California 'Skip the Slip' bill aims to cut waste, but comes with consumer, small business concerns

Friday, March 17, 2023
'Skip the Slip' bill aims to cut waste, but brings consumer concerns
We have a love-hate relationship with printed receipts. They make keeping track of purchases easy, but cause a lot of waste.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After a purchase at Book Passage in the San Francisco Ferry Building, you'll be asked this question, "Do you want a receipt?"

The answer is often "No."

We have a love-hate relationship with printed receipts. They make keeping track of purchases easy but cause a lot of waste.

In a recent conversation with San Francisco Assemblymember Phil Ting, I tell him this: "The grocery store I go to, they always ask me if I if I want to receive a receipt while it's printing out. I always say no, and they're throwing it away."

VIDEO: Could paper receipts in CA be illegal? Bay Area lawmaker reintroduces bill to make them request-only

To demonstrate how wasteful l they are, San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting had a staffer dress up as a life-sized receipt as he reintroduced legislation to make them request-only.

Assemblymember Ting answers, "That's the problem. I reintroduced our AB 1347, which we call 'Skip the Slip.' What we're trying to do is have all the retailers in California do receipts upon request."

Only on request. Businesses ignoring a couple of warnings could be fined $25 a day if unwanted receipts are printed.

"Lord knows we are not fans of these mega-long endless receipts," says Robert Herrell of Consumer Federation of California.

He worries, though, about returns and exchanges if a receipt is declined, "When I buy something, I bought it for a reason. I do not intend to return it. Certainly don't know something is going to be defective before I bought it."

RELATED: Bill aimed at eliminating paper receipts is first in the nation

No receipt often means no return or exchange.

Book Passage's Elaine Petrocelli likes the idea but worries, too, about the details. "A lot of small businesses, particularly, will find it very burdensome," she says. "I don't care much about the big businesses. They are going to have to give up those ads on their receipts."

But small businesses? She says some may need help paying for new point-of-sale equipment allowing the "yes" or "no" question.

"I think you are going to need some grant system for businesses that can't afford to do it," she says.

Ting tried to pass this legislation three years ago. He believes he has a better chance of success this time, because since the pandemic, we are using less cash.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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