Category Archives: Taxes

Price Tags

I went down to the local convenience store today to purchase a tasty beverage. The sign in the glass cooler window read “$2.39” below the bottles I desired to purchase, so I grabbed a bottle of soda and went to the counter to pay. “That will be Two Sixty-Two,” the lady at the register announced. “Oh, ” I replied in my sweetest voice, “there must be some mistake – the sign in the cooler said this costs $2.39.” “That’s right,” the lady continued, “but then there are fees and taxes on top of that price.” “Well why doesn’t your sign read ‘$2.62’ then?” She shrugged her shoulders in reply.

Bottles of Pepsi In A Cooler at a Convenience Stor

This practice of posting the base price only even though there are additional costs that must be paid prior to purchase is preposterous.

It’s 2014 – Is anyone really being fooled?

Why not have the price tags just show the “this is how much it will cost you to walk out of here with one of these” price?  That’s what we’re all interested in after all, isn’t it? I took a look at the receipt, which outlined the additional costs involved:

  • Pepsi Cola – $2.39
  • Plastic Deposit – $0.10
  • Plastic Recycling Fee – $0.01
  • GST (National tax in Canada) – $0.12

Would it not make more sense to just show the customer what the bottom line price is at the product? You could still break out these line items on the receipt for those so inclined to know, but at the end of the day, I’m still going to have to pay all the fees and deposits and taxes anyway, wouldn’t it be better if I wasn’t annoyed and frustrated by the process? It’s almost a bait & switch.  I wonder if I’d have an argument to say that I was charged more than the advertised price of the product in this case? After all, the price tags on the shelves do not say “Plus Deposit and Taxes…”

Do It Yourself

One year during tax season, I was gathering all my papers to send to my accountant when I realized that my T4 was nowhere to be found. A procrastinator at heart, this was only a few days before the annual tax deadline, but I have an awesome accountant who is used to my last-minute requests. I searched all my folders, checking to see if it possibly got misfiled, but when I succumbed to defeat, I went the following day and visited the HR department of the company I work at. “Oh it’s easy.” the lady from HR informed me. “Just go online and you can get any of the information you need.” She gave me the web site address, and so I went about my day. That evening when I got home, I sat down at the computer to try this online approach. Registering for an account was quite a lengthy process, demanding all sorts of tidbits of specific information I did not have at the ready. When all was said and done, my new account was created and I foolishly imagined myself a few clicks away from the last piece of documentation I would need to send my package off to the accountant. Then the web site informs me that for security reasons, they must MAIL me a top secret decoder ring code before I can use their web site. Naturally, this would take 7-10 days business days to arrive, and thus there was no way I’d make the tax deadline.

I returned to the HR department and reported my misadventure to the lady, who then suddenly remembered the mailing requirement. Suddenly very helpful, she now says “Here, I’ll go print your T4 for you” and returned a moment later with it in hand. I smiled and gave her a big “thank-you”, which could have been subtitled “… but why didn’t you just do that in the first place?” Sigh…