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At looooong last, CVS makes paper receipts optional

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CVS Pharmacy president Helena Foulkes joined Jimmy Kimmel on his show Friday night to make the announcement.CVS

If you're one of those people who hates absurdly long CVS receipts, your day has finally arrived.

The company has declared that the receipts, a hallmark of overstuffed wallets and social media parodies everywhere, are now optional.

CVS made the surprise announcement Friday night on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," the late-night show whose host has long championed shorter receipts, decrying a world that produces a receipt "half the length of a football field" for the purchase of a Snickers candy bar. Kimmel also aired a fashion show of clothing made entirely from free CVS receipts.

"We knew that our customers were very concerned about the length of our receipts," CVS Pharmacy president Helena Foulkes told the show's national audience. "CVS is moving our receipts to be digital."


To take advantage of the digital option, customers must opt-in at a store by enrolling in the digital receipt program with an e-mail address. Coupons, rewards offers, and other benefits can then be redeemed via e-mail. Foulkes said the program will be available at 7,900 CVS locations starting in June.

But the Woonsocket, R.I.-based company stressed Tuesday that the paperless route is merely an option.

"We heard loud and clear from customers that they wanted a choice," CVS spokeswoman Erin Pensa said in a statement. "There's still a lot of people who really like the paper receipts."

Yes, you read that correctly. People who like the receipts may not be as vocal, but they exist. CVS says its customers are split "about 50/50" for and against receipts.

For many, the receipts are as warmly received as a crocheted scarf. And about as long.

Seventy million CVS ExtraCare customers actively use the coupons and deals that make the receipts stretch on. Their actual size can vary, depending on the customer, how frequently they shop at the store, and what they purchase.


Chylar Fyfe

In recent years, amused and sometimes angry shoppers have measured the printouts in awe against dogs, children, snow, and pianos, creating an Internet phenomenon as they went. One woman even used the receipts to measure her pre-and post-diet waist size.

Those jokes may go stale now that consumers have a choice and late-night TV hosts will have to find new causes.

The Twitter parody account, @CVS_Receipt, greeted the announcement this way: "NOOOOOOOOO."

Megan Woolhouse can be reached at megan.woolhouse@
globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @megwoolhouse.