Buy A $3.50 Hat, Get A Mile-Long Receipt For Free

When Eric bought a hat at Sears, the receipt printer unspooled in the manner of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of one’s shoe. Included along with the record of his transaction was a customer service survey and several pointless coupons.

Eric describes:

I bought a Joe Boxer stocking hat at Sears earlier today on clearance for a whopping $3.50. I received more in receipts that I received in product. Seriously, all of this paper for 1 purchase? The receipts are over three feet long!

The print outs included the following:

1) Standard receipt plus information about a customer service survey.

2) Take $40 off treadmills coupon.

3) $10 off fine jewelery.

4) $10 off any oil change service.

What retailers do you find give you the most needlessly long receipts?


Edit Your Comment

  1. Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

    Attack the RP for shopping at Sears in 3……2…….1

    • tbax929 says:

      I still shop at Sears. And Walmart. And Best Buy. I even occasionally shop at K-Mart. I don’t think most of us decide where to shop based on what some anonymous commenters make on a website.

      You’re always going to have the asshats who make the “that’s what you get for shopping at such-and-such” comment, but I think most of us really don’t begrudge people for where they choose to shop. It’s just that the asshat comments stick in your mind more than the rest.

      • Azzizzi says:

        I shop at all those places, too, except K-mart, but there isn’t one near me.

        I also shop at Game Stop.

        • MeowMaximus says:

          I don’t shop at those places, because either I, or people I know have all had poor experiences dealing with them. There are always exceptions to the rule. If you have never had any issues with these retailers – good – I am glad for you.

          I just hope you DON’T find your self posting here on Consumerist about some issue you have had with them someday.

          • 12345678nine says:

            Who says they never had a problem with them? Why can they not complain if they DO have a problem with them?
            If I have a problem with every store around me, I am eventually going to starve and be nakey. I havbe a problem with waste from ordering everything online for delivery.

            • darcmosch says:

              +1 for nakey. I LOL’d at that

            • MeowMaximus says:

              When I speak of “having a problem with a retailer”, I suppose I should have been more clear and said “Having the retailer screw you over because of incompetence or indifference, and putting you you through customer service hell.”

              Everyone makes mistakes. The mark of a good retailer is when they do a good job handling those mistakes. To do so well, takes a combination of policy and investing enough in pay & training of their employees to make them care about their jobs.

              It’s been my experience with K-Mart, Sears, Best Buy, and some others that by and large they don’t do these things. Certainly there are exceptions where the local management team has stepped up to the plate and tried to make things work in their stores – and if your local store is one of those, good!

              But if I am in need of buying something that might be sold by one of those stores above, I wouldn’t take the risk of giving them my business. Experience has shown me I am likely to be disappointed.

              OTOH, if I am visiting your town and you tell me that, for example, the local Sears is a good place to do business, I would likely give that store a shot.

              When I said that I hope that “I just hope you DON’T find your self posting here on Consumerist about some issue you have had with them someday”, I meant that I hoped that they would continue to have a good experience with those stores.

              If they have a bad experience then please DO post here, and let us know. Hell, post the good stories too – and let us know about those places so we CAN patronize them, and maybe encourage upper management to take notice and realize that good customer service pays off in increased sales.

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          I shopped at GameStop this Christmas. After looking for a DS on black friday – only to find them sold out everywhere – I went to Gamestop where they had refurbs at a decent price. When I got home, the one I had had a flaky button, so I exchanged it for another, with less wear, and since they were offering a ONE YEAR warranty instead of the 90 day on my original, I have a nice DS, at a good price, with a one year warranty.

          And they never once asked me about their loyalty card. The manager at my local GameStop is awesome!

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          I might have hoped that K-Mart might have spruced itself up a bit after the merger with Sears. No. Too much to ask. Now it’s the same old K-Mart with Craftsman lawn mowers and power tools in it. Ours is like walking into a retail time machine to about 1960 when you go there.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      Well, Kenmore appliances are at or near the top of Consumer Reports’ recommended lists. That’s what keeps me going there. Long-ass receipts printed on non-recyclable thermal paper? Not so much.

