Does CVS Hope Its Annoyingly-Long Receipts Will Get People to Throw Away Their ExtraCare Discounts?

Ever get one of these?

Or how about 20 of those?

We’ve all been there.

You go into CVS and purchase a $1 bottle of water or $2 chapstick, and then wait for what seems like an eternity for a receipt that can literally be two, three or five feet tall, or longer.

You then most likely go and throw that receipt away because who wants to hold on to that monster. And the next time you go to CVS, the process repeats.

All the while, you never end up taking advantage of the CVS ExtraCare discounts because you are too busy throwing away all of those receipts, which carry all the discounts.

Is CVS trying to collect all of the data about your purchase habits and then hoping that the receipts are so annoying, you will eventually throw them away and never use them?

Just guessing here, but yes definitely.

Exhibit A:

The other day while I was in CVS, I mentioned the ridiculously long receipts to the cashier, and to my amazement, he actually offered to digitize them.

Needless to say, I was shocked, so I reached out to a PR rep from CVS to see what was going on and here is what she said:

In 2016, to provide another option for customers who do not wish to receive long receipts, CVS Pharmacy launched a new digital receipt option for all members of the CVS ExtraCare program. To enroll at the time, customers simply needed to ask the cashier at check-out and from that point on, their receipts would automatically go to the email address they had on file, instead of printing at the register, unless the customer specifically requested a paper copy. With email receipts, customers still receive all the same savings and rewards — and all they have to do is simply tap on them to digitally send them to their ExtraCare card to use during their next shopping trip.

That’s right, you’ve had the option to make your CVS receipts digital for the past two years. Who knew?

Not me and I go to CVS a lot.

Not the press. If they had known, then why would major news outlets just being doing articles now, considering the amount of Instagrams of extravagant CVS receipts.

Lifehacker did something on the new program in October and CNBC just wrote an article about it this month.

The CVS PR rep did say that millions of program members have chosen to opt for digital receipts since 2016, saving more than three billion inches of paper.

But I’m going to assume that when CVS says “millions,” it’s only a few million because otherwise, why not say “more than five million” or “more than 10 million.”

And considering CVS has 62 million ExtraCare members, according to its own website, I am going to guess that tens of millions of people are still getting paper receipts by choice or because they simply don’t know any better.

The other caveat is that even after you elect to go digital, you still have to either create an online account or download the CVS Pharmacy app to take advantage of discounts beyond core discounts.

This, in my opinion, stinks like rotten eggs.

CVS wants the data and then hopes you’ll flake on using the receipts. Hats off to them because that’s exactly what I do.

CVS obviously doesn’t have to run its discount program like this.

Take Stop & Shop, for instance. People sign up for the rewards program, get a card, tap their cards on the register during every purchase and discounts are automatically applied at the end.

It’s that simple.

In the recent CNBC article, CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo acknowledged that the company could probably do a better job of making print opt-out instructions more clear.

Ahhhh, dude, ya think.

Writing about banks, stocks, and startups. Frequently published in The Motley Fool and Rhode Island Inno. Co-founder of The Buzz.

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