Supermarket receipts are often thrown away by shoppers after the grocery run or tossed into a handbag along with other various dockets, never to be checked again. Given some can be close to a metre long, it’s no surprise most avoid reading what’s actually detailed on the document.
Below the list of items bought and price paid for the shopping trip, there’s a long list of extra text, but what does it all actually mean? And is it worth checking?
Self-proclaimed “List King” Bruno Bouchet recently took to social media to share his thoughts on supermarket receipts. The Aussie, who’s known for rating everything from hot chips to iconic sweet treats, posted a photo of his latest receipt, detailing just how much the receipt is — according to him — unnecessary.
Bouchet calculated that the actual receipt, which contains the itemised list of goods and prices, takes up approximately 40 per cent, while the remaining 60 per cent is full of extra discounts and promotions. To him, this part of the receipt is a waste of paper, but for others, it could mean big savings.
Depending on which supermarket you’re shopping at, you’ll find various barcodes and deals for partner stores. For example on Bouchet’s receipt, there’s a promotion for Flybuys, which is a loyalty program operated by Coles. It invites you to join the loyalty program and tells you how many points you could earn with your recent purchases.
Underneath is a promotion for Stikeez, which are little plastic toys that kids love to collect using acquired ‘points’ from their parents’ shopping trips, followed by discount barcodes for Liquorland and Coles service stations.
If you shop at Woolworths the discounts will be different, but generally there are savings to be made on petrol.
Bouchet expressed his frustration at how excessive shopping dockets were damaging to the environment.
“How can supermarkets justify printing out receipts where the majority of the receipt isn’t actually related to the transaction,” he wrote on Instagram. “61 per cent of the receipt I got today was junk. Banning plastic bags was great, so how about getting the receipts under control?”
However, others disagreed and said they make use of the savings found on receipts.
“Um excuse you but Liquorland discounts and Stickeez are life?” @jancyspocket wrote on the post. “Can I have the 4 cent fuel discount?” @perthweddingdj added.
It’s not just the discounts you should keep an eye on either, with people encouraged to check over the individual prices paid for their goods. Last year comparison site Finder conducted a survey of Aussie shoppers and found two in five people had been overcharged at the till in the past 12 months.
However, an alarming one quarter said they didn’t bother checking their dockets for any scanning errors and of those who did, they’d only ask for a refund if they had been overcharged by more than $10.
“You might be left out of pocket and not even realise,” Finder’s money expert Bessie Hassan said. “An advertised discount might fail to be applied or an item might scan twice, so whatever the reason, make sure you inspect your receipt each time. It’s your responsibility to ensure everything adds up.”