I was driving my kids to school this morning when I happened to reach for a piece of paper (ie. gum disposal) in my console. My hand came back with a discarded receipt from a well known big box drugstore. I noticed the top of the receipt said “I’m Gerry. Thank you for allowing me to serve you today.” I just had to laugh. I could imagine the meetings and conversations that went on about the power of putting that message on the receipt.
The fact is, I didn’t “allow” this kid to “serve” me. He was just the guy at the checkout counter when I bought….whatever it was I bought. It’s like they think I would walk up there and say “Oooh. No, I’d rather have that OTHER guy over there serve me.”
So now, instead of it working for them, to me it seems sort of desperate. Like it should say “Please come back. We’ll put a message anywhere to get you to come back. Pleeeeeeeese.” That, at least, would be funny.
Then I read further. There was a paragraph that said “Can’t find it in the store? Visit our store.com blah, blah, blah.” First of all, if I didn’t find it, I wouldn’t have a receipt. But, ok for sake of you folks thinking, “Well you could have been looking for other things” let’s assume I wanted to buy more than the one item. Fine, I’ll give you that. But, I mean, who’s going to go online and purchase toilet paper, shampoo or a roll of tape from a drugstore?
But wait, there’s more. Then there were two more paragraphs of copy about generic prescriptions and product reviews.
Then a big giant “HOW ARE WE DOING?” online survey request to win prizes which took about 3 more inches of paper space since they had to give you a survey number and password. I was slightly shocked when I got to the bottom and it said to go to the website for contest rules. Heck, why not put them on the receipt!
Anywho, the actual receipt part of the….receipt/brochure only took about about half an inch of this 12 inch long piece of paper. It made me think about how sometimes the client wants us to say so much in a piece so that, in the end, nothing really stands out. If every little nugget of information is designed to be the most important, then nothing will be.
It gave me a good chuckle since I had never really looked that closely at a receipt in my life. After all that work, I didn’t have the heart to turn it into a gum wrapper.
by Trish McCabe Rawls