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The CVS Receipt: A Coiled Mess of Savings

After a single purchase at a local CVS, why does the coupon receipt resemble a yard stick? A simple solution involving technology would eliminate the headache and generate some happy customers.

Saving and economizing is essential in today’s rocky times. So, when companies offer and pass savings on to their customers, I take advantage of it. Online coupons and manufacturer rebates are no-brainers. But when it comes to CVS, I’m a mindless zombie always forgetting the $5 or percentage off portion coupon that’s consistently left coiled six times over in a pile somewhere at home.  

You come home after a busy day, throw the car keys and dump the reusable bags packed with CVS items on the kitchen table. That’s when the buyer's remorse kicks in. You’ve suddenly discovered the nearly expired CVS coupon, ripped, wrinkled and crumpled, coiled in a basket on the kitchen counter.  

Or maybe the efforts and intentions were well and good. You cut your coupon and slipped it in your wallet next to the sparse stack of cash. When you remembered to use it, it became hastily mixed with stashed Starbucks, ShopRite and Costco gas receipts. Expired.

Wouldn’t it be nice if CVS coupons were automatically loaded on to your customer savings card and not at the end of your 2-foot-long receipt? That way, each time a customer made a purchase using their card, their savings would automatically be deducted from the total purchase.  

Not sure what your savings are prior to purchases? With your customer savings card, you would know specifically if you had a $5 off, 25% off, or a dollar off on a specific item. The system would mirror your 2-foot-long receipt, except your savings are seen via email, informing the consumer with the appropriate timing of “coupon” usage. Or, instead of printing the long coupons from the "coupon center" located in the CVS stores, check the coupon balance electronically.  

It seems in this day and age of technology, it’s a simple and easy way to pass savings on to customers, eliminate the paper waste and more importantly, please the already penny-strapped consumer.  

I decided to call CVS’s customers service, not to complain, purely to make a suggestion. After briefly throwing tag words such as “technology,” “waste” and “competitors,” the customer service representative said, “CVS is aware..." and "...is working on it."

"It’s one of our biggest complaints,” I was told, as well as, “It may not be in the next year, but it will happen.”  

So, until CVS jumps on the technology bandwagon, keep coiling those 2-foot-long coupons.  

Jim G. October 15, 2012 at 07:09 PM
It's all about tracking, actually. The losses in rebates are well known, since the burden is on the consumer to remember, collect every required bit of paper, fill out a usually difficult form (tiny spaces, invisible tick-boxes that if missed invalidate the refund, etc.) and then pay for an envelope and stamp to mail it in. Most rebates have less than a 50% successful claim rate. But ALL the buyer information is kept and used. It's the obligation of all consumers to reject, block and foul up such buyer tracking.
Alison Faye Johnson October 15, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Panera Bread has switched to the electronic method and the cashier never hesitates to let me know immediately what I have earned upon swiping my card before I even place my order, which I think is the reason I return there even though the prices are higher than Dunkin Donuts. The customer service is better, the rewards are consistent and I feel like I'm getting more "bang for my buck".
Jim G. October 15, 2012 at 09:28 PM
"Earned"? Uh, no. It's all about jiggering prices so that customers are happy to participate in market-tracking programs they would never sign up for voluntarily. If it were "Excuse me, can I have your driver's license number so we can identify you as the buyer of these products?" would you hand it over? Unlikely. But let's-pretend they're giving you a discount, and you're happy to identify yourself so they can track your purchases. if it were really about the discount, there wouldn't be any cards or codes or numbers or ID... they'd just knock 20 cents off the muffin. But then they'd never know any details about you. If the government tried to track individual's shopping, even for the most benign economic monitoring reasons, there'd be riots in the streets. But people voluntarily help the stores sell them more junk. Go figure.
Momof2 October 15, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Have you given CVS your e-mail? I get notice of coupons through my e-mail and I can choose to send them directly to my card or print them. It is so convenient...they even do it with the extra bucks!
Tonya O October 16, 2012 at 01:54 AM
CVS does give you the option of loading your rewards onto your savings card or printing it for use later. Also, just a tip..CVS is one of the few retailers (Kohl's is another) that WILL allow you to use your rewards and store coupons even if they are expired. I actually prefer the register rewards print on my receipt because i always plan my trip ahead and roll them immediately into another order. But I am probably not the norm :)

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