  2. Opdelt says:

    I hate it when I purchase groceries to the tune of $300-400, and I get a really long itemized receipt! I know my pizza was 3 for $10 . . . that’s why I put them in the cart (now in my belly)!

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      Hm. I like my receipts itemized.

      • FatLynn says:

        I agree. I am poor enough these days to check and be sure that everything rang up at the price tagged in the aisle.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        I know, right? Sometimes they chage me $15 for those pizzas that were SUPPOSED to be 3 for $10, and it’s nice to have an itemized reciept for that when I need to trudge over to the service desk to get the error fixed.

        BTW, $300 -$400 in groceries, WTF? I have a family of 5, and it doesn’t come anywhere near that. Must be buying lots of frozen Pizzas.

        • Rebecca K-S says:

          Exactly. Even the best managed grocery store screws up pricing sometimes, and you have to watch out for it.

          I can see $300 for a stocking-up grocery trip. I’ve occasionally spent over $100 for just myself on big trips, and I really don’t eat much in the way of processed or high-priced foods (except for avocados).

        • Southern says:

          Guess it would depend on how long those groceries last ’em.. I just went the other day and spent $150, those will last about 2 weeks or so, not taking into account the 3-4 runs I’ll probably also have to make because someone forgot to put something on the list, or, “We’re out of milk” type stuff. :-)

          Keep in mind, too, that “eating healthy” costs a LOT more than buying pre-packaged foods.. So if someone is buying (healthy) items to cook on an almost nightly basis, it’s way more expensive than just throwing a few 99¢ pizzas in the toaster oven. :)

          • TouchMyMonkey says:

            Really? It depends on whether you’re shopping at the organic hippie food section of your supermarket, or the ordinary produce section. If you eat more fresh produce (in season), and less fake “organic” crap, you’ll find that your grocery bills drop precipitously.

            • jesirose says:

              Even conventional produce and fresh meat runs more expensive than processed, packaged food. We don’t eat any processed food any more, and we’re totally against organic. So we only eat conventional produce/meat, etc, and we only shop on the “outside” of the store where everything is fresh. It STILL costs more to buy this then to buy unhealthy totally processed foods. Even if you’re doing 50/50, it’s still more expensive to buy healthy food than unhealthy.

        • EFGearman says:

          Ages ago, when I worked at a grocery store, it wasn’t uncommon (on order of at least twice a week) for a family (obviously different ones) to come through with two fully packed carts. They did shopping once a month and it was the unlucky cashier who had to ring all that stuff up.

          • Southern says:

            In out Air Force commissary, we’d see that kind of thing ALL the time.. Probably because many of those families (retired, usually) had to drive 50+ miles just to get there, so they would do all their shopping for the month.. It wasn’t uncommon to see 2, even 3 baskets full of groceries for the same person in the checkout line.

            Sometimes, if they were doing all the shopping alone, they’d have to bring one full cart up to the front, leave it somewhere like near the customer service counter, then go get another cart and go fill IT up.

            You don’t see that sort of thing often in the local grocery stores, but in the commissary it’s VERY frequent.

            • TouchMyMonkey says:

              Especially on military payday. I used to see lines at the Fort Drum Commissary (DeCA – same organization) that snakes around to the back of the store on those certain days of the month.

              Retirees know all about this, and plan their trips for about a week after payday, when all the active duty people are broke.

              And it’s 85 miles for me. I make probably four or five of these trips a year to fill my freezer with steak. And DeCA steak is pretty good, and cheap.

              • Kate says:

                Have commissaries changed in the last 10 years? I used to use them back when I was married to an air force sargent and when the Food for Less opened, they weren’t such a good deal anymore in comparison. It looked to me like they lost at least 1/3 of their customers at that point.

          • wrjohnston91283 says:

            I actually liked having one customer who had $300 worth of stuff than 30 customers with $10 worth of stuff. It’s actually less work (since you don’t need to deal with 30 people paying, and its almost zero effort to swipe items across the scanner. Now, if I didn’t have a bagger assisting with a huge order, that would a different issue, since I would need to stop scanning every minute to bag.

