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?
- 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!
We watched a few episodes of a so-called reality show about people who turn over storage units for a living, like it’s a career or something. It’s like the modern version of treasure hunting. Except it’s not.
One time a friend told me how she had lost a bunch of her possessions. It was mostly junk like furniture and knickknacks that wouldn’t fit at her house but it also included irreplaceable family heirlooms and stuff like family photos.
She stopped paying for the thing and – poof – her stuff was gone. “Why didn’t you tell me,” I cried. “I’d have paid your account so at least you could get the important shit.”
It was too late. The shit was gone. As in forever gone. There had been an auction. They sure didn’t waste any time.
Oh well. Easy come and super easy go.
I decided right then and there that I had to get me one of those shiny storage unit things. But I also had to remain true to myself and my core values. I was going to do this the Tom B. Taker way.
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I’ve never purchased anything from Abercrombie & Fitch in my entire life. Suddenly that fact pleases me greatly.
Director of Content and Community Strategy, Geben Communication
I remember the moment as though it were yesterday (which is saying a lot, because it was nearly two decades ago…) Last week of 8th grade. One of the “popular girls” walked over to me in gym class and asked if she could write in my yearbook. When she handed my book back, I excitedly turned the cover, only to discover that she had written (in beautiful penmanship) the following:
Have a great summer. Stay thin.
Except the word “thin” had been crossed out with a single line.
I have always struggled with my weight. Big-boned. Plus-size. Thick. Curvy. Voluptuous. Padded. Pick your adjective. Over the years I learned to deal with it in different ways. I learned to ignore it. Compensate for it. Deny it. Dress it up. Cover it over. Like everyone who struggles with something physical, I…
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This post is dedicated to The Boss whoever it* may be. Ed.
It happened on a work day. (Holy fuck. Is that the scariest opening ever or what?)
It was the arrival of a package that prompted the fun. The boss stopped everything he was doing. Ooh, a package had arrived.
Must. Open. Now.
His fleshy, grubby and unwashed digits picked up the box and it rotated in his massive NFL-style steroid-induced mitts. A piece of gooey food substance jiggled in his beard as he moved.
“Oh look,” he said. “I got something for you.”
Inside? You guessed it. New business cards for my department, the department where he always claimed I was in charge and had autonomy.
The cards were emblazoned with his name. Not mine. And underneath, the business title was printed. “Manager.”
Some time later he indicated with an explosion of gas that he had a “task” for me.
All hail the task!
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When I get bigger everyone is happy. When I shrink everyone is sad. But what am I?
On so-called “Cyber Monday” yesterday internet purchases were up 27% from the year before. This is because consumers have higher confidence in me. Feels good! Yes, I need that sort of validation. I get off on you getting off on me.