Sales So Taxing
Living in Oregon we don’t know much about sales taxes. That basically means we’re idiots. We’d rather pay a higher income tax than allow tourism pick up a part of our tab. You know, like we do when we visit most other states. Oregonians are rabidly opposed to the concept of a sales tax, which is understandable, but it only ends up shooting us in the foot. Some would actually consider a sales tax if it was accompanied by offset of equal amount on our income taxes. Unfortunately no one trusts the politicians that much.
I have to admit, it is pretty nice to be given a receipt and pay what’s show on the receipt. Too bad all states don’t do it that way. If my bill in an Oregon restaurant is $19.73 then that’s exactly what I pay. And I tip on that amount. Simple. Easy.
Occasionally we make a kibble run across the Washington border. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump across over mighty Columbia River. We don’t do it often, though, since it is means making a cash contribution of 8.4% to our neighbors to the north when they don’t do the same thing for us.
Correction: The current sales tax in Vancouver, WA, is 8.400 percent. Isn’t it funny how sales tax are one of those things that always get calculated to that fifth digit of precision?
This morning, though, I decided to grab some breakfast in downtown Vancouver. I’ve reproduced our ticket from the meal in the image to the right. Yes, I used the Comics Sans font because the situation fucking demands it.
- $1.75 for a cup of diner coffee? Pro: Free refiles. Cons: That’s the same price as a small black coffee at Starbucks except it was barely quaffable.
- Note that the location for “tax” is left blank even though we’re in a taxing situation.
No tax shown? What’s up with that? Don’t they have to tell you?
Then comes the credit card receipt. Although we were told our meal was $19.73 the amount on the receipt is $21.39. What magic is this? Logic and math skills dictate that the amount of tax must have been $1.66. I can’t quite do the division in my head but that pencils out to be a tax rate of 8.4316 percent.
What the hell? Turns out the actual tax was $1.65732 so they rounded it up to the nearest penny. Voila! A higher tax rate is born. As far as I’m concerned the great State of Washington now owes me $0.00268. Can I put on a lien on their ass?
That, however, is not the point. Take a careful look at that receipt. What, exactly, is being asked of me? If one isn’t careful, one might assume that the tip is supposed to be a function of $21.39. Remember, that’s the price of the meal bloated with the added taxation.
Is this some sort of VAT situation? (Just like the food?) What’s “value added” here? Not only did you get me to offset your income taxes with my sales tax donation, but you expect me to voluntarily pay extra for the privilege? Is this a vigorish? Is some guy named Guido in the back going to break my legs if I don’t comply? Does the house always have to win?
In this particular situation I tipped 20 percent. Based on my sales volume, the difference between tipping on the pre-tax amount (or not) is only 33 cents. Either way, it’s not a big deal. But, to me, it’s the principle of the thing. I tipped 20 percent. But if my server looks at it the wrong way, she’ll be thinking it was only 18 percent.
What do you think? Do you tip based on the overall total or the pre-tax amount? Or, like me, are you simply going to shun all states with sales taxes?
What’s The Points?
The computer screen told the story. A weather system, shown as a menacing blob of glowing crimson on the screen, was bearing down on us and about to engulf the whole damn island. Isla Nublar was really in for it. Gale force winds, 40 foot swells, the whole nine yards.
Communications were already out.
The control room shook as horizontal rain punished the windows creating enough background noise to decidedly get on my nerves. I took a moment to glance out the window. The tropical trees were whipping in the wind like piñatas under a baseball bat.
It was up to me.
I realized a voice was coming out of the high-tech radio I held in my hand. “Sqwk! Say again, say again, we are pinned down. No way out. Request immediate EVAC. Do you copy? Over. Sqwk!”
Sending out the chopper in these conditions would almost certainly be suicide. Yet there stood the flight crew, having already volunteered, now impatiently awaiting my decision. Risk three lives to save eight? I could barely comprehend the mathematics that involved.
The weather display was blinking now. It has just been updated with the name of the storm which was now closer than ever. “Fiona” they were calling in. Wow, I thought. They named the storm. That’s extremely useful information.
“Clever girl,” I said without realizing I was saying out loud.
Time was growing short. It was do or die. This command decision had to be made so I could triage the next looming disaster only seconds away.
“Send ’em out,” I ordered. I keyed the mic. “Help is on the way. Out.”
Guest Post: Big Five Oh
celebrated suffered through a so-called milestone birthday. There was, of course, the obligatory birthday card with all the standard jokes about walkers, eyesight, driving, Geritol and Viagra, as required by law in all states (except Florida). As I desperately scrabbled at the card searching for currency a poem fell to the floor. (See below.) I threw out my back bending over to pick it up.
On the plus side, my wife took me to a strip club. Whoa! She cleverly got me wasted on tequila shots and pints of beer before revealing the destination so I wouldn’t enjoy and/or remember the experience. Still, it was quite a surprise and she treated me to the first “lap dance” of my entire life (I don’t get out much) which consisted of three-minutes of quasi-hugging a naked woman in a semi-private room for $40. (Which, by the way, came out of my wallet.)
Although drunk, I still possessed my math wits. I pulled my iPad out of my pants and used it to calculate the hourly rate of “lap dance” at $800 per hour. That is so not worth it.
