Evil, Not Green

San Francrapco Assemblyman Phil Tang (Twitter: @PhilTing, Email: info@philting.com) has a cunning plan to save us from mountains of cash register receipts.

California Democrats made plastic straws hard to get. Are paper receipts next?
Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, unveiled a plan on Tuesday to take the state off of printed receipts. Under Assembly Bill 161, businesses would have to give customers electronic receipts if they don’t ask for physical copies.

That isn’t green. It’s evil. Allow me to explain.

In order to provide customers with electronic receipts, they have to communicate with his smart phone or email account. That means every transaction is tied to a specific identifiable individual.

Forget his claims about receipts being non-recyclable. They’re paper; they are recyclable. Although it’s true that recyclers don’t like taking any glossy paper because the kaolin content makes it more expensive to process.

The intent is to eliminate anonymous cash purchases by tying every transaction to an individual’s smartphone or email address. And if it goes to a phone… I don’t have a smartphone, for privacy reasons; it’s a personal tracking device I prefer to avoid. Not to mention all the other privacy problems.

Sure, if I were stupid enough to live in Califuckedupornia I could set up a special receipt email address just for this, and avoid the need for a smart phone, but…

Scenario:
I’ve gone to Wally World and purchased a big screen TV. I load it on a cart and head for the front exit.

Where the “People Greeter” demands to see my receipt before letting me take that TV out the door.

“Sure,” I reply. “Let me go home and I’ll be right back with it.”

So I get my new television home, and it craps out almost immediately. Back to Wally World to return it.

Turns on printer. Burning electricity — this assumes the wind gennies are spinning and the PVCs aren’t too dusty, what with Calibrownoutistan going 100% renewable energy — I print a receipt to show Customer Service. It’s printed on my regular large-compared-to-register-tape 8.5×11″ paper using environmentally unfriendly ink.

I suspect secondary thinking on this idea is to eliminate cash, too. Everything is electronically recorded. And remember: courts have long ruled that business records held by third parties (think your phone calling history held by the phone company) aren’t protected and do not require you being served with a warrant to access them. Your purchases become about as “private” as your phone’s geolocation data. You read that link, didn’t you?

I highly recommend contacting Ass’man Ting and telling him to go fuck himself.

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