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?
Diner At Eats
Good news. By clicking to read this post an 18% gratuity has already been added to your bill.
Don’t worry. We still provide a space for “tip” that allows you to recognize unparalleled service. You don’t normally review your charges, do you? Have you tipped 20% on top of an 18% gratuity lately? Trust me. It’s fun.
I survive on your tips. The lion’s share of the profits go to management. Luckily, though, my proceeds are not subject to “protection” charges by the blogosphere syndicate. I haven’t been syndicated. At least not yet. Won’t you help pay my way through college?
A local restaurant just closed. The “chef” had her parents invest lots of their own money which I can only assume has now vaporized. The building is shuttered and construction workers have brought in scaffolding and are tearing things apart.
The food had a reputation for being quite good but the portions were notoriously tiny. The prices were though the roof and the place was easily one of the most expensive in town. The restaurant never seemed to do anything about bad service though the stories were the stuff of legend and spread like wildfire through our small town.
I heard the chef had an explanation for her failed enterprise. “The community just didn’t support us.” Yeah, I’m sure she’ll be successful wherever she lands.
After doing Saturday morning computer work for a friend, I was “paid” with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for this very same restaurant. Hell, that probably makes it my fault they closed just a few days later. Whatever. Yet another guru freebie and without gratuity, to boot! I guess I should frame that coupon and hang it on my wall to remind me of how the world works.
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How To Survive After A Disaster
I am not in the mood for writing. Not at all. So I’m not gonna. Today I’m just going to go wordless because Wednesday is making me its bitch. No words for you!
Gurney Halleck: Not in the mood? Mood’s a thing for cattle and loveplay, not writing!
Tom B. Taker: I’m sorry Gurney.
Gurney Halleck: Not sorry enough!!!
Okay, okay! Dammit. I will wordlessly through the power of magic share one of my most top secret survival tips of all time. For you, the loyal reader, this is when all the bullshit you’ve put up with finally pays off.
Any idiot can survive a disaster: natural, manmade, Godmade, or otherwise. All it takes is shit-ass luck. So you survived. What do you want? A medal. Fuck that. Now comes the hard part.
Surviving your fellow human beings.
Good luck. You’re gonna need it.
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I love WordPress. Okay, enough of that love fest. Let’s get into the rants.
Today I only have three rants. Well, four, if you count the fact that I’m rapidly approaching 1,000 days of posts without missing a single day and I’ve never been Freshly Pressed. If an infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of typewriters given an infinite amount of time can produce the complete works of William Shakespeare, surely even an idiot like myself could hit pay dirt one time? Come on!!! Meanwhile I know a lot of people who have been there, done that, and within only a week of launching their blogs. Ah, the fortunate ones.
Feedback like “you suck” is really valuable. At least here in the Abyss. Actually, I commend them wholeheartedly for enforcing certain standards. If I was to be Freshly Pressed, I’m sure it would be like matter and anti-matter touching. It would destroy the universe as we know it. And practically no one wants that!
Anyway, I promised rants. Here we go.
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10 blog writing tips to ignore
I recently had a brutality visit me regarding my blog.
While signing up for podcast hosting, I was asked to categorize my blog. This is when I realized, “Gee. I must be weird.” When something is that hard to define, you just might have a problem on your hands.
Politics? No, even though I occasionally tackle that topic.
Education? Maybe to some small degree. Guru advice on negativity and the gerbil studies institute (G.R.I.P.E.) might count. (Admittedly that’s quite a stretch.)
Philosophy? Science? Religion? Recipes? Babies? Cats? It seems I’ve dabbled all over the place. Am I just scatterbrained?
Turning to my “tag cloud” for inspiration I realized my #1 all-time tag is “poop.” But I didn’t see a category for that. How could anyone leave “poop” off a list of blog categories? Unconscionable!
Since my blog hops around more than a Mexican jumping bean, this left me in a quicksand of quandary. That simple question about “categorization” had forced me to come face to face some some grim demons.
Bottom line? I had to go with a branch of “Entertainment.” More specifically, “Comedy.” If I’m brutally honest with myself that’s really the only thing that fits, all things considered.
So yeah, when it comes to my blog, I’m an … entertainer. Note: That is decidedly not that same as saying anyone who ever reads this blog is “entertained.” Those are two wildly different things!
So I selected “Comedy” from the drop down list and saved my entry.
But that’s not all. Then I came across one of those “list” posts. You know the type? Where they garishly entice you in with the sparkly promise of “top ten” of this or the “six ways” to improve that?
Blah blah blah.
Lists are popular. Lists attract readers. Magazines and newsstands know this. Next time you see some magazines look for this phenomenon. See anything like this? “The top 10 ways Bennifer conspired with TomKat behind Brangelina’s back.”
Yes, don’t overlook the fact I’m doing the very same thing in this post. Meh. Don’t be angry at me. You’re the one who fell for it!
Anywho, the list I came across was something like “Top Blogging Tips” and as I read those tips, a familiar sinking feeling began to engulf me.
Me and my blog violated all of them.
Wow. That’s some talent! Without further ado here are some of the promised 10 ways I suck:
- “Cultivate Good Writing.” Ha! Nuff said. Let’s move on.
- “Don’t write about yourself.” Ooops!
- “Try not to whine or complain too much.” Actually, here I think I do okay. I can’t stand complaining. That’s probably the one area of my life where I show the most restraint, don’t ya think?
The other seven examples were cut by my editor prior to publication. Unfortunately our headline writer was not informed.
So, I don’t know. Personally I think wallowing in filth, despair and self-pity makes for compelling blogging, but that’s just me. I’m open-minded enough to realize not everyone may agree.
A cool tip to improve your online writing
Here’s today’s thought-provoking tip for writing online. (This alleged “tip” is pretty much useless on typewriters and such.)
Tip: Never use the number eight followed by a right parentheses. Ever. Somewhere down the line some device or web site or widget will turn that character sequence into the “cool” smiley.
Case in point: http://broadsideblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/ten-ways-to-seriously-improve-your-writing/
Just look at that little bastard there, all smiling and shit, feeling oh so proud of himself! I found the unexpected presence of the cool smiling in a post about improving your writing just a little ironic. 🙂
If you must number things, use “ordered lists.” (If you are in HTML.) WordPress provides a little icon for that in their online editor. If not, then try using periods. They seem less susceptible to involuntary smiley replacements.
Feeling helpful – a WordPress tip
I’m still relatively new to the WordPress community, but I am loving it. And I’m trying earnestly to educate myself and learn a bit more every day. Still, most of you leave me in awe. I’m not worthy!
One thing I’ve noticed is that when it comes to blogging, comments are certainly a contender for coin of the realm. Personally I love them, and I love leaving them, too. They seem to me to be the lifeblood of blogging.
As a grizzled internet veteran of many forum wars, I think I (mostly) know the lay of the land, although the blogging world has some distinct differences. For example, it seems obvious that when leaving a comment on someone else’s blog there are a few unstated rules that should be obvious and intuitive:
In other words, try to be a good neighbor.
I frequently see comments like this:
The thing is, the username on this comment is not a link so the commenter has manually added their site URL into the comment itself. This may not be “bad form” but I think it is better (and more subtle) to simply make the username a clickable link back to the commenter’s blog.
Here is how you do that in the current iteration of WordPress:
That’s it. After doing that, all of your comments from then on will automatically make your username a link back to your blog or website. It’s a subtle bit of guerrilla marketing. You’re showing us your genius in your comments, so you should make it easy for your fans to click and go read more of your good stuff. 🙂