming a few drinks, it’s nice to have that confirmation.
Receipts, Receipts, and Receipts