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Taxing Taxing, Part 16

, , , , , , | Right | January 24, 2023

I was taking a call for IRS customer service.

Me: “All right, ma’am, I’m going to need you to send in [form] signed by you and your husband.”

Caller: “Why do I have to do it?! I want you to do it!”

Me: “No, ma’am. It has to be signed by you.”

Caller: “Well, I don’t know when I’ll have time.”

Me: “I suggest you make time, as I am not going to forge your signatures on government documents.”

Caller: *Stupidly smug* “Well, I guess you have a decision to make if you want that file to be completed.”

Me: “Since these are your taxes, you are on the hook for refusing to fill them out. Expect to pay through the nose, ma’am. Have a lovely day.” *Click*

Interestingly enough, the form was sent in, signed properly, a short time later. I have no idea how she thought that refusing to sign her own tax paperwork was going to cause ME any trouble.

Taxing Taxing, Part 15
Taxing Taxing, Part 14
Taxing Taxing, Part 13
Taxing Taxing, Part 12
Taxing Taxing, Part 11

And Now My Blood Pressure Is Getting A Raise, Too

, , , , | Right | December 5, 2022

I work in Social Housing. Every year, the rent rises following the rules set by the government. There is an obligated part (the inflation) and a “free” part (which is limited). This year, the CEO of our company decides that we will only do the obligated part for those with the lowest incomes, and those who have an income too high for social housing will get a raise lower than the allowed maximum. If your information with us is outdated, you can appeal the raise and we will recalculate it with the latest information. 

Woman: “I sent in an appeal for my raise; it’s outrageous that I’m getting such a big raise!”

Me: “I understand that a raise is never welcome. I see that your appeal has been received and will be dealt with in the coming days. I—”

Woman: “Well, I think you are a bunch of crooks! And why did you need my personal information? That’s private!”

Me: “The government told us your income was in scale B. We never get details, just what scale people are in. If this information is outdated, we can recalculate it for you, but we do need the correct information, then. We—”

Woman: “I’m telling you it’s wrong! Why do I need to go through the hassle of proving it? “

Note: it’s three income slips and a registration of how many people are registered at your house, which you can download or get at City Hall.

Me: “I understand, but we’re not getting that information from the government or City Hall automatically. Only you have that information or can get it at City Hall. You—”

Woman: “And when I first sent it in, you rejected it because my social security number was on it! What kind of bull is that?!”

Me: “Because, by law, we are not allowed to have your social security number in our system. We are not allowed to see it.”

Woman: “Other companies take it!”

Me: “I cannot talk for other companies. I can only talk about this company, and we are not allowed to see it.”

Woman: “Well then, you should have put that in the letter!”

She’s referring to the one that announced the raise.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but it was in the letter.”

Woman: “No, it was not!”

Me: “Really? I read the letter myself. Let me look it up for you.”

Woman: “It was not in there!”

Me: “I’m reading it now — one moment.”

Woman: “Well, do that on your own time. I have better things to do. My cat wants some attention.”

Yes, she actually said that.

Me: “Here it is: page six. It’s at the header, ‘Mind your SSN’.”

Woman: “Well, that’s not clear at all! No wonder people misunderstand that!”

Me: “It’s a paragraph of about five lines, and it says you must remove your SSN. I’m sorry you—”

Woman: “Well, it’s crap, anyway. Why did you need my personal information, anyway? That’s privacy! I don’t care if you have my SSN; that’s not important, anyway! My privacy is more important!”

She went off on another tirade about how evil the CEO was and kept interrupting me over and over. Eventually, I just gave up on her and told her she’d be contacted. If I told her you can steal someone’s identity with an SSN, she wouldn’t have believed me, anyway. She ended the conversation with a comment about how this all took too long and now her dinner was burned. (It was just after lunchtime.)

This Really Explains A Lot

, , , , , | Working | November 29, 2022

I work for a government agency. I’ve been assigned to mentor [New Employee], which means she shadows me on all of the files I work on, and I provide as much support as possible on the files she’s working on.

