Save the Trees

Save the trees

Retailers, Please Save the Trees!

Doesn’t anyone think about saving trees anymore? There was a time when everyone and their dog wanted to save the trees. Don’t print anything, they said. Don’t ever cut down a tree, they said. Plant saplings whenever and wherever you can, they said.

Well, I have a suggestion that I believe will save millions of trees by just making a simple decision to stop an absolutely insane practice that is going on in some retail stores. In fairness, it must be said that some retailers are not offering options so you don’t have to take a printed receipt or any receipt at all.

Anyway, here is a suggestion that will definitely help to save the trees!

Stop printing multi-purpose receipts!

Really, the purpose of a receipt is to provide an official record of a purchase, to the purchaser, so they can use the receipt for refunds, exchanges, tax purposes, etc. if needed.

Some retailers think they’ve got to try and cram as much information as possible onto the piece of paper that will be handed to the customer when they make a purchase.

For some reason, they think they are doing some great advertising with that. That is why they are adding more and more without even considering what they are doing.

Let me say this: The bloom is off the rose for that! People do not want all that paper with, largely, useless information on it.

It will go into the garbage or, hopefully, the recycle bin. Although, the latter is unlikely due to privacy concerns.

The upside for some…

I know, without a doubt, that POS printer paper suppliers are having a field day. It is ludicrous the amount of paper being sent home with customers these days!

During the holidays and the January discounting craze, I did a lot of shopping. Not that anyone really needs an occasion or event…sometimes they just want to shop.

As I went to store after store, I realized I was accumulating quite the little pile of paper but the ridiculousness of it didn’t hit me until I made a purchase of a child’s wooden toy from a very environmentally friendly store.

The associate said “May I have your email address to email you a record of your purchase? We are a paperless operation.” I gave her my email address.

Finished. Great solution to a paper problem.

I would have a record of the purchase and could print it if it became necessary.

Contrast that with the stores that give you so much paper you can’t help but chuckle.

Without exaggeration, I purchased six items from a store and walked out with a receipt that was 22” long. It was printed front and back.

The cashier had down time while she waited for the receipt to finish printing.

Even though it was fast enough that it sounded like a jet taking off, it still held her up for several seconds.

In a high-volume store, that is not acceptable because every second counts toward customer wait times.

On this particular receipt, there was advertising and promotional information bordered with double rows of bolded asterisks, the return & exchange policy, instructions directing you to an on-line survey and the number you were supposed to enter and the prize you could possibly win and, finally, the stuff that counts…the product descriptions and prices of the items I purchased along with MOP info and all of the other information that you would expect like Store #, Transaction ID, etc.

These crazy things sometimes happen just because the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

Usually, that’s because the individual coming up with the procedure isn’t all that familiar with what is actually going on in the stores.

Stop and think about your policies, procedures and practices and realize that there is probably a better way.

In the event that you are one of those retailers using up too much paper, ink and printing time, here is what we recommend:

  1. Transition to a variable system – one which uses paper, or not, based on the customer’s preference.
  2. Examine your receipt and determine what must stay and what can go.
  3. For paper receipts, print the minimum amount of information required, not desired.
  4. For electronic receipts, include the minimum requirements as above. Then, add a reasonable amount of advertising or promotion.
  5. Do not incorporate any color into your electronic receipts. Even though a customer could print only in black and white if desired, that requires the customer to do something that they shouldn’t have to remember to do. If, and when, the customer needs to print the receipt it should use a small amount of black ink and it should not require more than one page. No thick borders or rows of asterisks!

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