        • shepd says:

          I guess it depends on where you are. I filled a cart 3/4 full of smaller groceries (lots of cans) and paid $250 for it ($CDN). Of course, when I went grocery shopping in Buffalo, I bought $300 in groceries and almost filled every square inch of the car.

          If it helps in comparison, the “rollback” price on Mac and Cheese (Kraft Dinner) is $1.47 a box here, and milk is $4.17 for a little bit more than a gallon (4 L). Soup sells at $1 a can for an average sale, eggs $2 a dozen, bread $2 a loaf.

          • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

            and you can thank marketing boards/farmer quotas for the eggs being $2.50 a dozen and the milk close to $5/4L. But at least our milk come in bags. That’ll throw a Yank for a loop, won’t it?

    • Dan T. says:

      You put the pizzas in your belly, or the receipt? Which was tastier?

  3. EFGearman says:

    Grocery store, definitely. And extra half foot of receipt telling me things I don’t care about isn’t really helpful.

    • yevarechecha says:

      This. Ack. There’s one huge receipt that’s about 18″ long and then a second one that pops out after that, plus a pile of coupons that I suppose are “targeted” but are invariably for items I do not and will not purchase, coupon or otherwise. I don’t buy things just because they’re on sale. That’s how you wind up with a lot of useless junk, and I’m a picky eater, so if I don’t really want something, it’s not getting consumed no matter how great a deal it was. And 2 feet of receipts for $45 in groceries is ridiculous.

  4. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    Mst b slw nws dy.

    H!H! ts pr-dsmmvwld!

    • qbubbles says:

      Ha. It is a slow news day. Gonna disemvowel this, too?

      • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

        I used to defend the Consumerist about this sort of stuff, but then they went and did the very silly thing of deleting a post that garnered a lot of critical comments. A post where I actually sat there and defended them. I don’t think I can quite forgive them for making me feel so stupid.

      • shepd says:

        Shy gypsy slyly spryly tryst by my crypt.

        I couldn’t help myself.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          When actually disemvoweled, they remove the ‘y’ as well.

          In this case, ParingKnife’s comment is actually accurate. Only Phil seems to be producing Consumerist material, and I’m sure the NY staff is on holiday. So it is indeed a slow news day.

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

            That was my suggestion, because it used to only be a,e,i,o,u and I said that removing the Y makes it even harder to read the post.

    • MaliBoo Radley says:

      Mist bo slew naws day.

      Ho!Ho! tis pre-dosimmevowerld!

  5. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Smith’s markets, (AKA Kroger) gives me an epic reciept with my transaction, bonus points, gas points, and a bunch of coupons on the back that are never for anything I would use, along with several separate coupons (I think couponers refer to them as “Catalinas”) that I only rarely use.

    • PLATTWORX says:

      Stop & Shop in our area does the same thing. The Catalina coupons normally sit there at the self checkouts showing how little people care about them. Not only that, it prints out a second receipt after the first confirming your payment if you use a debit or credit card. “Conserve paper” doesn’t seem to even cross the minds of those designing these checkout systems.

  6. Thorzdad says:

    Our local Meijer is good for this. A couple of feet of extra coupons, store info, etc. etc. with every purchase.

  7. Dan T. says:

    What’s the deal with surveys these days? Companies of all sorts seem to be absolutely obsessed with them. Practically every sales receipt from a store or restaurant asks you to complete a survey, and lots of websites pop up annoying boxes covering up the content to try to get you to fill out a survey there too.

    • tbax929 says:

      Why did I hear Jerry Seinfeld in my head when I started reading your post? LOL

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Lots of times the surveys are just a way to try to trick you into signing up for something like e-mail to get “coupons for great deals” or some such crap. I seriously doubt that they pay any attention at all to any survey information relative to your shopping experience.

      I get the “please fill in survey” from Staples most every time I shop there. One time my experience was terrible due to a cashier who rang up an item twice and when I pointed it out she couldn’t figure out how to correct it. I filled in the survey and gave them the lowest marks possible and explained why, but they never called me to comment.

