What CVS could learn from the IRS

Anyone who has popped into a CVS to pick up one simple item has likely encountered the storied mile-long CVS receipt. Social media abounds with examples of CVS receipts as long as couches, taller than children, and as tall as some adults.1

The serpentine receipt is created when you purchase something using your CVS rewards card, which operates like a drugstore Big Brother, tracking all of your purchases and spitting out tens and tens of inches of coupons it thinks you can use. The same purchase made without using a rewards card will yield a normal-sized receipt.

Recently, CVS released information on how consumers can opt out of the paper receipts.2 Existing rewards card holders can enroll in digital coupons and digital receipts (either online or through the CVS app), and the coupons will instead be sent to their cell phone. Note: If you don't enroll in both digital coupons and receipts, you'll still get the long paper receipts at the register.

Another option would be for CVS to transition to a receipt-postcard, which worked well in shortening the Form 1040.

1 www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/10/10/17956950/why-are-cvs-pharmacy-receipts-so-long
2 www.cnbc.com/2018/12/05/cvs-says-it-has-a-fix-for-those-mile-long-receipts--heres-how.html
Photo credit: Jason Newport

Move over, cannabis

In Colorado Springs, Colorado, teenagers drove a stolen van through the front of a cannabis dispensary and left with a stash of product. As it turned out, the jars on display weren't filled with cannabis but oregano. The dispensary owner reported that they don't use real marijuana in their display cases. The teens left in a second getaway vehicle waiting on the other side of the dispensary and were probably surprised when they opened the jars to the wafting smell of something reminiscent of pizza or spaghetti sauce.

Actually, like cannabis, oregano has medicinal uses. It's used to make medicine for respiratory tract disorders such as asthma or bronchitis, GI disorders including heartburn and bloating, urinary tract infections, intestinal parasites, swine flu, and earaches. It can be applied to the skin to treat athlete's foot, dandruff, or rosacea. And if that's not enough, it can be used as an insect repellent.

Plus let's not forget, a truly mouth-watering, piping hot pizza laced with oregano has been known to produce a state of euphoria. All this, and it's legal in all 50 states and not on the list of Schedule 1 controlled substances. Maybe those kids were onto something.

Reader response: Remembering the 1986 tax changes

A reader sent in his own story after reading last week's "Go to a tax seminar and retire at lunch."

These changes are nothing compared to the '86 Tax Reform Act.

In 1987, I was attending a seminar on the 1986 tax changes. One hour into it, the man on my left told us, "I quit, I don't want to learn this." He got up and left. One hour after that, the man on my right said, "He was right, I should have left an hour ago, I quit," and he left.

I felt like those two guys at this year's Spidell seminar, but my daughter now works with me, so quitting was not an option.

We're glad this reader is sticking with it. The TCJA changes can seem daunting, but just like with the changes that went into effect in 1986, eventually it'll all seem like old hat.

A few fun facts about this week's writers:

Kathryn Zdan, EAKathryn Zdan, EA, is living in the past, still using an old film camera and writing real letters to friends. She loves classic, foreign, and horror films, and has watched Frasier in its entirety at least five times. Sherry, Niles?

Diane FullerDiane Fuller loves to read, cook, and go to Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho, as many times as possible during the year with her family including grandkids and dogs.

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