What Goes Into A Foot-Long Toys R Us Receipt?

Toys R Us rewarded Greg’s purchase of a four-pack of Play-Doh with an 18-inch receipt. Greg tried to give the senseless printing an inch of meaning by breaking down the components of his massive receipt:

  • Exciting Sweepstakes Offer: 4.5 inches
  • Essential Purchase Details: 6.5 inches
  • Gift Receipt Section: 7.75 inches

Greg did not purchase the Play-Doh as a gift and did not need a half-foot gift receipt. Huge receipts are not endemic to Toys R Us—Home Depot and Kmart also print to excess—but do they have any use other than as shredder fodder?

Complete Receipt Defeat [An Entirely Other Day]
Image via Aeropause

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  1. gamabunta says:

    Let us not forget Circuit City and their toilet paper roll sized receipts. I bought 2 games last week and walked out with a 15 inch wad of paper. It’s bad enough the thermal paper fades within a month and you’re SOL if you want to do a return since the receipt is not readable. Give us a damn break!

  2. homerjay says:

    Every time I go to Home Depot, its a business expense. I end up just ripping off the stupid online contest part at the register and leaving it with the cashier. It takes up FAR too much room in my wallet since I go there so often. I’ve never once completed the survey or whatever it is.

    On the other hand, on the back of the Burger King receipt is the details of a survey where they give you a gree Whopper for completing it and filling in the ‘code.’ I do this every time I go to BK (which is only about once a month). It dosn’t take up any more room since its on the back and it gives me a guaranteed win.

  3. no.no.notorious says:

    i HATE toys r us. i worked there when i was 17, and the company is complete evil. they sell your name and number to telemarketers. they treat their employees like crap. they hate their customers. im never taking my kid there. i can get hot wheels someplace else.

  4. slapstick says:

    I’m all for less waste, but honestly, this time of year just printing the gift receipt with every purchase instead of asking and/or possibly forgetting probably saves quite a few people some hassle come January 1st.

  5. ColoradoShark says:

    From ebay, you can get 50 rolls of 220 foot long thermal paper for 50 bucks.
    That’s a dollar a roll.
    So each foot of paper costs 1/220 of a dollar.
    That’s about 0.5 cents. (not Verizon math, it is half a cent.)
    The submitter received a total of 0.75 cents worth of paper.
    Toys R Us probably considers cheap targeted advertising.

  6. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    All printed on self-destructing thermal paper, which, if kept in a wallet long enough, will cause all of the ink to eventually disappear. Who’s the Einstien who thought that up?

    Stores that give overly long receipts are obviously compensating for something.

    The first thing I do with any major purchase is scan the receipt into my computer. The other thing I’d like to know..how come when you go to any store, they can use their database to look up your credit history, the name of your first born child, and where you lived when you were 5 years old, but they can’t pull up an electronic record of when you bought that $2000 television?

  7. muckpond says:

    when the cashier hands me a receipt like that, i tear off the part that i need and hand the rest back. most of ‘em chuckle and are like “ok, got it.”

  8. chili_dog says:

    Let me guess. Right after everyone tears the receipt you all throw a conniption fit when the clerk asks to see it on the way out. Hahahahahahaha

  9. spenc938 says:

    18 inches? That’s nothing. I just checked my CC receipt from when I bought my Zune, and it is just a tad under 22″.

  10. Maulleigh says:

    It’s true. When I go to the CVS, the receipts I get clog up my wallet. Until I have to file them and then they clog up my files.

  11. route52 says:

    I’ve had Target print the gift receipt with EVERY purchase, even for toothpaste and dishwasher pellets, except ONCE – when I bought a Christmas present for my boyfriend’s sister/fiance and condoms on the same receipt. I couldn’t exactly give her the real receipt with “durex” on it as well… (: (ended up solving the problem by returning the original gift and getting a better one).

    I am super, super anal about receipts. I save them ALL. What I do is I stick them in my wallet, then weekly or so I take them out, take out my green grid-ruled budget notebook, do the necessary math to see where I am financially, then put the receipts in a mini plastic accordion folder. With the big ones, I just snip off the irrelevant portions.

  12. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Ahhh the neglected Toys ‘R’ Us. They should reinvest some of the money they waste on receipts to buy some non-rusty shopping carts, a fresh coat of paint, and some updated fixtures. I used to love the place as a kid in the 80s but they are very run down and dated looking now.

  13. wordsmithy says:

    My grocery store won’t give me a paper bag in order to save a tree, but it will give me a foot long receipt to buy a pack of gum–plus paper coupons for products I will never buy.

  14. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    I love those receipts: I shred and use them as stuffing for my gift baskets and padding for packages I ship. These stores are helping me save money.

  15. Hawk07 says:

    I bought peanut butter at Walgreen earlier today and I think the receipt was about a foot long.

  16. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    @no.no.notorious:
    I worked there when I was 18. My first job. Man do they treat you like crap. They expect you to watch every customers actions. A couple came into the “R” Zone with a cart and a box. What we didn’t know is the box was lined with aluminum foil, which at the time would block out the security signals. All of us were busy helping customers, but another customer saw then stuffing games into the box. They told management who caught the people. We got chewed out for it.

    Minimum wage, being “Part-time” classified but working 60 hours a week does not make for a happy employee. I only go there now if I cant find something elsewhere and I really want it. Overpriced and trashy. I don’t want to grow up but I sure as heck dont want to be a Toys R Us kid anymore.

  17. marsneedsrabbits says:

    On the plus side, our Sam’s club recently began printing on both sides of the receipt (sort of a “continued on other side” sort of thing), so my receipt for 10 items or so ends up being only about 4 inches long.

    All cash registers may not be able to do double-sided printing, but those which could, should.

  18. malarkey21 says:

    Our Ikea receipt was 52″ long (4′ 4″). Granted, we bought a lot of stuff, but for each item we bought the receipt also listed the supplier code (?) and the discount. Since it was a promotional discount off the entire purchase, it should have been at the bottom where the total was. These essentially doubled the size of the receipt from what it should have been. What a waste!
    See a photo of the receipt here: [www.flickr.com]

  19. bohemian says:

    I don’t like the Sams two sided receipts because you can’t just scan a copy of them, you have to scan or copy it twice.

    I bought a single item at JCPenney and had about 2 feet of receipt. The only upside is their survey automatically spits out a 15% off coupon for filling it out. So you can perpetually have 15% off.

  20. AmericaTheBrave says:

    Carey, you need some basic math skills. 18″ is not a foot. 7.75″ is not a half foot.

  21. joemono says:

    How much paper do these companies need to say where, when, and what? If Target can look up your purchases with the card you used, why do they need to give you a receipt at all? I can understand needing a receipt sometimes (expense reports), but why not only give a receipt if the person requests one? I don’t need proof that I bought some Mentos (not to mention a gift receipt for them as well).

  22. joemono says:

    “I bought a donut and the guy gave me a receipt for the donut. I don’t need a receipt for the donut, I give you the money, you give me the donut, end of transaction. We do not need to bring ink and paper into this. I can not imagine the scenario where I would have to prove that I bought a donut. Some skeptical friend. Don’t even act like I didn’t get that donut. I got the documentation right here.” – Mitch Hedberg

  23. magus_melchior says:

    @AmericaTheBrave: Yeah, but no one says “cubit-long receipt”…

  24. Bobg says:

    I purchased a night light last weekend from Lowes. The receipt for this one item was 12 1/2 inches long.

  25. BigNutty says:

    ROUTE52, will you do my books?

    I receive surveys on almost every receipt now. When I call, the lady on the recording is the same voice for many of the surveys for businesses that I frequently shop at.

  26. Bay State Darren says:

    Yay, environment!!! TЯU, don’t give us PR shit now about it being recycled paper, you’re still distributing bigger pieces of future litter.
    One question: doth this blogger have access to a scanner to show us his receipt?

  27. @AmericaTheBrave: You are right. It’s true, I can’t add. I don’t know what division is, but it sounds nice and I hope to someday travel there.

    “Foot-And-A-Half-Long” looked odd in the headline, and also would have been incorrect—the receipt is 18.75 inches long. 7.75 inches is not a half-foot, but it is close.

  28. laddibugg says:

    @malarkey21:
    I think they put the discount next to each item so you know EXACTLY what you’d get back if you returned something. Also, maybe the supplier code helps IKEA locate replacement parts if something is missing from one of the items you bought?

  29. XTC46 says:

    We give long receipts becasue they explain the return policy. They tried printing them on the back but customers still didnt see them and would complain. Now our cashiers are trained to circle the return period.

  30. Mo0 says:

    While I can’t comment on the contest portion (that may be something exclusive to the blogger’s area), it sounds to me like their receipt printer isn’t cutting the receipts like it should.

    Unless stores in other areas don’t have these, the ones at the store that I work at have a little cutter in there somewhere that cuts off the receipts, and also sections off the gift receipt(s). It’s neat, because it leaves a little sliver of the receipt left so it stays attached to the printer until the cashier pulls it off with minimal effort and minimal risk of a huge tear.

