Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


April 15, 2013

Cathie Shaffer: Checking out the check-out specials: 04/16/13

GREENUP — I popped into our local “we sell everything cheap” chain store the other with my daughter not intending to buy a thing. She was looking for bird seed and dishwashing soap; I just went along to get out of the house. Not surprisingly, I did find a couple things I needed or thought I did: A solar lantern to take camping and a flash drive to take files from one computer to another. The total cost was just over $10 as I recall.

Yet I received a receipt as long as my arm. The tiny portion near the top was the actual printout of my purchases. The rest was a little of everything.

The store name was there, of course, along with its store number, address, phone number and some sort of slogan saying how wonderful the shopping experience is there.

Under my tiny list of purchases was a promo for satellite TV services and under that was an offer that lets me get one giant sandwich free with the purchase of one at a fast food place.

I’m assuming that in this age of everywhere advertising those companies were dishing out some bucks to be included on the receipt, the same way people pay to have their ads on Internet pages. Yet as I normally do with ads that pop up on my computer, I ignore those come-ons added to my receipt.

I only looked the other day because the receipt was exceeding long. And sad for them but they’ve wasted their money on me. I already have TV service that I’m pleased with and I couldn’t eat one of those whopping big sandwiches, let alone two.

That experience made me look at other receipts as I cleaned out my purse and my car over the weekend. Apparently it’s the new in thing to use a half-roll of receipt paper per shopper.

One receipt contained an exhortation to call in, answer a few simple questions and have a chance to win $1,000.

Another has a different toll-free number which, if I call and then am selected, will send me to a country concert. Of course, that also requires me to answer a few simple questions which I suspect are similar to the ones that might get me a thousand big ones.

Another receipt actually had some immediate value to it — $5 off on the purchase of $30 at the store. Unfortunately, by the time I noticed the notice that date had long passed.

If I remember right, some other receipts had what might be perceived as valuable coupons on them when this trend first began. I vaguely remember getting specials on fried chicken and cents off coupons for canned dog food and the like. But I suspect those weren’t as profitable for the companies as the ones I’m getting now.

As I pored over the receipts and then poured them into the trash bag, I came across a sales receipt that I consider to have amazing value. In fact, I made the required call in order to activate it and then make sure to use the receipt before it expires.

You see, it gives me a free order of pancakes at the local national pancake house. And since I never make pancakes at home, since it’s just me, I really enjoy them when I go out.

So when it’s close to payday and my wallet is flat enough to slide under a door, I’ve been known to roll on out there and treat myself to a short stack with real butter and a fantastic flavored syrup at absolutely no cost.

Now that’s what I call a real bonus.

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