I first noticed it when I was withdrawing money from a Bank of America ATM a couple of weeks back. The screen had what would have been the standard prompt for a receipt but instead of asking if I wanted one or not (this on its own has been a welcome progression from forcing you to take a receipt that will be shoved into your wallet before being recycled during the quarterly wallet cleaning) the machine asked if I wanted to receive my receipt by e-mail. “Huzzah!” I thought to myself, and then promptly sighed relief that I did not huzzah out loud. There was another person in the vestibule with me (Thanks, that episode of Friends, for the vocabulary enhancement!) and you don’t want to huzzah aloud when in odd mixed company. I had the machine send me the receipt by e-mail and a few minutes later found it waiting for me on my phone, where I created a new label for it in Gmail and archived it.
Only a few days later I was in Duane Reade picking up a snack for the commute home and when I went to pay, the credit card machine asked me if I wanted a printed receipt, no receipt, or a copy of my receipt e-mailed to me. You can probably imagine which one I chose. I then was prompted to associate my e-mail address from my Duane Reade account with receiving receipts by e-mail and once again, in a few minutes I had a copy of the receipt. It was soon archived and preserved in my e-mail.
This is the direction all stores need to take. When you go to a clothing store and get, for example, a shirt — e-mail receipt. You take it home and find out that it doesn’t fit you nearly as well you thought it did in the store — take the shirt back and of course, you don’t have to hunt around for that receipt because it is in your well organized e-mail. The store scans the barcode in the e-mail, issues you a refund, and you get a new receipt reflecting the return by e-mail.
Now when I am in stores where e-mail receipts are not the norm, I tell store managers whenever possible about this fantastic development. E-mail receipts are important — and we can avoid that much more paper waste in the future.