Thursday, November 11, 2004

Day 63

A funny thing happened at work today. A man refused to pay slaes tax on his free pop.

So this customer, let's call him Gunther, come into my lane with two small food itmes, and two 24 pack cases of pop. He had two coupons, that made each case of pop (valued at $6.00 or so) free for his consumption. I totlaed up the merchandise, then scanned the coupons. The price came up a bit high, and he asked why. I printed off a slip and we noticed there was alot of tax for his two food products. Me, being the college educated genius that I am, realized right away that it charger him the tax for his pop even though it was free. This is usually not pronounced enough for a customer to question (especially when most people we use coupons are famlies who buy $200 worth of groceris). But on such a small pruchase, it stood out.

I patiently explained to him why he had to pay the tax:

Me: You see, even though these coupons made the soda free, we still have to charge you tax because you're still purchasing the pop.

Gunther: No I'm not. It's free.

Me: Alright, I didn't choose my words carefully. The pop appears free, but it's really not. The soda compnay is paying us for you, but you still have to pay the tax.

Gunther: So you're telling me they're not free?

Me: Yes, all you have to pay is the 50 cents or so in tax.

Gunther: I just don't know why I have to pay tax on it when it's free.

Me: But it's not really free. These coupons are like cash. They're tender, like a check. They don't mean you can walk out of here with the pop. You still have to purchase them, you just don't have to pay cash for them. You pay with these coupons.

Gunther: But why can't you just pay the tax? The coupon says it's good for up to $6.50. Just ring it up.

Me: I wouldn't know that deifnitively why I can't do that. I could call a manager. [no response] I suppose it depends on what state you buy your pop in. In Michigan, you'd stil have to pay for deposit. In Montana, you wouldn't have sales tax, so you wouldn't pay anything.

Gunther: But that's a ways to drive.

Me: [half smiling at his lame sarcastic remark] I realize that, but what I mean is that because we live in Colorado [not really] we have a sales tax. And the soda company won't reimburse us for sales tax. So the customer ends up paying for it.

Gunther: I just don't see why I have to pay the tax if they're free.

This went on for a while. He was big, so I was very polite. Two more times I asked him if he'd like to speak with a manager. He said no. We went back and forth. He was a moron. I was the most patient motherfucker on the planet. Cool as a cucumber. He got fed up with his inability to convince me to pay his tax for him and decided he didn't want his two 24 pack cases of pop that were only going to cost him 20-some cents each. He took his food products and left, after holding up my line for six or seven minutes.

Gunther, you cheap bastard. I feel sorry for your family and their pop-free lives.

All in a days work.


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