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Ruth Marcus wrote in her article in Washington Post (September 29), titled “Fiscal Trivial Pursuit” describing the waste of the U.S. government’s disclosed by the Justice Department inspector general recently that ranges from $600 Pentagon toilet seats to $16 a piece muffin billing, and she says:

"As it turns out, the receipt on which the Justice Department’s inspector general based that assessment was written in a kind of catering short-hand."

I’m not very clear with the meaning of “a receipt written in a kind of catering short-hand,” but can easily guess it implies a receipt in the form of hand-written, scribbled note given by vendors.

Although we have words such as '私製領収書-privately-made receipt' and 'tentatie receipt -仮領収書'usedd only for private, casual and petty cash transactions in Japan, I’m puzzled with the fact that government otentative ffices of a civilized country like America accept a (hand-written) short-hand receipt in contrast to a receipt in official (printed) form. Bureaucrats’ wastes of taxpayers’ money is not uncommon in any countries, but passing- by of receipts in ‘catering short-hand’ form meaning sloppy auditing seems to be unusual to me.

Then my question, what is the short or "standard" English word for “a receipt written in a kind of catering short-hand,” that doesn’t require “a kind of”?

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I don't think there is a simple word for this, but it makes me think of the way American grocery stores print the full receipts as well - for example, many abbreviations like "jumbo cky" and "chse rav" appear, so that even if it's your own receipt you may be scratching your head if you try to review it. – aedia λ Sep 29 '11 at 22:22
I would just say it's a handwritten receipt, which to me would normally imply scrappy, unoffical, vague. If it's actually bona fide, you can always emphasise that by saying it's a signed handwritten receipt. – FumbleFingers Sep 29 '11 at 22:43
@e.James: Haven't seen you in a while! – Daniel Sep 29 '11 at 23:12
@drɱ65 δ: I still drop in once in a while, but work and personal life have been busy lately. Perhaps I should semi-retire as well ;) – e.James Sep 29 '11 at 23:34
up vote 2 down vote accepted

In the ABC News article $16 Muffins? Actually, No, Officials Say, Gina Talamona of the Department of Justice called them abbreviated banquet checks.

The same article quotes a statement from Hilton Hotels: “Dining receipts are often abbreviated and do not reflect the full pre-contracted menu and service provided.” So the phrase abbreviated dining receipts might also apply. But inaccuracy seems an odd trait for something called a receipt.

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The word "ticket" works, as in a restaurant. "Ticket " is a generic word and can fit the bill(no pun intended).

"Receipt" or "bill of sales" can fit too.

As for the impromptu part, well I'd just call it what it is and say "informal receipt" or even "inscrutable receipt".

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