Monday, November 23, 2009

Endless Store Receipts

What is up with all of those surveys on the bottom of store receipts? While I’m glad that retail stores seem to care about their customer experiences, I am tired of being told by clerks each time I check out that “I have been specially selected to participate in a survey.” Sure thing. Me and everyone else who bought something there today. I am also tired of receipts that are two feet long with unnecessary garbage at the bottom of them. It is beginning to get ridiculous. What happened to saving the trees and the whole green movement? After a quick trip to Target, Kohls, Petsmart, and Borders for some needed items, I am inundated with survey requests and miles of receipt tape. Many of them tempt me with the possibility of wonderful prizes such as “take our survey for the chance to be entered in a $5,000 drawing”. Do you know anyone who has ever won one of those drawings?

As if I don’t have enough to do already, I started thinking about these surveys and what my odds of winning might be if I actually participated for one month instead of crumpling them up into little receipt balls to launch into the trash. Being the “queen mom of homework” that I am, the thought hit me that this would make a great science fair project. Well, maybe not science per se, but I could call it a “consumer awareness” project. God knows I have been through my share of science fair projects with my kids, some of which have involved blood droplets, rusty nails, radish seeds, vinegar, fingernail polish, and water. At least this project would not be quite so dirty.

I could ask my question, develop my hypothesis, do the research, predict the results, chart the data, and draw my conclusion just like in the science fair. I could even make a presentation board! The frustrated scrapbooker inside of me became excited at the thought of the creation of a colorful presentation board.

On the first day of the experiment as I returned from shopping, receipts hanging out of my wallet, I went online to take the first survey. I can’t remember what store it was. I got through about five questions before I started getting impatient with the questioning and just started clicking the mouse wildly to finish it. I finally got to the end where I was told to enter my email address in case I am the lucky winner. I looked at the next receipt. I stared at the computer screen. I looked back at my little pile of receipts. I crumpled up all of the receipts and threw them one by one into the trash. So much for my experiment. Keeping up with these receipt surveys could be a full-time job !

It looks like I’ll never find out if I’m the big winner and my opinion will not count. I supposed I can redirect my creative energy about the presentation board into actually working on the scrapbooks for my kids that I talk about but never complete.

And I will just continue to vote with my dollars by shopping at the stores where I have the best experiences. Let me know if you ever hear of anyone who has really won the prize at the bottom of the receipt.

Peggy McNeal

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