Saturday, August 31, 2013

Still Life With Robin: The Long Receipt Gets Shorter

by Peggy Robin

Sometimes you speak out for a needed reform and it never comes. Sometimes you speak out and work for change and it comes right away. And sometimes you think change will never come, and then one day you learn that the longed-for change has transpired. Last Friday was that day.

Not quite two years ago, I campaigned in this column for CVS to end its wasteful, environmentally unsound practice of printing two-foot-long receipts for a simple purchase. My column,, made no waves, got no notice, and no response from CVS. I wasn’t too disturbed, however. It’s not exactly the burning issue of the day. I wouldn’t say I forgot about it, but I can’t say I kept up the drumbeat on the issue, either.

Then, about a week ago, the internet --mainly the Twitterverse-- lit up with reactions to a photo of a man holding a 38-inch long receipt from CVS for the purchase of a single pack of gum. (Actually, it sounds a lot worse when you say a yard-long receipt, even though that would actually be two inches shorter.) The photo went viral and others began posting their ultra-long receipts, with the record for length logged in at four feet.  Here’s the Huffington Post recap of the sequence of events:

It took just a few days after that for CVS to come around, and by Friday, August 23, CVS corporate offices had concluded it was time for a cut-off. Here’s the announcement:

True, it’s an abridgement of a mere 25 percent. The reform is not as great as it should be. But maybe in another two years we’ll get another 25 percent cut again. If it does, I’ll be watching for it -- searching the Twitterverse for #CVSreceipt and #longreceipt -- and you can count on me to write at least six column inches about it. (But please don’t waste the paper to print it out!)


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv,, and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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