One day, after she’s been working with me for two months, [New Employee] cancels a meeting to discuss one of her files with her supervisor and asks if she can talk to me about it, instead.

Me: “So, what’s going on? [File] is due pretty soon.”

New Employee: “Yeah, about that. It turns out I’m not allowed to work on that file.”

Me: “Really?”

New Employee: “Or any file.”

Me: “Wait, what?”

New Employee: “I just got a notification from the Ethics Office. They said that because my husband works for [Company we regulate] and has stock options, I can’t work on any files.”

To be clear, “can’t work on any files” means “can’t do ANYTHING.” This is really bizarre; as a government agency, we can’t have any possibility of impropriety, but that’s usually dealt with by having us recuse ourselves from working on files related to specific companies. My boss just had to recuse himself from working on a file the other day because his wife works for that company. Another coworker recused herself from a file because she’s a customer of that company’s products. That sort of thing. No one I’ve talked to has ever heard of a potential conflict of interest preventing you from working on ANYTHING.

Me: “So… what are you allowed to do?”

New Employee: “I’m allowed to keep attending training. But that’s it. Why would they have hired me if I’m not allowed to do anything?”

Me: “I have no idea.”

This was a week ago, and while [New Employee] and the head of our department are trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on, it hasn’t happened yet. Fingers crossed that they resolve this; otherwise, yeah, wouldn’t the time to notice that she can’t review files be BEFORE hiring her and spending two months training her?

Oh, and if they do resolve it, she will have lost the time she should have spent working on her files. They’ll be due very soon, and she won’t have enough time to complete them. Sometimes working for the government is exactly what I expected.

An Explosive Response

, , , , , , , | Working | November 29, 2022

I’m outdoors when I hear a horrible ringing and grinding noise. I decide to figure out where the noise is coming from. This isn’t hard: the noise is getting louder and seems to be approaching me.

To my shock, a City Of Minneapolis vehicle drives past with a propane tank hanging from a tube connected to a piece of machinery in the back. The propane tank is dragging on the ground, producing the horrible ringing noise.

I whip out my cell phone and get a picture of the plates, the Department Of Transportation number, and the phone number to call. I call the city and attempt to explain what’s happening. When I reach the part about the propane tank dragging on the ground…

Employee: “The tank is what?!

Me: “Dragging on the ground.”

Employee: “How is it dragging?”

Me: “It was connected to a tube that was connected to something in the vehicle.”

Employee: *Slightly hysterical* “So, you’re telling me that a live propane tank is dragging behind this vehicle?”

Me: “Yes.”


Me: “Uh… hello?”


Me: “Uh… Hi, this is [My Name].”

Employee: “Yeah, we were disconnected. I was so surprised by what you told me that I accidentally hung up on you without getting some important information. What were the license number and DOT number of the truck in question again?”

They promised me that they would get in touch with the driver and handle the problem, but I still think it’s both funny and horrifying that they hung up on me mid-call because they were so surprised about the propane tank.

Some Professions Require A Unique Sense Of Humor

, , , , , , | Working | October 6, 2022

This happens while I am working as the emergency planner for our county Health Department. I am in a training session with, among other people, six members of a local fire department. Let it be said that I love working with first responders, if only because they are very funny in a dark sort of way.

Two of them are discussing a piece of equipment.

Fire Dude #1: “Is [radio] firefighter-proof?”

Fire Dude #2: “If you can use it as a wheel chock, it’s firefighter-proof.”

The instructor is a quiet gentleman from Utah who really should have known better.

Instructor: “So, what is the single most dangerous item in your house?”

Fire Dude #2: “My wife.”

The training ends with a tabletop exercise simulating a flood in a resort town.

Instructor: “You still have over fifty people stranded at the (imaginary) hotel. What is your recommended course of action?”

Fire Dude #3: “They’re tourists. Let ’em drown.”

The best part of the training? After lunch, all of the fire dudes showed up wearing hot pink T-shirts with the breast cancer ribbon printed on them. TIGHT hot pink T-shirts.