CVS CEO has a fix for those mile-long receipts — here’s how it works

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CVS’ stunningly long receipts, eating up to five feet of paper at times, are a thing of legend in retail. But there is a way you can save some trees by opting out of receiving them at all.

“There’s a way to get all of that digitally on your phone,” along with the CVS coupons and ExtraBucks rewards, CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo told CNBC’s Bertha Coombs.

Coombs actually held up one of the receipts for Merlo during last week’s interview at the 2018 Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York City. It was 3 feet long.

Here’s how to opt-out: Consumers need to sign up either online or at a local CVS drugstore for the CVS ExtraCare Rewards program, which allows shoppers to earn special rewards or discounts on many items in the store.

Then, shoppers must enroll for digital coupons and receipts in their online account or through the app, which will then eliminate those paper receipts when they shop in store.

“If you don’t sign up for both, you [still] get paper receipts,” at the store, Merlo told Coombs in a follow-up interview Tuesday, adding the drugstore chain could probably do a better job of making opt-out instructions more clear.

CVS’ trademark receipts have long stunned consumers at the checkout line, and they’ve been well documented on social media feeds. One shopper recently used a receipt as Christmas garland to decorate her car, tweeting “May your life be as long as a #CVSreceipt.”

Harnessing digital technology is a big part of Merlo’s vision for CVS Health.

With the $69 billion acquisition of Aetna, the pharmacy giant aims to turn its stores and retail clinics into a kind of neighborhood health hub where prescriptions and services are seamless.

Already, customers can use the company’s mobile app to make appointments at its clinics, access telemedicine visits and renew prescriptions.

Watch: What’s with those CVS receipts?

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