To add insult to injury the
stripper adult entertainment professional was way more into my wife than she was with me. Downright handsy if you know what I mean. That hurt. There’s nothing quite like a birthday to reinforce your position on the food chain.
She says I can have my next lap dance in another 50 years.
Happy birthday to me!
Ode to My Husband
by Mrs. Abyss
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Holiday: Coffee Comparisons
Buying some joe as a last-minute holiday gift for uncle Java? This handy holiday pricing comparison guide may be of value.
- Jungle Booty, one pound bag: $12.00
- Oils Well That Grounds Well, one pound bag: $9.00
Recommendation: Oils Well is the better value.
- Orbital Scapes, 1 pound bag: $12.00
- Organic Animal Poops, 12 ounce bag: $12.00
- Rainforest Tops, 250 grams bag: $12.00
Note: 250 grams equates to approx. 8.81849 ounces. Oh, look! They found another way to say “smaller than 12 ounces.” How very clever.
Ah, this scenario is a bit more tricky. Which is the best value? We better calculate to a standardized unit of measurement like Price Per Pound (PPP). Some retailers are now using a new common unit of measurement (called “the bag”) that they hope you will swallow hook, line and sinker.
Table of Standardized Prices
Orbital Scapes: $12.00 per pound
Organic Animal Poops: $16.00 per pound
Rainforest Canopy: $21.77 per pound (translates loosely as “fuck you”)
Recommendation: Avoid all coffee sold using metric measurements. Evar!
Out in the street in front of our drive was a sawhorse festooned with a garish sign and, get this, a festive baby blue helium balloon dancing playfully in the air.
My wife knows how to throw a party.
“A balloon,” I said. “Where the hell did you get a helium balloon?”
“At the dollar store.”
“Huh. How much did it cost?”
Dripping with more sweat than Mike Rowe driving a Ford Truck, I had just muscled tons of our most useless crap out on the front lawn. My normally well-oiled brain wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders.
Weird how it was that moment the heavens decided to deluge our asses and stuff. I welled up with despair as I watched the rain beating down against that little helium balloon. I’m proud to say it didn’t fight back much. Soon it lay there, on the ground, like a fresh chunk of roadkill.
It wasn’t a winner, but I knew how to handle that. I dashed out in the rain and pinned it with a “participant” ribbon taken from my trophy collection. It popped and was gone for good.
Our “yard sale” was officially underway.
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SWIM (Someone Who Isn’t Me) is at it again. In this case, SWIM is a person (or persons) alleged to have perpetrated the dastardly deed of opening a beverage container and heretofore not consuming the entirety of the liquid contents contained therein.
Furthermore, it is alleged that these deeds were committed in the unfriendly confines of the Abyss Castle and at great expense to your Guru.
It goes a little something like this:
- SWIM proclaims, “I’m so thirsty!”
- SWIM takes one of your precious cans of 12-ounce beverage. Likely a soda but it may also be a beer.
- SWIM heartily quaffs some of the precious nectar of the gods.
- SWIM sets the can down and aimlessly wanders away leaving a percentage of contents adrift in the oceans of time.
As you might be able to tell by the level of drama and hyperbole, this all pains me so deeply.
Perhaps, you think, why not just pick up the can (yuck!) and take it to SWIM and request the task to be completed? I’ve tried this, and I’m usually subjected to some rendition of “the contents at the bottom don’t taste as good as those on top.”
Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t realize this was the first layered can of beverage in the universe! My bad.
Maybe they think they’re doing me a favor. Those partially filled cans are quite decorative strewn about the house.
Rather than debate such twisted logic, I grabbed my trusty calculator and decided to wow SWIM with some facts.
Assumption: A six-pack of [insert deadly sugary soda of your choice here] costs about $3.00. Even without my calculator I reckon that’s about 50 cents a can.
Q. If someone drinks one ounce of a 12-ounce can, how much did that cost?
A. Assuming $3.00 for a six pack, it works out to cost four cents per ounce. But, if only one ounce was consumed and the can costs 50 cents, then that’s the same as paying 50 cents per ounce. And since the can has 12 ounces, that simple act of unthirstiness creates a $6.00 can of soda.
That’s $6 per can!
I’m sorry, SWIM, but I’d never spend that much on a can of soda for a non-drinker like you.
Gimlet the Dwarf
As a nexus of negativity, this blog has, above all else, an unbreakable commitment to truth and fact. Hell, that’s all you need to be a true negativist!
In that spirit (heh) I now say this:
At least one gimlet was harmed during the creation of this post.
Yes, courtesy of my wife’s desire to imbibe during the early-to-mid early afternoon and pouring the wrong spirits, I got to consume the “mistake.” Ha ha ha!
Let it be known she was making palomas but grabbed the vodka instead of the tequila. Oops! That’s when my solitary superpower kicked in and I saved the day!
Thinking on my feet I handed her the tequila and salvaged the vodka, adding only a dash of Rose’s Lime Juice.
Viola! A gimlet was born! (Then immediately consumed.) And a little something extra I call Afternoon Delight. (That’s code for an ulcer flare-up.)
Make the jump for a few more grimly gimlet details…
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