Friday, June 22, 2007

Taxes & Paved Driveways

Hey there, it me, Mrs SudsMuffin. I like to chime in every now and then. I'm going to take a departure from our usual business based posts and just relate a couple of things that caught my attention these past few days.

For three consecutive days this week, a driveway in my subdivision was paved over. It's quite obvious because each driveway had a yellow construction tape or ribbon strung across it to allow the new asphalt to harden (or is that cure?). All three homes were in close proximity to each other. Two were across the street from each other. My guess is that these neighbours may all be friends and went in on the job together with a paving contractor in order to secure a better price. Maybe not, but that's what I'm going with.

I never did see which contractor did the job because they started after I drove to work and were gone by the time I drove down that street on my way home. I noticed that the paving contractor really missed a great opportunity to promote his work.

Neighbourhoods are funny. Once one person puts in a new tree, hedge, walkway, garden, etcetera, you see others pop up soon afterwards. So it only stands to reason that upon seeing the freshly paved driveways, others, like myself, naturally wondered who did the work and how much it would cost to do MY driveway too (not that I'm really in the market for that but I like to dream...). Nowhere post-paving, did the contractor leave any indication that his company had done the job. It would have been as simple as a small corrugated plastic sign on a picket, stuck into the lawn by the driveway. How much lost opportunity is that? Was it worth the cost of a few signs with "ABC Paving, 555-1234"?

So that's my paving story.

Today I went to a store to buy something for my shop. I plugged the pre-tax amount of the receipt into my expense tracker on the computer and it calculated a different tax amount than the receipt stated. You see, the store, which opened only recently, charged me 15% tax instead of 14%.

I went back to the store to let them know that their tax rate was incorrect. I was shocked to hear them tell me that they knew this but weren't quite sure how to fix it! For starters, how about at least adjusting the total on a calculator and not pocketing an extra 1% from each customer?

For my purchase, the difference was mere pennies, which they gave me back without me asking for it. However, the point seemed lost on them that I was not concerned about the 1% I was overcharged by, but as a retailer myself, I was concerned about all of their customers, that they have been knowingly defrauding with this hidden tax error. I wonder if anybody else has noticed?

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