Everyone knows how contemporary cash register looks like. It’s a beast with tiny monochrome screen, full size computer keyboard with credit card reader and printer, that spits out couple of yards of specially crafted cash register paper anytime you go and buy a bag of groceries. God forbid you enter Staples/BestBuy/CompUSA – those will just sink you in a cash register tape. People who man registers look to me like machine gunners of World War II, constantly reloading their things as they run out of ammo. All the registers in the store are tied into a network that stores orders, customer information, any promotions I used ever since the store opened and so on.
Why am I still getting two yards of paper with purchase? Just so the nervously shaking guy with a pen can scribe something on it when I exit the store? Oh, wait, in case I want to exchange something – I need to bring the merchandise and the receipt. No exchange without the receipt. They know where I live, they know which credit card I used, they know my home and work phone numbers, they have a history of my purchases since the Big Bang, they even have the whole process on camera (now there’s cameras everywhere, especially pointing at the cash registers) but they still need those two yards of paper back when I bring back the merchandise. Why?
With so much recording going on, I don’t need to be handed the paper at all. Or at least – don’t have to keep it around. Sure, there’s a need for store security to check on how many items I am carrying out of the store, but that doesn’t require using that much paper. And for return – I should be able to conduct returns/exchanges using the credit card that I purchased the items with. Obviously, people who pay cash should get the full-blown receipt anyhow, but for regular folks who don’t suffer from paranoia and prefer convenience – we shouldn’t be suffering from receipts collection disorder.