Years and years ago, my home state decided to make a special Tax-Free week on computer purchases.  This was to help students, stimulate the economy, blah blah blah whatever.  As you can expect, the fish went nuts over this, and anyone who intended to buy a computer ever tended to wait until that weekend to do it.

What was it like?  I dunno, I didn’t work at Circuit City then.  But I did have the pleasure of being employed there several years later.  As in, well after the practice had been stopped and a new governor had been elected.  Fish could never get the concept that they’d missed the boat.

“So, when are you doing that Tax-Free thing again?”

“Probably never.”

“No no no!  You do it every year!”

“There hasn’t been one in several years.  Not since the new governor was elected.”

“Well, they should!”

“…Take it up with your elected officials.  They’re the ones who control sales tax, not us.”

“Maybe you should ask your manager.”

“My manager has nothing to do with it.  Unless the state says otherwise, we collect sales tax.”

“I’m pretty sure I saw something about it happening next week.  You should check.”

“Our computers automatically collect sales tax, so if a Tax-Free week was coming, I can guarantee you there would have been a notice pushed down.  But just to make my point…”  I open up a web browser and do a search for Tax-Free computer sales.  There are conspicuously NO mentions of it from any point less than three years earlier.

“Well… that don’t make sense.  I’m pretty sure there’s gotta be one.”

“Well, if one ever happens, I’m sure we’ll be ready for it.”

“Why don’t we just ring it up and you deduct the cost of the tax?”

“How about you show me where you’re going to find a better price on this computer in the first place, tax or not, and then we’ll talk?”

“Hey!  Well, if I don’t wanna pay tax, I can just get in my car and drive to Delaware to buy this exact same computer.  I won’t pay tax then!”

“That’s true.  And if you feel like gassing up and spending all day driving, feel free.  I can give you directions, if you’d like.  I can even check to see if they have it in stock.”

And with that, they’d go off to sulk about how I wouldn’t give them a huge discount on a computer they weren’t going to buy anyway.

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