Economic indicators

Just another day in the American economy. UnitedHealth is cutting 4,000 jobs, the Treasury Secretary makes a proposal that allows financial firms to fail without messing up the economy, 900 flight attendants at American Airlines will lose their jobs, and oil prices have hit a new record

News Cut is constantly testing the underpinnings of the American economy. Today is no exception.

Retail sales specialist — and occasional MPR reporter — Tom Weber remarked today that the size of sales receipts is growing at a frightening rate. Today, for example, he bought a pack of Mentos and a pack of Eclipse gum (he paid $3.79 for gum, but that’s a topic for another day),

Here’s his receipt.


9 1/4 inches.

Yesterday I bought lunch for my sons and a friend at a local restaurant. Here’s the receipt:


11 inches.

Even the U.S. Postal Service is big-receipt happy. Sending a certified letter?


That’ll cost you 9 1/2″ of valuable wallet space.

By far, the worst offender is Home Depot. A one-item purchase will net you a sales receipt equivalent to about a full roll of toilet paper.

In most cases, the size is attributable to offers to tempt you into filling out an online survey about the store’s performance. “Your receipts are too big,” does not appear anywhere as a survey option, however.

Small receipts can usually be found from the gas station’s pay-at-the-pump printer. Oil companies are making massive amounts of money. Home stores, restaurants, and street retail are struggling in the economy.

This leads us to the theory we need to test: The worse the business is doing in a tough economy, the bigger the receipt.

  • they (the big receipt stores) want to increase the amount each visit and number of times you visit. Because there are less of both, maximize customer ROI, and the survey is supposed to help them market I guess.

    I filed one out the other day the questions are standard cookie cutter – but did notice that the company conducting it was out of minnesota. I guess one of the largest, retail survey companies, is here in minnesota.

  • Than

    I think you’re missing the upside here, Bob.

    Free toilet paper!

  • MomKat

    At Rainbow you get an itemized receipt that highlights every penny you saved plus coupons plus a game coupon. Try to put that in your wallet.

  • MomKat

    and don’t forget the 600 Starbucks biting the dust. Bigger receipts for everyone!

  • Kay Maart

    I was wondering WHY my wallet is so full, with so littel money in it.

    The receipt thing is out of control.

    We clearly need some legislation here.

    Good thing this is an election year.

  • Zeb

    This is like an Andy Rooney bit, except it’s actually funny! You should see the rope of paper we bring home from the grocery store.

  • betty

    /The receipt thing is out of control.

    We clearly need some legislation here.

    Good thing this is an election year.

    Posted by Kay Maart/

    you’re right Kay, as any good shopper would notice. you know your economic dictakers when you see em!