Supermarket (bill / check)

7

I need to know what you normally call these pieces of paper which you receive from cashier at any supermarket when you quit there:

enter image description here

A) Bill
B) Check

With a simple search on the Internet you can easily find out that there are lots of links for both "supermarket bill" and "supermarket check".

I am well aware about the semantic differences between the two and various usages of each word, but I have no idea how it works when it comes to the paper which includes the list of purchased items at a supermarket.

Is there a regional (AE/BE) preference or they both can be used everywhere interchangeably as it goes with restaurant case?

A-friend

Posted 2020-05-11T23:17:40.393

Reputation: 12 251

5It's worth pointing out that where you can see the top, every one of the dockets is labelled 'Cash Receipt'. – mcalex – 2020-05-12T18:58:18.503

receive [proof of payment] ---> receipt – Mari-Lou A – 2020-05-13T09:43:32.683

Answers

31

If you look at the graphic you attached to the question, you'll see the answer already provided.

At a supermarket, where you've already paid, you get a receipt:

[Merriam-Webster]
1 a : a writing acknowledging the receiving of goods or money

It's only at a restaurant, for example, when you're given a statement of what you ate and how much you still owe, that you are given a bill or check (or cheque, depending on your country).

Once you've paid the bill, then what you get after that is the receipt—an acknowledgement of having paid and what you paid for.

That's why, on leaving a restaurant, you normally have two pieces of paper: one is the bill (the request for money), and the other is the receipt (the proof of having paid).


In informal conversation, we might ask What was the bill? This just means How much did it come to? If you look at your grocery receipt, you can determine what the bill was before before you paid.

But also in informal conversation, in this context, the wording is blurred. If you handed somebody your grocery receipt as proof of what the bill was, you would not actually be handing them the bill—just indicating what it must have been. However, many people don't make this distinction.

In supermarkets, there is seldom a printed copy of a bill (or check). Instead, you simply see the electronic version on the cash register. Once you've handed over the money, what they print out is the receipt.

Jason Bassford

Posted 2020-05-11T23:17:40.393

Reputation: 34 584

4As a Canadian, it's not clear to me that we'd spell the restaurant bill as "cheque". "Cheque" is certainly the pay-to-the-order-of instrument that you can mail to your landlord; but calling the restaurant bill a "check" is, I think, of US origin, and the "check" spelling comes with it. I've always thought of it more in the sense of "checklist" than the cheque sense. – CCTO – 2020-05-12T14:53:35.510

If you look up the history of the word "check", you'll see it originated with chess, passed through railroad tickets and wandered from there. Any specific Canadian or US usage is kind of off the point considering how far the word has come. – Ross Presser – 2020-05-12T15:28:13.727

@CCTO I'm Canadian too, and I always spell it cheque… The use of check for a bill does indeed come from the US, but I've always written that particular sense of the word as cheque when referring to it. In point of fact, however, both spellings are part of the official Canadian language (just as both colour and color are listed in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, even though colour is the more common spelling). I would say that if somebody referred to it with that word in the UK (which would be uncommon) they would likely spell it cheque. Nonetheless, both are correct. – Jason Bassford – 2020-05-12T15:28:54.540

6@JasonBassford: In the UK, for me at least, a cheque is specifically a banker's cheque, which people used a long time ago to pay their rent with and stuff like that. If forced at gunpoint to refer to my bill as a check, I would always use the American spelling. – TonyK – 2020-05-12T20:52:20.593

2@JasonBassford as another UK resident, I can confirm, you would never refer to a bill as a "cheque", I don't believe anyone would call it a "check" either. – ThomasRedstone – 2020-05-13T15:14:15.067

2

While the bits of paper are technically receipts, in Australia at least, the receipts from supermarkets and the like (those thin, but long, usually thermal paper type) are generally known as 'dockets'. This uses the meaning shown here in reference to UK Commerce: "an official document describing something that has been sold or taken to a customer"

This usage has also been adopted by the coupon advertising company (that provides advertising on the reverse side of these pieces of paper) known as 'Shop-A-Docket'

mcalex

Posted 2020-05-11T23:17:40.393

Reputation: 6 050

3In the UK the word is used more in connection with commercial deliveries, not retail sales. I think we would call the supermarket one a till receipt. Check is more American usage. – Kate Bunting – 2020-05-12T08:09:29.153

9Admitting that anecdotal evidence is next to useless, this American has never seen "check" used in connection with a supermarket receipt. It's used in connection with the restaurant request for payment before you hand over your credit card or cash, but never with something you get after you've paid. – Ross Presser – 2020-05-12T15:30:00.203

Having lived in the UK, US, Canada, and Australia, I’m pretty sure receipt was the most standard word I heard for these in all four countries. I remember hearing docket as well in Aus, but my impression was that it was less standard and certainly less formal. E.g. if I google "supermarket docket", the first result I get (which is indeed Australian) uses dockets in the title but mostly uses receipts in the body of the article.

– PLL – 2020-05-12T17:52:01.823

“Docket” sounds more like an internal thing to the company, than anything a consumer receives. – Tim – 2020-05-13T09:39:34.937