Testing, testing: The Friday Curmudgeon

May 23, 2014

The Friday Curmudgeon is a new feature that may or may not last. I’ve got some “in the life” issues, and for reasons unknown Andy Rooney passed through my head while I was thinking about one of them. Mr. Rooney worked for 60 Minutes at CBS from 1978 until he died in 2011. He ranted on and on about this and that for many years. People listened. I’m sure many people thought he was (more than) a bit of a nut, but ranting was his job, and he performed.

In fact, Mr. Rooney earned his right to rant. He was a war correspondent during World War II, and went to work for CBS in 1949. I, on the other hand, have never been involved in a war. No one has ever paid me to say anything funny, either. On the other hand, Mr. Rooney worked for others, and I own this space. So, for as long as anyone is listening, I’m taking for myself the right to bitch about some everyday stuff. Comments and observations welcomed, as always.

First, there’s the matter of CVS and the “arms-length” receipt. Here’s a picture of the paper the machine spit out, in response to a five item, $13.65 purchase. (It does run from the top of my arm to just above my wrist.)


The first third is the actual receipt. The second third or so tells me about my several benefit accounts. I need 7 prescriptions to get $5.00. The Beauty Club needs $16.05 from Ms. J, in order for her to get $5EB, whatever those are. Then there are deals on Visine, gas (involving CVS?), and first aid, and I understand none of them even a little bit.

The final third does include a $5.00 coupon. Cool, but for the fact that it excludes eight product categories and mentions several other requirements. The other thing, at the very bottom, is a $3 off coupon for Almay Lip or Make Up remover. Ms. J again!

There is marketing value here, I know. Build store loyalty. Get people to spend more money. On the other hand, lots of trees are dying. Does anyone keep these things? Use them? Really?

My second complaint also relates to receipts. Starbucks asks me if I want my receipt. I don’t. So, there’s no receipt. Nothing gets printed. I like that. On the other hand, in many establishments I’m asked if I want my receipt. I say “no,” the checker says “OK,” the machine prints the receipt, and the checker wads it up, sending it along the way to its final resting place at the local landfill.

If Starbucks can pass on printing, others can too. So why not skip the printing unless the customer wants one. There’s lots of marketing value in a “we like the environment” message.

My final complaint relates to signing for credit card charges. I never minded signing, and I don’t mind now. I am bothered, however, by the several policies merchants have adopted. Some still require a signature for every purchase. Others have different waiver levels. (I assume the merchant assumes some risk by not requiring a signature.) I, as a customer, can’t these various levels in my head, and find myself going to sign, or walking away, in all the wrong places. Often as not, I get a reminder from the cashier that I don’t (or do) need to sign. A big deal? No, for sure. But was signing ever a big deal, and did my life get better when some people decided to pass on requiring signatures? No!!!

Thanks for reading. I feel better! Much better!!!

P.S.  Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend! No post for Sunday or Monday.

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