barthel:

Nordstrom’s gives you the option now of having an emailed receipt rather than a paper one, and links it to your credit card number so you only have to give them the address once. The first time we used my wife’s credit card to do this we were shopping together and just gave them my e-mail, because “clap clap, like applause twice” is a lot harder to get wrong than my wife’s multisyllabic first, middle, and last names in a row, and also we no longer recognize divisions between ourselves as individuals. Anyway, yesterday she was out shopping without me, and in the middle of straining the sauce for the pot roast I got an e-mail from Nordstrom’s with a list of the things she’d bought. Oh good, I thought, she found some boots.

We now live in a world where, despite not being in the same place, I find out my wife has done something not only without her telling me but without any active effort on her part - or on my part. I didn’t check the bank records, or ask to know. I was just told automatically. It’s like having a Google alert for “Rachel was successful at shopping,” which is to say a Google alert for something that happens in the real world and doesn’t involve the internet at all. 

I always decline the email receipt option if I can take away something tangible. I also decline having the receipt in my bag and instead fold it up and put it into my wallet. I do this for a couple of reasons, which probably only make sense to me. One, so when I get home I can tally up my expenditures and know exactly how much was spent that day (cue buyers remorse) and two, I feel like having a wallet bulging with receipts is a kind of visual and tactile warning sign that HEY, MAYBE YOU SHOULD COOL IT ON BUYING THINGS

Seems to me like retailers keep coming up with subtle ways to make it easier to spend more by making it easier to forget how much you’re spending. At least back in the day you’d walk into a store with a certain amount of cash in your wallet and once you spent it all that was it, you were done. Now you can charge everything and it’s too much like magic, really.

The worst/best example of this is probably the Apple Store. They make parting you from your money so quick and painless with an ease that’s both impressive and weirdly predatory. The future of retail probably involves just taking your wallet directly out of your pocket as soon as you walk into the store. Oh man, CYBER PICKPOCKETS. Makes me think of that Justin Timberlake movie In Time.

The future is awesome/the future is terrible. I need a nap.