      • Azzizzi says:

        I get the Staples guys trying to get me to give them my “Reward” information when I buy things. I stopped trying when I realized I rarely get “points.”

      • PLATTWORX says:

        Reminds me of the horrid “” You can’t visit a popular website (, without the stupid “We value your opinion” Foresee box popping up in the middle of your shopping. I’d love to know the tiny percentage of customers who says “Wow, a survey when I am trying to shop. Sure, let me stop what I am doing and fill it out!” Ya, right.

        • Southern says:

          No kidding.. I’m sure they’d get a MUCH higher response rate if they were to offer the survey during the checkout process along with a note of something like, “Would you like to earn 1-2% off this purchase by taking a short survey?”

          Heck, *I’D* probably fill out those, if I knew it was going to help me right then with a purchase, even though it’s a small discount.

          They’re probably worried about people just typing in anything as answers, like “ijkh2q35jkgh435”, just to get the discount, though.

    • Xerloq says:

      How else are huge, heartless corporations supposed to find out what consumers really want? I mean we fault them for not listening, crummy business practices, etc., then when they try to be proactive, we fault them again? It’s an opportunity for you to tell them what you think!

      True you have to watch out for signing up for junk, but i’m sure most surveys are used to try to 1) justify what the store is doing or 2) improve the service at the store.

    • El_Fez says:

      I just LOVE getting stores in trouble by giving them Average ratings, something where the store gets all threes out of five. The service wasnt outstanding, the service didnt suck – it was middle of the road, functional, in-and-out and we’re done.

      But corporations dont get the idea that 3=just fine. “We’ve failed somehow! Why were we average?” I’d always get as a followup question. No, you didn’t fail, you just didn’t blow my socks off either. That’s what “average” means.

  8. TooManyHobbies says:

    Lowes. I’ve not seen a receipt shorter than about 14 inches even when I go in and buy one thing.

    I stand there and rip off the useless junk and hand it back to the cashier.

    • tbax929 says:

      Do you blame the cashier for the store’s long-ass receipt? Giving him or her your trash sounds a little jerky to me.

      • Xerloq says:

        Move the hyphen one word to the right, and your comment is much funnier.

        I’d hand it to the cashier because they have a trash can at the register and it’s nicer than throwing it on the floor. Bonus: the cashier may tell a manager what happened. Then you’ve effected change! Woot!

    • sparrowmint says:

      I guess it’s appropriate that this happens in Lowes since you can be sure the cashier then thinks you’re a massive tool.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Because it’s the cashier’s fault, right? Most stores have trash cans conveniently located near entries and exits. You could try using those instead of being a jerk and making someone’s day harder to get your kicks.

    • watchwhathappens says:

      …where it gets tossed into the trash. None of these places seem to recycle or care to. I take them home and do just that.

  9. Liam Kinkaid says:

    While I agree with thee,
    I takest thou to task,
    Thy hyperbole:
    A mile long receipt,
    I swearest to God,
    Is not quite the same,
    As one scant a fifth of a rod.

  10. macoan says:

    Love Sam’s Club – their receipt is printed on both sides…. so it’s 1/2 as long.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      ?? That must be a local thing. I’ve definitely never seen it, but it’s a smart idea. I wonder if the ink rubs off faster though

      • Southern says:

        They’re slowly rolling it out in their stores, including Wal-Mart. Of the 6 stores in my area (Sams & Wal-Marts), about 50% of them have the new receipt printers that print on both sides.

      • Nighthawke says:

        Thermal printing, uses no ink, only specially coated papers. Make copies of those the minute you have the opportunity and keep them in envelopes. The print fades faster than the novelty of your new purchase wears off.

        The double sided business must be a new process. NCR’s pushing new printers that do that, but the paper supplies for it cost more than the normal single sided rolls, naturally. I guess walmart decided that it was worth the benefits.

      • macoan says:

        Here is a picture I took over a year ago:

        I actually took it and submitted it to here for a story (since there are always “bad” stories about long receipts) … but I guess they don’t like to have too many POSITIVE stories on this site, so they never ran with it.

