And the Winner of the Longest Receipt Contest Is . . .

Stores have gone survey prize crazy. Is it me? Don’t I recall receipts being way shorter and retail stores not giving two hoots about what my opinion was?

Apparently now every store from Abercrombie to Zara is dying to know how my shopping experience has gone. For filling out a survey, I can win a chance at having a shot at getting some money and free stuff.

The result is a super long receipt. Before the survey contests began, we started to get little tidbits of information about the store, its hours, the website address, and occasionally the manager’s name and an encouraging word (“Target Pharmacy We’re here to help!”). Then some stores started printing their returns and exchanges policies at the bottom of every receipt. The cashier’s first name was often included, as well as some timely specials. Then the lawyers took over and started filling the receipts with disclaimers and warnings (“We are not responsible for purchased items missing from your bag.” OK, but I still might sue.)

CVS started rewarding their frequent buyer card customers with coupons on the receipt. The bulkiness was surprising and not in a good way.

Then came the surveys and the incentive contests. They’ve taken over my receipts. Apparently stores are suddenly very interested in my opinion on my shopping experience.

I never call the numbers and take the surveys. I am not one of the people in this world who is ever going to win that. It’s why I don’t play the lottery and never have. Somebody’s gonna win and it might be me? No, it won’t. Nor will I win the $1,000 from CVS or $2,000 from Winn Dixie. I won’t win the one bestseller a month for a year from Books A Million. Nor will I win the $200 gift card from Blockbuster, one of five $1,000 gift cards monthly from Walmart, 15 percent off my next online purchase from American Apparel, or the $100 gift card from Duane Reed. And I can most certainly say I won’t be winning the $5,000 gift card from Staples or Home Depot.

And Best Buy . . . wow. In addition to three different codes (Groups A-C) for entering an online survey for which I could win a $5,000 Best Buy shopping spree!!, there are two different deadlines and age limits for different states. It would take me longer to understand the rules than to read the warranty for the camera bag that’s on the receipt.

“Hey America!” Dunkin Donuts tells me at the bottom of my receipt.  “Want a free donut when you purchase a medium or larger beverage?  Go to within 3 days; tell us about your visit.” I might actually get that, since there doesn’t seem to be any chance or luck involved, but the whole idea of logging onto TellDunkin within 3 days is just too much pressure for a doughnut eater like myself.

Not all companies are in the contest to see who can have the longest receipt. Nordstrom is cool as a cucumber with just this at the bottom of their receipt: “Thank you for Shopping at Nordstrom. Find us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.” It sounds like a dare. Nordstrom couldn’t care less about my opinion and it’s not giving away anything.

And Walmart is the only store I know of that prints its receipts on both sides of the paper. I could buy 70 items at Walmart and get a receipt shorter than one CD at Best Buy. Walmart should be the only one allowed to run a contest on their receipts.

I’d be interested to know if anyone has ever won anything from their receipt. If you have, please let me know. Does anyone even ever read the stuff on their receipts? For me, I only have time to offer one opinion to these stores and it’s this: I hate when my receipt is really long.

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