|It’s the little things in life that drive me crazy.|
My friend, Stacey Roberts, author of the hysterical book, Trailer Trash, with a Girl’s Name, chided me. “When are you going to finish that new book of yours?”
He read the manuscript prior to revisions and raved over it, stating that “It’s your best book yet.”
Ain’t it lovely to have encouragement like that?
The book is finished; I’m at the revisions and editing stage, a harrowing, time-consuming and nitty-gritty kind of job. In other words, it’s not fun.
“Oh, I’m working on it right now,” I told him. Luckily, we communicate via chat messages so he couldn’t see that I had my jacket on and one foot out of my front door.
Nothing like a little retail therapy to clear the mind of drudgery work.
Walmart is the closest store for shopping in my community. You gotta travel should you want or need anything outside of what is sold at Walmart. Actually, Walmart replaced Jamesway - one of the lowest levels of retail since Neanderthal days.
Since I’m one of those struggling artists (I’m sure you know the type), I count every penny. Even found myself using coupons and saving a shitload of money. Today, I had to go to Walmart to pick up some mandatory items and while there, skin care products, in particular Simple Foam Cleanser and Toner.
Before I went, I decided to check out pricing in dire hopes of a sale or printable coupon. With the computer open, that’s how I ended up chatting online with Stacey.
I looked for the toner and found this on Target:
The price is $4.79. Then, I went online to Walmart and found the price $4.74:
Strangely, at the physical Walmart store, the price was $5.79 so I went to their customer service. Luckily, it was off-peak so there was no wait.
“You should always check pricing before you shop here,” advised the customer service rep. “That’s how you get savings.”
I groaned. Retail therapy will no longer work on me knowing that I’m constantly ripped off, even by Walmart.
She rang it up and then I left happy to save a $1. But something nagged at me.
It was the math.
She gave me the price of $4.74 with a sales tax of 6.25% totaling an aggregate of $5.12. First off, sales tax is 8%. But, if I’m going to have a sales tax of 6.25%, well I’m in.
The closer I walked to my car, the more irritated I got. You see, I have this habit, after 36 years on Wall Street: I mentally do math to keep my mind alert. Imagine if I didn’t!!
And the tax didn’t add up.
The reason is that 6.25% of $4.74 is 30 cents (rounding up to two decimal points) whereas 38 cents tax (which I was charged) is a tax rate of 8%.
I went back in and approached the Customer Service rep.
“The math is wrong. Please check with a calculator.”
Besides treating me like a lunatic, as it seems no one calculates the tax, she called her manager.
Before she ran away from me, she said, “The tax rate is correct. Cosmetics are taxed at 6.25%.”
I never knew that one before.
After a while, the manager came out, grabbed my receipt, went behind closed doors for a while and then returned. They couldn’t be nicer refunding me 10 cents (2 cents more than I should’ve received).
But, it was the damn PRINCIPLE OF THE THING!
I thought the sales tax up here is 8%, but they’re telling me it’s 6.25% for cosmetics. So, I checked.
4% to the State
4% to the County
Damn, if Walmart wants to give us a tax break, give it to us! Just don’t have 6.25% and charge us 8%!
By the time I got home, I was too annoyed to do any work on my new book.
Tomorrow’s another day.
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