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Buying is part of living. We have some needs, and to attend to the needs, we have to do something to feed these needs. We work, we plant, we start livestock. That was much the only option in the old stone age, and whatever age period is that. As civilization progressed, we have developed the so called coins. Coins, that flat round metallicky bronze or silver shaped something in your pocket. That is what it looks nowadays. Coins could just be something else back in the days. It could be a simple stone, in any shape, and in any material. But it started the idea of exchanging, trading, buying of goods, materials, foods or just about anything. It got complicated, sophisticated. And fast forward, we now make use of Receipts.
We do not know who or what social tribe started the practice of using receipts. But one can tell that the use of receipt was a product of man’s effort to be organized, to document something, to be systematic, to be accountable of something. These are very German traits. Not to mean that other nationalities do not have these traits, but these traits are very strong to German. For them, something has to be some form, some connections, some structure. Other countries can live without it. Nevertheless, there is no exact record or documentation, that the Germans pioneered the practice of using receipts in trading and buying. One thing clear, the use of receipt was just a development.
A receipt is a documentation that a buyer has paid the seller for a particular merchandise or goods. It is just a slip, a piece of paper. These days, receipts have numbers that matches to that of the corresponding goods. Or it can be separate, but is should have numbers registered to the bureau or the trading industry department of one’s country or state.
Proof of Purchase
Receipts are proofs that someone has paid something. Receipts has nothing to do with receiving the item that is purchased. You can buy an item, receive the said item, pay for that item without getting a receipt. In other words, a receiving a receipt is not an intrinsic part of buying. You can go shopping the whole year without getting a single receipt. But you can not not pay and buy something. So paying is intrinsic in buying, but not the receiving of receipt. The part that a receipt plays during a purchase of goods is just to show proof that there is in fact a payment being made. It is kind of acknowledgement. It is kind of a certificate for having done something. It is kind of saying yes, but in a written document. It is like the I Do in a marriage, it confirms something. But that is not the actual “marriage” itself, that is not the actual buying.
Seller. Buying without the use of a receipt is possible, especially in the old days. These days in a bureaucratic world where everything, every move, and literally every single thing is documented, bureaucraticized, the use of receipt has become a standard. If you want your business to be legitimate, or legal, you should have an official receipt as part of running your registered business enterprise.
Buyer. On the part of the buyer, he may or he may not receive the receipt. In fact you can see a lot of people just leave their receipts when buying something from a convenience store. But, that is not at all the case. And while it may be dispensable, every citizen, every buyer should put into practice the keeping of receipt in every purchase. Why is that so?
Protection. Receipts protect both the seller and the buyer. We have mentioned earlier that a receipt is a proof that someone has paid for something that he bought. But there is more to that. When you pay, you are actually making a confirmation of the information of the purchase, the item that you have paid, the name of the cashier attending to the purchase, the time of the purchase, the name of the store, the name of the store owner or operator, the number of the goods you have purchased, the discounts, the tax. And there is the contact number of the vendor, too. It may indicate if you used cash or a credit card.
If you have all that information in a single small slip of paper, you will be saved from it. That receipt will say a lot about the event of that purchase. And you can make a story out of it. You can make it an evidence if something awful happens. How does that work?
Say you and your kid have bought a brand new TV from a shop. You brought the TV (well packed in a box) to your house, un-boxed it, connected the plug to the outlet, and switched it ON, only to realize it does not power up. No. Nothing. Nada. Your TV is broken. But it worked at the shop, you watched a glimpse of Batman V Superman clip on it while the salesman was busy enumerating to you its salivating features. How come it does not turn on?
So you return the TV to the shop, and file a complaint that the TV will not work. The first thing that the TV shop would do is ask for the receipt of the TV you purchased. To your surprise, you do not have any idea if there was a receipt, or if you have received something like a small slip of paper. But the TV vendor would insist they gave you one, a receipt. And that they are willing to do anything to assist your concern if you have a receipt. They may replace the TV, they may repair it, or anything. But they want the receipt. So where is it?
You feel the frustration. But you do not want to show it to your kid. You feel hopeless. But you still try to appear happy in front of your kid. You decide to go home. Until your kid says, Father, I have the receipt for the TV. And that ends the story.
One way or another, we all have that same experience of a father who bought a TV, and not minding to keep the receipt. Worse, in our case, there was no kid, just like in the story, who kept our receipt. There was just us, losing, not keeping, or not minding for, the receipt. There is no one to blame. But it should have been imbibed into every buyer the habit to keep the receipts in every purchase.
Other uses of receipts are for reimbursement purposes. If you want to be given a refund for the expenses that you have cashed out, your only savior is the receipt, and nothing else. The scenario can be as follows: You have bought the grocery for the day, and you asked your mother for a refund. By the looks of it, it is easy to identify the grocery, a pack of milk, a dozen of eggs, one kilo of sugar, a jar of honey, a half kilo of wheat, and a barrel of LPG. Each item has a price tag, your mother can tell. But she would look for a receipt before she gives your the reimbursement. Why?
Receipt, an official document in a trade industry
A receipt is an official documentation. It can be of any design, but nevertheless, it is numbered according to the national agency’s regulation. In other words, every purchase that you make can be tracked by your agency. If you do not use a receipt in your transaction, it means you have any means you have no recording of it. If anything happens, the vendor, or seller will not be held liable. Now why would your mother be looking for a receipt when you could just tell her honestly how much it cost, that is another story. Your mother may not mind you giving the receipt to her. But she could use it for official documentation. Maybe when you are inside your house, you do not need those documentation. But not when you are on official business.
We sometimes take receipts for granted, especially if we are not in regular transactions or official business with agencies. But there are reasons why a receipt was invented. Maybe in the year 1000 BC, a receipt was an imaginable, unthinkable, and impractical. These days, it is as important as the item from which the said receipt was generated. There are still many reasons why a receipt is important and needed. But regardless for what it is needed and when, (because receipts can be valid for five years) it is encouraged that we should keep them, take care of them, just as we would the item, the purchase that came with it.
The Bigger Case – Hospital Reimbursement
If you are admitted at a hospital, and you have some health insurance, the way the insurance works is always through reimbursement. It would help to remind yourself that in emergency situation, the health insurance provider does not buy you the medicines for you. They do not think about where to put you in a hospital, which doctors will take charge of you, what medicines are best for you. More than anything else, they do not give you money. That is right, a health insurance service does not give you money. In fact, the health insurance card that you have is not an ATM. You can not go to a ATM to withdraw money to buy medicines using a health card.
So in case of emergency, you have to find ways you are able to pay the hospital bills. If you are at your lowest financial state, you just have to be creative. So you pay all the bills, and save the reimbursement concern later. Now that is clear. But, and it is a big but, you can only avail of the reimbursement if you have the receipts of all the expenses. If you have do not have the receipts, then you are as good as not having a health insurance service. You will not be honored for a reimbursement even if you have the health insurance card. Nothing personal in there, it is just how the way it goes for every institution to processes for a reimbursement.
The habit of keeping receipts can be learned. It is not like piloting a plane. But before you are able to get that habit of keeping receipts, you should first put in mind that keeping a receipt is very important. Sometimes we make filter on what receipts we want to keep. If the item we buy is just a small item like a candy, we tend to forget about the receipt. But if it is a cellphone, we do not need to be reminded by someone t keep the receipt. This mentality is negative, and can hinder your plan to practice your discipline to keep receipts in whatever situation. Not all store would furnish receipts. But many convenience stores nowadays, they do provide receipts. You can start buying a piece of candy, and keep its receipt.
How to Keep Receipts
There are many ways one can keep his receipts.