Dear Kroger: why do your stores waste so much paper?

The Kroger chain of stores, including QFC, King Soopers, City Market and more, are slaughtering trees for no good reason. Will you ask them to stop?

I just went to the store, and it’s time I piped up about something that has been bugging me for awhile. Have a look:

QFC receipt

This is my receipt. Notice anything about it?

If not, what you’re seeing is a tab that’s 14 inches long. I bought one item. (One line, anyway – it was a six-pack of New Belgium 1554.)

One item. 14 inches by 3 inches of receipt. 42 square inches of paper for one freakin’ item.

You may have noticed this phenomenon yourself. The store in question was QFC, which is part of the Kroger empire, and they operate under a lot of names around the country:

  • Baker’s Supermarkets (Omaha, Nebraska)
  • City Market (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico)
  • Dillons Food Stores (Kansas, Missouri)
  • Food 4 Less (Southern California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Chicago, Illinois; NW Indiana, and they have a former location in Allentown, Pennsylvania and Tahlequah, Oklahoma)there is also one location in Fremont Nebraska (Food 4 Less stores elsewhere are owned by other companies)
  • Foods Co. (Northern California)
  • Fred Meyer (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington)
  • Fry’s Food & Drug (Arizona)
  • Gerbes Super Markets (central Missouri)
  • Harris Teeter (North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia)
  • Jay C (southern Indiana)
  • King Soopers (Colorado, Wyoming)
  • Kroger (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia)
  • Owen’s (northeastern Indiana)
  • Pay Less Super Markets (central Indiana)
  • QFC (Oregon, Washington)
  • Ralphs (Southern California)
  • Ruler Foods (Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky)
  • Scott’s (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
  • Smith’s (Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming)

I don’t know if they use the same systems (resulting in the same wastefulness) everywhere, but this does happen at King Soopers in Denver, where I used to live.

Maybe what I’m describing isn’t a huge problem in the grand scheme of things – we certainly have worse offenders on the environmental front – but it does strike me as an unnecessary, even gratuitous squandering of our natural resources. I don’t even know how to begin doing the math, but multiplied by every customer Kroger services at all its locations, how many trees a year are we talking about, do you think? Even if they use recycled paper, and even if all these receipts get recycled (they do at my house by I’m pretty obsessive about these things), I’m still guessing that we’re taking down a lot more forest than we should be.

There’s nothing much on that receipt I really need besides the basics. But in addition to information about the actual purchase it tells me how much I “saved” by using my shopper card. It tells me how many fuel points I’ve racked up. It tells me that my cashier was me (love self-checkout, yes I do). It tells me my Advantage Customer number. It tells me that beer is age restricted (because otherwise how would I know that the drinking age is 21 everygoddamnedwhere in America?).

Why are we killing trees – every bit of this information, if it’s important to put on a receipt, ought to be on a customer portal at qfc.com. If I need to know about my fuel points, it should all be right there, huh, like it is with every other retailer in the country?

The receipt then closes with two lines of thanking me for shopping at QFC and, for some reason, four inches of empty paper.

So I’d like to ask Kroger to think about whether there are ways of reducing all this paper wastage. Next time you’re in one of their stores (or any other store where the same thing is occurring), how about taking your receipt to the manager and asking what the heck. Even better, write the URL of this post on an old receipt and take it with you so you can hand it to them. Ask them to read the post and ask their district managers to pass the question on up the line.

Something to think about.

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