I came to realize today that I really hate receipts. It’s not uncommon for me to be struck with realizations like this throughout the course of a day. “Hey! I’m at a funeral!” I’ll realize with a start. “And everyone’s looking at me! And I’m not wearing pants! Again!” You know, the normal kind of realization that occurs when you’re fond of mainlining tequila and antifreeze.
But this realization was atypical in that not only was I wearing pants when it occurred, but it was spawned by someone else acting like a fucking lunatic for a change. There was this haughty, condescending woman in front of me in line at the grocery store. I had just got done thinking to myself, “I bet this bitch douches with a whisk broom,” when she threw a fit over a coupon.
“You didn’t apply that coupon!” she shrieked.
The cashier pointed to the giant color monitor with words printed in a million point font that was so clear that aliens on other planets were probably discussing it. (“Wow, that’s a good price on Earth-beets!”)
You had to be brain dead and half embalmed not to believe that the coupon had been applied, but that didn’t deter this cunt. “I’ll have to see it on the receipt,” she snapped. This, I thought, was a wonderful idea. Why accept the obvious when instead you can haggle over a piece of paper while everyone behind you in the express lane decides to follow you home and burn death threats in your front lawn with gasoline?
And that’s exactly what happened. This bitch turned her full attention to the receipt and practically erupted when she came to the conclusion that the twenty five cent coupon had not been applied to a can of beets (really). “I knew it! You can’t trust those computers! YOU DID NOT APPLY MY COUPON!!!” She waved the coupon in the air for all to see, then turned her Medusa gaze upon the cashier, who instantly turned to stone and was placed in a glass display booth in the front of the store as a warning to all future careless or corrupt cashiers. “Woe be unto you that doth not reduce the beets!” read the words inscribed upon her everlasting tomb.
Or at least that’s what would have happened if the cashier had an IQ lower than spackle. Luckily, she was well suited for the task at hand, having learned the English fucking language as a toddler. “Look! Right here below the line item for beets: It says, ‘Coupon’ and then subtracts 25 cents from the total.”
This threw the old hag, and she slunk away in defeat. She’s probably still stewing about it, unless she’s too busy wondering why someone burnt the words, “I bet you douche with a whisk broom” in her front yard.
Anyway, it was while this charade was going on that I started thinking about receipts, specifically whether or not one could use one to choke a bitch. I also wondered why they’re even necessary in this day and age. I’ve tried to return large purchases before and was told that I had to have a receipt. What is this, the 12th fucking century? “Sorry, milord, but the receipt that you cunningly sealed with wax and ducal signet ring was devoured by dragons before I could bring it hence.”
Besides, the box has got the store name on it, a UPC code, an inventory control number, and any number of deactivated anti-theft tracking chips. I’ve got the credit card that I used to purchase it with, and thanks to the invasive questions you ask whenever someone buys anything, you know more about me than my goddamn family. Why do you require a piece of paper? And what’s next? Are you going to ask me to fill out a return form on a fucking loom? Maybe call over the store’s Barber for an old fashioned blood letting? Just give me my fucking money back, already, and NOT in ha’pennies either, you Dickensian lackwit.
Another thing that drives me nuts is when people offer you a receipt for something totally retarded. “Do you want a receipt for that?”
“Oh, yes! Thank you! You see, this isn’t just a bag of Doritos. This is a business bag of Doritos, and I won’t be reimbursed for it if I don’t produce a receipt when accounting asks for it.”
My life is confusing and weird enough. If anyone ever asks me to prove that I bought a bag of Doritos, I’m just calling it a life and flinging myself into the ocean.
I can’t really blame the stores for this behavior. Its the fault of the elderly. I live in Arizona, which few people know is officially named “Arizona – Brought to you by Polident, now with new Super-Grip formula!” We’ve got a lot of seniors, and to them, a good receipt is like the JFK assassination: An endless font of mystery and intrigue.
The bitch who was hyper-vigilant about beets was kind of an outlier, and although she was getting up there in age, she wasn’t a senior yet. And the seniors aren’t mean, or cruel, or uncaring, they’re just trying to stretch their dollar, which I totally get. Senior citizen, fixed income, Medicaid cuts, the rising cost of ribbon candy… I get it.
But seriously, if you’re going to wind up homeless because you got overcharged 6 cents at the grocery store, then I’m sorry, but your financial planning is a FAIL, and I don’t see why I should have to wait behind you in line while you go all fucking Matlock on the receipt. I have important shit to do, thank you, and your receipt-mongering is just getting in the way. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to pay for this gas can and go. That lawn’s not going to burn itself, you know!
Another thing that pisses me off is how the receipt gets handed to me. (Yes, I’m just that irritable.) From time to time I like to carry cash because it makes me feel like some sort of badass drug dealer. Also, it’s kind of fun to take a stack of bills and make it rain, although I’ve been informed that I shouldn’t do this when paying for day care any more. Live and learn.
So I’ll pay for something at the store, and the cashier will put the receipt on bottom, the bills on top, and then put any change on top of that and hand it to me. And I’m always like, “What is this, a fucking transaction sandwich?” I didn’t pile all of my purchases on top of each other in a giant tower, so why would you do that with my change? You hand me the bills, drop the change into my palm, and stick the fucking receipt up your ass because I hate those fucking things. Sheesh.
I was actually surprised to learn that a lot of places that sell clothing don’t rely on receipts for returns at all. And actually, I’m a little disturbed by that, now that I think about it. I once returned a pair of jeans because they fit me in the store, and then magically, they were way too fucking tight when I got them home. (The fact that I’d stopped at Chipotle for a burrito or five on the way home was incidental.) I approached the service desk and explained that I wanted to return these jeans, but I’d lost the receipt…
“No problem!” chirped the clerk. She took a scanner to the jeans which made a happy little ‘BOOP!” sound, and handed me a receipt that I could give to the cashier, crediting me for the price of the jeans. It was a little too easy for my liking.
Me: Don’t you want to know if I have a massive problem with pubic lice or anything?
Service Desk: Nope.
Me: And I don’t have to sign anything stating that I didn’t wear these jeans while treating ebola patients?
Service Desk: No, you are good to go!
Me: Ok, so just out of curiosity, what do you do with the clothes that get returned?
Service Desk: We put them back on the rack.
Me: Which I am about to go peruse in search of a better fitting pair of jeans.
Service Desk: Right.
Me: Uh-huh, right after I go eat a couple of urinal cakes. I’ll just take the cash, thanks.
And this was at a good department store. I can’t imagine what happens over at, say, Good Will.
Greg: (drives by Good Will) (catches the clap)
I like how they do things over at the Apple Store, and not just because I have a thing about jerking it to turtlenecks. You buy something there and they ask you if you’d like to have a receipt mailed to you. I give them the bogus email address that I give out during bad first dates or to paternity lawyers (ThisIsTotallyMyEmailAddress@seriously.com), and I am fucking done with the purchasing process. I don’t thank them for the receipt and fling it in the first trash can I run across, I don’t have to pull it out from under a pile of cash, and I sure as hell don’t wave it around in the fucking air and claim that I didn’t get my goddamn quarter off on a fucking can of goddamn beets! Jesus.
A whisk broom, people.