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    The Unreality Of The Law

    | Scotland, UK | Coworkers, Language & Words

    (Our department deals mainly with qualified lawyers, but we do get occasional calls from ordinary members of the public.)

    Coworker: “It’s a bit complicated to explain. Are you a lawyer or a real person?”

    Email Fail, Part 2

    , | UK | Coworkers, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I work in a back-office job, where one of my previous tasks was approving staff applications for services. Because we’re office-based, staff in other departments rarely meet us. One day, shortly after we move over to a self-service application system to free us up for other tasks, I receive the following email:)

    Coworker: “Approve the application.”

    (Naturally I’m put out that she didn’t even bother to put a greeting line in, but I grit my teeth and reply.)

    Me: “Hi, [Coworker], I’ll need a bit more information before I can help. Could you tell me which service the application is for and if there’s a problem with the automatic approval?”

    Her Email: “Dear [My Name], I didn’t realise I was emailing a real person! I thought it was some sort of clever computer system that I just needed to send a quick yes or no to – so sorry for the very short and not at all detailed message!”

    (She then gave me all the details I needed. Although I couldn’t stay offended after that, I do wonder what she was thinking when she typed my email address in; it has my name in it!)

    Email Fail

    Taxing Taxing, Part 2

    | CA, USA | Employees, Ignoring/Inattentive, Money, Top

    (I’m a graduate student from New Mexico attending San Diego State University in California. It’s my second year in state when I get a call from the California equivalent of the IRS.)

    Tax Board: “We are calling because you didn’t pay your taxes for the previous year.”

    Me: “For which year?”

    Tax Board: “[Year I first arrived in California].”

    Me: “Yes. I was not a California resident that year.”

    Tax Board: “Yes, but you were living in California.”

    Me: “True, but I was maintaining my New Mexico residency. I paid New Mexico state income taxes for that year. I’m a graduate student and since I could not guarantee that I would be staying past the first year, I was maintaining my New Mexico residency in case I didn’t pass through the first year.”

    Tax Board: “But you were still living in California.”

    Me: “But I was not a California resident. What money is this about?”

    Tax Board: “We have a record of interest on [bank account] of $800.”

    Me: “That account is drawn on a bank in New Mexico.”

    Tax Board: “But you were living in California.”

    Me: “But I was maintaining my New Mexico residency. I specifically did not move my accounts over nor did I register my car nor get a driver’s license in California until this year. My voter registration was for New Mexico. I was not a California resident.”

    Tax Board: “But you were living in California when you earned the money.”

    Me: “But I was maintaining my New Mexico residency. I was not a resident of California.”

    Tax Board: “But if you are living in California when you earn money, you must pay California taxes on it.”

    Me: “That makes no sense. That means anybody who is physically in California whenever any interest is earned means they owe California income tax and that clearly isn’t true.”

    Tax Board: “But as soon as you started living in California, you owed California income tax on any money you earned. You weren’t just visiting. You were living here.”

    Me: “Wait a minute. It seems every government agency here in California has a different idea of ‘residency.’ The DMV seems to think I needed to register my car as soon as I drove over the border from Arizona. The university says I’m not a resident until I’ve lived here a year. And now you’re telling me that I’m a resident as soon as I earned any money.”

    Tax Board: “Yes, you owe California income tax on money you earned while living in California.”

    Me: “You say I owe taxes on $800 of interest income? That’s what, eight dollars of taxes I owe?”

    Tax Board: “That’s right.”

    Me: “I’ll be happy to write you a check for $8 in exchange for a refund of the $10,000 in out-of-state tuition I had to pay.”

    Tax Board: “Excuse me?”

    Me: “If I’m liable for taxes, then I demand the services that those taxes paid for. San Diego State is a state-run institution. It is funded by my tax revenues. I was charged out-of-state tuition. But you, the tax franchise board, are saying that I am a resident of California. Refund me my out-of-state tuition. You can take the eight bucks out of that.”

    Tax Board: “… I think we might be able to overlook this.”

    Taxing Taxing

    He Doesn’t Know What To Down (Under)

    | Fitchburg, MA, USA | Bigotry, Bizarre/Silly, Employees, Theme Of The Month

    (I’m on the phone signing up for unemployment.)

    Worker: “What is your race?”

    Me: “White, Caucasian.”

    Worker: “Are you a US citizen?”

    Me: “No.”

    Worker: “Wait, what? Yes you are!”

    Me: “Um, no. No I’m not a citizen.”

    Worker: “But you said ‘white’ before.”

    Me: “Yeah, I’m definitely white. I’m Australian with British parents.”

    Worker: “You sure?”

    Me: “Pretty sure yeah. You should see me dance!”

    Worker: *laughing* “Well, I gotta put something for race, because the way they have it, ‘white’ is for US citizen.”

    Me: “That’s… weird.”

    (This is probably my 5th time signing up for unemployment, and I’ve never heard of this. I have no idea what she put for my race. But I’m kind of dying to know now!)

    His Chances Are Shot

    | Wrexham, Wales, UK | Job Seekers

    (A client comes up to my desk to apply for an advertised job vacancy. He seems suitably qualified, so I phone the employer to arrange an interview.)

    Me: “Hi, I have a Mr. [client name] with me. He’d—”

    Employer: “No.” *hangs up*

    Me: *to client* “Right… Looks like he doesn’t want to talk to you.”

    Client: “Wait, what was the guy’s name again?”

    Me: “It is [employer’s name].”

    Client: “Aw s***, sorry mate. If I’d known it was him, I wouldn’t even have bothered. I shot his son in the leg a couple of years back. It was an accident, but for some reason he’s had a grudge against me ever since.”

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