Columns

Put the receipt in the garbage bag... 2015.05.20

on . Posted in Midnight Musings

By COLLEEN LEDDY

It is only in recent years that I realize how at odds David and I are when it comes to fundamental issues—it isn’t just the carrot peeling and trimming; it’s not just the sink splattered with dirty bubbles of soap because he insists on washing his hands in the dark so he doesn’t see what he’s left behind; it’s not only the fact that he dries his apples on his bath towel, leaving little spots of brown from the stem end. 

It’s the receipts. He doesn’t ask for receipts! He doesn’t press “YES” when offered the option at the gas pump. And when asked by clerks if he wants one with him or in the bag, he says no. 

Why do clerks even ask that? Why would anyone want it in the bag? I turned to Google and of course somebody had already asked the questions and somebody else provided the answers...I don’t know if this response is accurate, but I found it interesting:

It's really kind of funny. (I guess you have not had the "pleasure" of working retail before!) The reason they do this is because if you don't ask and just put it in the bag, a lot of people sort of get annoyed and tell you to give it to them. If you offer it to them, they say, "Just put it in the bag." So, after years of running across this, the clerks are told/trained to make the customer state where they want the receipt by asking, "Do you want the receipt with you, or in the bag." That way, the customer cannot get mad over it. Silly, isn't it!? But if you had to do it all day -- you, too, would probably start to ask!

Receipts. It’s a big bone of contention in our 33-year marriage. He never gets them—unless I harangue him. I, on the other hand, love receipts. I always say “yes” when asked if I want one and I say “I’ll take it” when clerks ask if I want it or if they should put it in the bag.

When buying gas it drives David crazy that I insist on getting a receipt at the pump...probably because I don’t usually do anything with them but clutter the car console. At some point, I look at them. There’s so much information on receipts, info I like to look back at—especially when we’re traveling and I want to remember where we’ve been, where we’ve stopped. I love receipts! I’ve even entertained the notion of making a scrapbook of my receipts.

And then, a few weeks ago, I happened upon a ShopSmart magazine article in the “This Just In” feature. I’m not sure what “just” means, because as I was reading it, it all started coming back to me...the chemical danger of receipts. I think I vaguely once knew, but conveniently forgot, that there was something suspect about receipts. This little article, though, was specific enough to frighten the heck out of me.

You know how the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is bad news?—My kids are always rejecting one plastic thing or another because it contains BPA. The article says it’s linked to serious health problems such as increased risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive and brain-development abnormalities? Well, it’s also in paper receipts.

“There’s more BPA in a single thermal paper receipt than the amount that would leach out from a polycarbonate water bottle used for many years,” says John Warner, Ph.D, president of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry.”

OK, that’s pretty depressing. I suggest we turn to my granddaughter Caroline at this juncture for a little comic relief. From Rosie’s compilation of “Caroline Says” here are a couple entries:

May 12: Caroline: Mommy, just for an experiment, maybe we could try not cleaning my room for a couple weeks...just for an experiment.

April 29: Talking about an Avett Brothers song with lyrics about trying hard to do the things you want in life.

Rosie: Like you have the dream to become doctor, so trying your best to do that.

Caroline: (in voice like we're listing a lot of examples)...Like not killing anybody….

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