In A Very Taxing State

| Learning | March 16, 2015

(I answer phones for a charter school. A lot of people call not understanding that it’s state-funded, so they don’t actually pay anything to us unless they damage our equipment. Usually, the conversation is very quick; the person understands and is happy with the outcome of not paying anything.)

Parent: “Hi, I need to order my daughter’s school books.”

Me: “Not a problem, sir. Oh, I see here that your state will actually provide her a desktop computer to use for her homework. Would you like to add it?”

Parent: “No way. I don’t have money for no computers.”

Me: “Oh, sir, it doesn’t cost you anything. The state pays for it. The only catch is that you have to take care of it and you need to send it back if she is no longer enrolled with us.”

Parent: “Yeah, but I gotta buy a protection plan, huh?”

Me: “No, sir. You don’t buy anything. You can either accept the computer and have it in your home for your daughter to use or you don’t have to accept it if you already have a computer at home.”

Parent: “I don’t have a computer.”

Me: “Would you like me to send the desktop to you for your daughter then?”

Parent: “Well… I don’t know… I don’t want to get scammed or nothing. How much are her books?”

Me: “Nothing. You don’t pay for the books. Same thing with the computer – you have to take care of them and send them back at the end of the school year.”

Parent: “Oh, ho, ho, but I gotta pay ‘shipping and handling’ charges, right?”

Me: “No, sir. You do not pay anything. The state pays for all of this. Just like you don’t buy her textbooks when you send her to public school, you don’t buy them from us either.”

Parent: *mumbling* “Yeah, too good to be true… I bet you people are just gonna run up charges on my credit card.”

Me: “Sir, we do not have your credit card on file. We have not and will not ask for any payment information. This is a state-funded program.”

Parent: “Oh, do I need to give it to you, then?”

Me: *banging head on desk* “No, sir. We do not need any payment information from you. We get payment from the state.”

Parent: “Wait, through my taxes or something?”

Me: “Well, yes, education would typically be funded through your state and local taxes.”

Parent: “I knew you were gonna charge me!” *hangs up*

(The problem was, his daughter was actually enrolled with us so I had to call him back to confirm whether he wanted the stupid computer or not before I could actually place an order for her school supplies. It was a very long day.)

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