        • RiverStyX says:

          I dont understand what’s positive. The entire back of the receipt is an offer for a survey, a barcode that means nothing, how many items you bought (in a font 10 times the normal size), and an advertisement to upgrade to a “Plus Membership” with the offer that you Could save 15-20% more. Which means nothing.

          That’s probably why your story was skipped over.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        This is not what my local Sam’s does.

  11. Kibit says:

    This must be a slow news day. No mention on here anywhere that Verizon discontinued their New Every 2 program on January 16, but we do get to see pictures of long receipts. I’m thinking Verizon discontinuing one of their most popular programs would be a bigger consumer issue.

  12. spartie says:

    Rite-Aid gave me a 10″ reciept for a single candy bar purchase

  13. Rube Goldberg says:

    The Post Office is pretty bad. Sending one item should not result in a receipt that won’t fit in your wallet without folding. I’d be curious how much money could be saved by printing out more reasonably sized receipts.

    • Xerloq says:

      This isn’t the place to ask silly questions!

      I agree, however, that if it costs more than 1 oz. first class postage to mail a receipt for a stamp, something is wrong.

  14. digizen says:

    Fred Meyers does the same thing – survey, store club status, extra coupon, extra promotions, plus another couple of manufacturers’ coupons from the separate coupon printer…

  15. stevied says:

    assuming 12″ tiles the receipt is 3.5′ (give or take).

    No where the 1 mile as claimed by Phil in the sensational title.

  16. whimmel says:

    I find that the length of the receipt is inversely proportional to the amount of the purchase.

  17. PLATTWORX says:

    You know, in this age of being green, CVS got alot of flack for their endless receipts. Did they short them, NO. Instead, Rite Aid installed new registers that do the same thing and now I see Sears is doing it.

    The crazy part is when I have a store card that clearly shows me as male and I get useless CVS coupons for cosmetics, etc. Hello?? Waste. Waste. Waste.

  18. marxmith says:

    I work at Sears and I agree it’s ridiculous that they print out receipts this long. The only ones of any regular value are the oil change coupons the others are just wishful thinking. However concerning the surveys. They go directly back to the store about two days after they are completed and everyone in the store can read them and find out what’s going on in their departments. We have a weekly morning meeting about the surveys and what was good and bad then the managers have coaching with those that performed poorly. But on the bright side, if it’s an issue that you give enough information about and are clear on it will get sent up to the district managers and change will happen when enough people comment about a particular situation. So don’t think they are to get you to sign up for crap emails. A lot of times the associates will point out things for people to talk about in their surveys so the store will recognize it and fix it. So if you feel like being a good Samaritan and helping your friendly associates out as well as giving yourself a better shopping experience then ask the worker things that they would like to see changed. Since when the employees comment about stuff no one cares but when the customers complain it’s suddenly an issue that needs addressed.

    And in all honesty, complaining on a survey will get your voice heard more so than complaining to a manager about something. Since it’s in writing where everyone in the store and district can see it and reference to it on a survey.

  19. marxmith says:

    Oh and also Sears has started a new program where you can have your receipt emailed to as well as printed off with the expectation of getting rid of receipts unless the customer specifically asks for one to be printed, so hopefully this catches on. Although I’m curious as to how this will effect loss-prevention in the stores.

  20. ap0 says:

    I almost never shop at Wal-Mart, but the last time I did I noticed they printed their receipt on both sides. I actually thought that was pretty cool.

  21. Christopher Wilson says:

    I load coupons to my shopping card at shop rite and every time I go it wastes so much paper printing a list of every one of them. I know whats on my card and if I didn’t I’d check online, I’m not going to try and decipher that list.

    On a side note, I was surprised last time I was in sears they took an idea from apple and ruined it. If you use their rewards card it asks if you want a copy of your receipt emailed to you… yet it still prints out a copy in addition to emailing it.

  22. kmw2 says:

    I routinely get a foot or more of receipt from CVS, even if all I’m buying is a can of Coke.

