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Save My Ceipt
Yes, I save my receipts. Most of them, anyway…especially if you count the ones I find in my coat pocket. Sometimes, I don’t throw these away until the next time I wear that coat. And sometimes, not even then. If that is not saving, what is?

I know some people who save all their receipts and preserve them neatly in a special drawer or a little box that is always in the same place no matter what. That’s very admirable, I’m sure, but to me this is not so much saving as hoarding, and it speaks of someone who cannot let go of even the most trivial possessions. I don’t really want to know what perverse personal need is being filled by this obsession, but I question the assumption that such people are “well-organized.”

I wonder…when these people go out for a dinner, do they actually keep the “customer copy?” I’ll bet they do — even though they’ve eaten the dinner and looked at the bill and added it all up three times, just to be sure. They probably even keep that other slip that restaurants give you (whatever it is) and put it in their special place in a nice neat pile with all the other little pieces of paper.

I do recognize, in a broader sense, the need to save one’s receipts. You might need some help remembering exactly what product or service you purchased or who sold it to you or how much you paid. Any mature, grown-up adult who has reached his majority might reasonably need to have this data on file. Such information is also helpful for enforcing guarantees or qualifying for refunds. I heartily endorse this modest level of anality.

A word of warning to young people, however: no matter how careful you have been in maintaining your filing system — no matter how particular you have been in keeping those documents safe and ready to secure some important benefit — no matter how anal your attention to stuffing them into that tattered folder that you refuse to replace…the one you actually need will not be there.

And that is sad. Sad because all that focus and care that you devoted to saving your receipts ended up being for naught. What is sadder still, though, is the thought of all those other receipts — the ones that were successfully preserved — who will ever be called upon to fulfill their destiny. They have waited dutifully in that file, sometimes for many years, looking to the moment when they are that proof of purchase that saves the day.

But no. Though they have remained steadfastly legible and in chronological order with all their forgotten companions, their day in the sun will never come. Their destiny is to remain in that folder — unread and untouched — until they are no longer relevant.

But I will continue to save them even then. I feel as though I owe them that much at least — even if it’s in the breast pocket of that old windbreaker in the back of my closet.

Please Note: Tim Eagan will read your comments but he is currently not publishing them.

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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee