Author Topic: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt  (Read 1036316 times)

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Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5910 on: November 29, 2012, 11:55:59 AM »
Re: Tax not included in price.

The way sales tax is figured in the US isn't per item, it's per full order (on everything taxable, of course, some things are exempt.)  So including tax in the price isn't possible because sales tax doesn't work that way.

The way it works here (Houston) is that if an item is taxable, it's taxed. If not then it isn't. For example, here in Texas, groceries aren't taxed, but shampoo is. So if you go to the grocery store and pick up a bunch of grapes and a bottle of shampoo, the whole order doesn't get taxed, only the shampoo does.

So yeah, if they wanted to, they could just mark the price of the shampoo as $1.08 instead of marking it $1.00 and then adding .08 tax. They don't do it that way, I'm guessing, because they never have. I would prefer it if they would just tell you the total amount owed from the get go instead of me having to add in the additional 8.25% we have here. (6.25% to the state of Texas, 1% to the City of Houston, 1% to the Metro mass transportation system).

However, once a year in August, shortly before school starts, they have a Tax Free Weekend where stores do not charge tax on clothing under $100 (per item) and certain school supplies such as back packs. So if the items were marked with the whole price including tax, I'm not sure how they'd be able to do this.

But how does it work if you buy the grapes, the shampoo, some light bulbs, and a can opener?  The way it's worked in every state I've ever been in is that everything is totaled except the exempt stuff (the grapes), and that balance is taxed.  As for how they can do it, the cash registers are programmed in advance with what is exempt, and it simply computes [A-B]xC, where A is the total, B is the exempt, and C is the tax (7% would be 1.07, for example).  Even doing it by hand, it wouldn't be difficult to keep two running totals until the end, then apply the tax to one total, and add the other.

Each item that is taxable, the shampoo, light bulbs, and can opener, get a "TX" or some such notation next to them on the receipt so you can tell which items have been taxed. Then you get a total of all items before tax, then a total of the amount of tax you are being charged, then a total owed. I'm assuming that the tax on taxable items is figured on each item and summed, or that the taxable items are summed and the tax figured at the end. I don't know which of those ways the machines are programmed but I don't get separate totals of taxables & nontaxables itemized on my receipt.

That's precisely what I was talking about.  The taxed and exempt items are internal to the register, but it's done via a total of the taxed items, not each particular.  Some time, if you're amazingly bored (and need a lot of stuff), get a lot of things at once and (assuming you know what's exempt in your state) add the tax individually to each item and add it up.  You'll see the total is slightly different.  :)
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lowspark

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5911 on: November 29, 2012, 12:33:07 PM »
I'm guessing you are right, Diane, and they total then tax rather than the other way around. I'm also guessing that unless you are making a fairly high cost purchase of many items, the difference is negligable, as in a penny or two.

In the brief experience I had years ago with collecting taxes and then filing and paying the state quarterly, you reported total sales on which taxes were due/collected, then figured the percentage on that total, and paid that. The state didn't ask how much you collected, so if it came out a few cents more or less than you had collected, well, whatever. You still paid the amount due based on total sales for the quarter. So who knows how that all plays out for a business that collects thousands of $ in taxes on millions of $ in sales. I would bet that the amount they end up paying is different than the amount they collected every time. So each customer who buys multiple items is just a miniature version of that.

cabbageweevil

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5912 on: November 29, 2012, 01:33:34 PM »
All the posts about tax on things in the US -- info appreciated, but pain to my brain has increased exponentially !  Am tempted just now, to feel that there's an upside to the unlikelihood of my being able to afford a transatlantic visit...

sunnygirl

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5913 on: November 29, 2012, 03:28:23 PM »
This just happened.  My immediate supervisor said "Just let it goooooo...."  and I am trying....but I figured I would share it here first.

My supervisor was actually the person who initiated the reference interview.  The patron wanted to read "professional journals."

Professional journals on what?

Professional journals.

What was it the patron wanted to learn about?

I just want to read professional journals so I can learn stuff.

About?

Just give me a list of your professional journals.

At that point, supervisor  had to take a phone call, leaving unmedicated me with the patron who insisted he wanted a list of all the professional journals available so he could read them all.

I explained about our electronic resources and showed him the list of 16000 journals available to him, but I also explained that he couldn't just click on a title and start reading, that he had to have a subject of interest.

I just want to start reading.

At this point, unmedicated me (yes, I left the house in a rush and forgot to take that which makes me less irritable...we call them my "Keep Patrons Alive Drugs")  says "Sir, you can read on any topic you want at any time.  But you can't just go to the first journal and start reading."

"Well I want to know everything."

My supervisor got back into the mix and told him that if what he is after (and it was) is to just start reading professional journals a - z, then we don't have what he is looking for as we are a public library and not a college library.  We offered him what we do have (JAMA, professional journals for librarians, and so forth....nope, he didn't want to read on a topic, he wanted everything. 

And walked away.

Now, here's the thing that's bothering me....I still don't know what it was he wanted to accomplish.  I asked him if he was looking to learn more about a specific profession, because I could get him information about differernt professions with books we had.  Nope.  Was there a topic relating to a specific profession? No.  What did he want to learn about?  Everything. 

Well, I wanted to point out to him that if he wanted to learn "everything" that he should just go to 001 on the bookshelf and start reading and keep going until he hits 999.999.  But apparently that wasn't as good a plan.

And now that I have told my story, I am going to assume the lotus position, do some "ohms" and see if I can let it go.....

Congratulations, I'm pretty sure you just made first contact with Beta 189.A

mrs_deb

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5914 on: November 29, 2012, 04:08:43 PM »
All the posts about tax on things in the US -- info appreciated, but pain to my brain has increased exponentially !  Am tempted just now, to feel that there's an upside to the unlikelihood of my being able to afford a transatlantic visit...

Come to New Hampshire.  We don't HAVE sales tax  ;).

jedikaiti

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5915 on: November 29, 2012, 04:24:42 PM »
As far as taxes go the US as Bill Bryson pointed out, is really a bunch of little countries all banded together so they are jealous about State things. So some States have taxes, some don't and tax rates and what is taxed vary. Just know odds are good that whatever you buy will have taxes and let the clerk tell you the total.

Not to mention that individual cities and counties want their 2 cents as well, and sales tax can vary quite widely from place to place. It is a truly brain-hurty system, even when you're used to it.
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artk2002

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5916 on: November 29, 2012, 05:03:52 PM »
Re: Tax not included in price.

The way sales tax is figured in the US isn't per item, it's per full order (on everything taxable, of course, some things are exempt.)  So including tax in the price isn't possible because sales tax doesn't work that way.

Simple arithmetic says that it doesn't matter. If the tax is 8.5%, then  (X*1.085)+(Y*1.085)+(Z*1.085) = (X+Y+Z)*1.085.  The former applies the tax to each item while the latter applies the tax to the sum total. It's the Distributive Law of arithmetic. I've shopped in places where the tax was included in the price, so it's not impossible.

The real reason for not including the tax in the price is to make the price look lower.  If store A and store B both sell the same item, but store A charges $5.46 including tax while store B charges $5 (plus tax), which are you going to choose? The airlines just got in a world of hurt for leaving a bunch of fees out of their initially quoted prices which was so bad that it was misleading to the consumer.
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Adelaide

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5917 on: November 29, 2012, 06:17:32 PM »
I just saw a Starbucks commercial that started with "Bob and his wife come to Starbucks almost every weekend. Bob hasn't been able to afford to fly home and see his mother in a long time."

Gee Bob, maybe you should lay off the $5 lattes.  ???

Midnight Kitty

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5918 on: November 29, 2012, 06:19:08 PM »
For some reason, I thought that companies decided the retail price for their goods, then stores made the decision to offer the product for less when they have a sale.  Marking all the merchandise with the price plus tax could get very complicated if you must do that for mark-downs, too.  I've seen (national) commercials which advertise a price.  Obviously they can't give the total price because the tax in each city/county/state is different.

In Hawaii, we don't have any sales tax.  We have an excise tax.  The selling party is responsible for paying the state for everything that sells, whether it is goods or services, food or medicine.  The stores add it after totalling all the items.  I think the current rate is something like 4.712%.  Many visitors from Mainland US think our "sales tax" rate is low, but they aren't seeing the full picture.  Every time the goods or services change hands, the excise tax is assessed.  Sales tax only gets paid by the last one to buy it.

I must admit, sales tax and tipping are two of the most brain hurty parts of life in these Unites States. :-\
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Luci

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5919 on: November 29, 2012, 06:44:22 PM »
Re: Tax not included in price.

The way sales tax is figured in the US isn't per item, it's per full order (on everything taxable, of course, some things are exempt.)  So including tax in the price isn't possible because sales tax doesn't work that way.

Simple arithmetic says that it doesn't matter. If the tax is 8.5%, then  (X*1.085)+(Y*1.085)+(Z*1.085) = (X+Y+Z)*1.085.  The former applies the tax to each item while the latter applies the tax to the sum total. It's the Distributive Law of arithmetic. I've shopped in places where the tax was included in the price, so it's not impossible.

The real reason for not including the tax in the price is to make the price look lower.  If store A and store B both sell the same item, but store A charges $5.46 including tax while store B charges $5 (plus tax), which are you going to choose? The airlines just got in a world of hurt for leaving a bunch of fees out of their initially quoted prices which was so bad that it was misleading to the consumer.

I disagree with Art.

The real reason is that these taxing entities, be they state, county, or city, are all separate. It is state's (and other taxing body's) rights, which is a whole important thing in a country as large as ours.

And being who we are, we in the US historically want to know exactly what we are paying and why. It's our stubborn independence and wanting to control as much as we can in our lives.

Midnight Kitty

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5920 on: November 29, 2012, 06:50:05 PM »
Re: Tax not included in price.

The way sales tax is figured in the US isn't per item, it's per full order (on everything taxable, of course, some things are exempt.)  So including tax in the price isn't possible because sales tax doesn't work that way.

Simple arithmetic says that it doesn't matter. If the tax is 8.5%, then  (X*1.085)+(Y*1.085)+(Z*1.085) = (X+Y+Z)*1.085.  The former applies the tax to each item while the latter applies the tax to the sum total. It's the Distributive Law of arithmetic. I've shopped in places where the tax was included in the price, so it's not impossible.

The real reason for not including the tax in the price is to make the price look lower.  If store A and store B both sell the same item, but store A charges $5.46 including tax while store B charges $5 (plus tax), which are you going to choose? The airlines just got in a world of hurt for leaving a bunch of fees out of their initially quoted prices which was so bad that it was misleading to the consumer.

I disagree with Art.

The real reason is that these taxing entities, be they state, county, or city, are all separate. It is state's (and other taxing body's) rights, which is a whole important thing in a country as large as ours.

And being who we are, we in the US historically want to know exactly what we are paying and why. It's our stubborn independence and wanting to control as much as we can in our lives.
My brain hurts thinking about a store with multiple outlets in multiple jurisdictions trying to mark the final price on their goods.
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Slartibartfast

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5921 on: November 29, 2012, 07:47:43 PM »
Major brain hurt with this Dear Prudie letter, "Should I tell my infertile Asian wife that I want all-white babies?"

SERIOUSLY?  I hope this guy has some seriously amazing redeeming qualities, or he's not going to be married for long  :-\

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5922 on: November 29, 2012, 08:06:51 PM »
Re: Tax not included in price.

The way sales tax is figured in the US isn't per item, it's per full order (on everything taxable, of course, some things are exempt.)  So including tax in the price isn't possible because sales tax doesn't work that way.

Simple arithmetic says that it doesn't matter. If the tax is 8.5%, then  (X*1.085)+(Y*1.085)+(Z*1.085) = (X+Y+Z)*1.085.  The former applies the tax to each item while the latter applies the tax to the sum total. It's the Distributive Law of arithmetic. I've shopped in places where the tax was included in the price, so it's not impossible.

The real reason for not including the tax in the price is to make the price look lower.  If store A and store B both sell the same item, but store A charges $5.46 including tax while store B charges $5 (plus tax), which are you going to choose? The airlines just got in a world of hurt for leaving a bunch of fees out of their initially quoted prices which was so bad that it was misleading to the consumer.

Not so.  Percentages, especially on very inexpensive items, will result in fractions of pennies.  Whether it's rounded up, down, or closest, there will be a difference whenever more than a few items are totaled.  Think of it this way... to go with your %8.5 example... do up both totals, but drop all but two decimal places.  I will bet that the sums will be different.
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Betelnut

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5923 on: November 29, 2012, 08:28:11 PM »
All the posts about tax on things in the US -- info appreciated, but pain to my brain has increased exponentially !  Am tempted just now, to feel that there's an upside to the unlikelihood of my being able to afford a transatlantic visit...

Ah, now that makes MY brain hurt!  Don't something like that affect whether you'll travel over here!  It really isn't that big of a deal as long as you remember that the price on an item doesn't include tax. 
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hermanne

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #5924 on: November 29, 2012, 08:37:18 PM »
Major brain hurt with this Dear Prudie letter, "Should I tell my infertile Asian wife that I want all-white babies?"

SERIOUSLY?  I hope this guy has some seriously amazing redeeming qualities, or he's not going to be married for long  :-\

The part that caught me was how he wanted his future kids to look like their cousins. DD and DS's cousins are half Asian, and it doesn't bother them in the least.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2012, 08:40:07 PM by hermanne »
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