  23. u1itn0w2day says:

    So much for target marketing or lack there of. A person who buys a hat might buy-MORE CLOTHES. But where is the leap from a three dollar and fifty cent hat to a 500$ treadmill?

  24. DanKelley98 says:

    I really don’t see the problem here.

  25. Outrun1986 says:

    Sears has been doing this for at least a couple years now, every time I shop there I usually get 3 receipts, one long one, and like 2 short ones with pointless coupons on them. As someone else posted if I am buying something in electronics I usually get a coupon for something totally unrelated, like shoes. It would make more sense to give a related coupon, which might actually get me to return to the store.

    Walmart and Target give the shortest receipts, amazingly neither store has pointless rewards programs which just generate grief and hassle for the consumer, and they don’t have increasing prices to offset the cost of starting a rewards program. Though Target’s prices are pretty high here and they no longer seem to do mass clearance like they used to which makes me less likely to shop there.

  26. jeepguy57 says:

    What’s worse is most of that receipt paper is loaded with BPA.

  27. stormbird says:

    I just bought $8.11 worth of stuff at Dollar General and have a two-foot receipt that took about thirty seconds to cram in my pocket. Survey and Direct TV and coupon for Saturday sale * and prepaid phone coupon with pic.

    *on nothing you want

    • VeraVioletta says:

      I was waiting for someone to mention Dollar General. I work there and I apologize all day long for the huge receipts, it’s ridiculous. I have to change my receipt paper 3+ times a day where I used to change it every other day. Although, the $5 coupon is the only reasonable part of the whole thing in my opinion.

  28. rahntwo says:

    Not really a retailer but the present administration has given us a receipt which is probably decades or centuries long. How the hell do we collect on THOSE coupons?

  29. JoJack82 says:

    Maybe it was buy a Roll of receipt paper and get a free hat

  30. Traveller says:

    When I worked at Sears, all I could think about was the wasted paper for coupons that nobody bothered to use.

    In twenty-five years, Sears is the only job I actively sought to get fired from. That was in 2009, and while I still have no job, I’m a hell of a lot happier. So, what does that tell you about working for Sears, much less shopping there?

    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      Heh heh, I got fired from Sears, too. It was years, but we’re still in the same club, bro.


      I was a kid and it was a stupid mistake, but whatever. Occasionally I will go into a Sears nowadays and go, Whoa, what a craphole. Ha ha!

  31. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    I personally think Best Buy/Future Shop are the worst offenders up here for super long receipts. When I bought my last iPod touch at Best Buy (and yes, that was the only thing I bought from them that day,) the receipt must have been literally 4 feet long — most of it full of the minutiae of their return policy, along with the standard “take our survey for a chance to win a $1,000 Best Buy card!” crap. Can’t you post that on a sign somewhere? Good thing receipt checkers are rare up here–imagine having to whip that thing out upon being asked!

  32. dew_crew says:

    they have the ability to turn those receipts off. i dont think people actually use them.. why they waste the paper, on any purchase AND if you make a payment, i do not know.

  33. Vivienne says:

    Slow news day? If this is seriously a problem for you, you lead a pretty charmed life.

  34. apbailey says:

    I wish more companies followed Apple’s lead and emailed you a receipt.

  35. Chip Skylark of Space says:

    …and remember that the paper used for the receipt has the BPA in it, so it will lower the sperm count of the male population (god knows what it does to the rest of us). God love America, eh?

  36. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Kum and Go gives me a long one when I buy a Sunday paper. If I pay in cash I refuse it.

  37. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I can’t believe no one’s said this:

    I make my own hats at home. (Usually with Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice yarn.)

  38. Red Cat Linux says:

    I bought a package of wrist straps for a cell phone or other small electronic devices like pocket cameras, or USB thumb drives.

    It cost under $4.00.

    I was asked for my name, phone number (declined both) and was given two full 8.5″ X 11″ sheets of paper as a receipt.

  39. coren says:

    Save 10 dollars on anything at Sears cuz oh god we’re bleeding money and we could really use some business and please please please

  40. chevling says:

    Stop and shop: one item will get you about 3ft of receipt. More than one item, and you can fill a plastic bag with receipt.