    It sounds like that little cutter isn’t working, and so that blogger got the receipt and gift receipt all at the same time. The registers are set up to automatically print out a gift receipt for EVERY PURCHASE, all year round. This is one of the many steps Toys R Us has put in to try to get the point across to people that they CANNOT RETURN THINGS WITHOUT A RECEIPT. Yes, we know it’s not a convenient policy, but to be honest, no one at the store level made that call and we all got really sick really quick of people coming in over a year after the policy came into effect (June 2006 has been burned into my brain) and DEMANDING that we take their return because they didn’t know about the new return policy when they bought the item 2 weeks ago.

    We have signs, we have notices on the front and back of the receipts, I think we even still have an automated announcement that runs once an hour over the intercom announcing the return policy. And without fail, we get at least once a week someone who SWEARS that they had no idea we changed the return policy.

    That’s really most of the reason the receipts are so long now. They’ve had to put a lot of redundancy on the receipt so we can point to multiple places on a receipt so we could say “No, you should have known this.”

    That contest thing does sound shady, though. I hope we never get that implemented at our store.

  31. m4nea says:

    I put through a sale at Best Buy the other day with a three foot long receipt.
    It was a computer & monitor package with a few 3 for 1 movies.
    It was a spectacle.

  32. chili_dog says:

    @joemono: Ha Hedburg rocks.

  33. XXX888XXX says:

    Attention Retards!, when did 18 inches equal a foot?

    lol god, As if anyone needed more proof that the editors at this site had an IQ somewhere around the level of mayonnaise.

  34. trollkiller says:

    @XXX888XXX: when did 18 inches equal a foot?
    The same day your 5 inches equaled 9 inches.

  35. mrstu says:

    Having worked as a cashier in the past, I may be able to explain the gift recipt part, at least. The thing is, the holidays are busy… cash registers have long lines already. Also, many customers are in a hurry, and many customers need gift recipts. However, being in a hurry, they often forget to ask for gift recipts. When you have constant lines of 10+ people at your register, you do NOT want to have to stop ringing people every five minutes to pull up the transaction of the lady who just came running back in the door so you can print her a gift recipt. Many cashiers at the store where I worked simply began printing gift recipts for ALL purchaces, or at least all those that could concivably be gifts, regardless of if the customer asked for one or not. It made things run MUCH MUCH smoother.

  36. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @trollkiller: I found your comment a little short :)

    Should I save a faded bb receipt for the next time they want me to show a receipt at the exit?

  37. drjayphd says:

    Think that’s bad, I bought a couple of Atari games at Goodwill yesterday. One item (they’re both under the same listing), over 11 inches of throbbing, engorged receipt. The actual receipt part’s not even two inches long; all that other space is the electronics return policy (which doesn’t apply anyways), hours, space to sign (even though this is my copy, not the store’s)… ugh.

    At least the other chain of Goodwill stores in the state gets it right, even if it’s two receipts (one from the register, the other from the CC machine).

  38. plim says:

    What’s worse is that Toys R Us will not allow returns *or* exchanges without a receipt. So if someone gives your kid a gift and forgets the gift receipt, you’re stuck.

    at least they programmed their registers to always give a gift receipt, but still. what a horrible policy.

  39. Anitra says:

    @socalrob: TRU was my first job, too. Worst place I’ve ever worked. The best part was the conflicting messages from corporate and from the local management.

    Corporate: “TRU is fun! Always be playing with a toy if you’re not busy! Don’t just tell a customer where to find a toy, bring them to the right area and help them find the toy they want. We are an equal opportunity employer; everyone who works here should be familiar with every job.”

    Management: “You’re a girl, you’ll be working the registers even though you asked to work the stockroom and assemble bikes. Ask everyone who comes by if you can help, but don’t EVER leave your register. Stop playing with that toy!”

  40. mopar_man says:

    My local K-Mart is doing the same thing. I bought 2 bottles of pop and nothing else. The receipt is at least 18″ long. I even sent a picture of it to Consumerist a few months ago.

  41. KJones says:

    And I thought it was bad when the back of the receipt roll was preprinted with ads, or two inches of ads were printed at the end of purchases.

  42. royal72 says:

    omg that’s horrible!!!! think of all the poor trees being killed, while your scouring the newspaper for christmas tree deals and wiping your ass with a half a roll of toilet paper… oh yeah and while on your lunch break today, don’t forget to pick up wrapping paper, gift boxes, holiday cards, and some more tp.

  43. RedSonSuperDave says:

    Having an unnecessary receipt actually saved my buddy’s carpet this weekend. While attempting to mod my 360 controller Saturday afternoon, like a complete dumbass, I used a razor-sharp SOG knife to do the necessary cutting. Of course, the knife slipped and I sliced my left index finger down to the bone. Fortunately I had an unnecessarily large receipt in my pocket from my recent purchase of Devil May Cry 4 at GameStop. I used it as a makeshift bandage to keep from dripping blood all over my buddy’s rug on the way to the bathroom.

    I always cursed those receipts, until I really needed them. True story.