Morton Fox (mortonfox) wrote,
Morton Fox

The Perils of Postcard Purchasing

Horse of a Different Color

Just when I thought it was safe to file my taxes, I got another 1099 correction from Ameritrade! This time, I noticed that the nontaxed distribution amount changed a bit. Unfortunately, some companies rework their numbers and reclassify portions of their distributions months after the fact, and there's nothing either Ameritrade or I can do about it. At some point, I'll just have to bite the bullet and file and put any further corrections into a 1040X form. But that can wait a few more days.

I was almost out of postcards for Postcrossing (70 sent, 66 received), so I went to the nearby Garden State Parkway service area to buy more New York City postcards. The service area doesn't seem to sell a whole lot of postcards. Almost every time I go there to buy postcards, I have to deal with a cashier who is either unfamiliar with how those cards are priced or how that price should be entered into the cash register. This time, it was both.

I picked 18 cards from the display rack and brought them to the cashier. He said those were 40 cents per card and was about to punch that price into the register, when I pointed out that the cards were 3 for a dollar. "Oh yeah," he said, "3 for a dollar." I was amazed at what happened next. He actually had to count out loud from 1 to 18 to find out how many times 3 went into 18! See? All of you out there reading this, who take your own superior math skills for granted, don't know what it's like to not be able to perform simple division. On the other hand, I'm also embarrassed for our educational system.

One thing I noticed about the postcards at the service area is those don't carry a sales tax. Just across the state line in New York State, postcards are not only taxed but also more expensive. (And paying more for postcards doesn't get me smarter cashiers, as I found out on trips to upstate NY.) So for cheaper tax-free postcards this side of the state line, I'm willing to tolerate some cashier quirks.

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