April 16, 2004 - Ed and Taxes
For edhat.com, Tax Day represented a big step in our company’s development. Last year we were just a twinkle in our parent company’s eyes. This year we are a major write-off! For the members of the dedicated staff, who possess independent sources of wealth, day jobs, and successful gambling systems, Tax Day is just the annual event where we write big checks to our government so they can do things with which we don’t agree.
They say in the commercial, "I smell refund!” Unfortunately, the only thing we smelled this year was refried beans … about all we’ll be eating this month after the IRS cleaned out our bank accounts. Because we knew that payment was due, the dedicated staffers were procrastinators, not completing and mailing our taxes until yesterday. We hear stories each year of people finishing their taxes in February. We also hear stories of people who like the Anna Nicole Smith TV show.
Last night between 9:00 and 9:30, the dedicated staff was sitting on the steps of the downtown post office, counting the number of last minute filers dropping off their taxes in the after-hours. Just as they have done on previous April 15ths, the post office provided friendly curbside service up until midnight. Downtown, there were two postal workers (one man, one woman) who graciously collected signed-sealed-and-stamped tax returns from drivers passing by. The workers also answered questions about where to get forms, stamps, tape, envelopes, addresses, and zip codes. They even gave out tax advice. The only time the dedicated staff saw any signs of “going postal” was when one young woman asked where she could park.
“On the street where you normally do,” said the postal employee. She should have added, “The post office’s premium valet service is only available during normal business hours.”
Almost all of the people dropping off their taxes at the last minute, late at night, were kind and grateful. There were many, “thanks”, “we appreciate it”, and “this is great”. There was even an “I love you!” And, at one point a Red Bull car pulled up with a giant Red Bull can in the back and gave the worker a free drink!
Another interesting observation from our taxing night was the groovy couple who stopped their giant BMW just beyond the mailing location, popped open their giant BMW trunk, and pulled out two puny tax envelopes for mailing. Big car, small returns – it looked kind of funny.
The dedicated staff also noticed a great number of dogs accompanying the tax filers. “Come on Sparky. Let’s go pay our taxes!” Sparky doesn’t mind. He is man’s best friend. There were also many cell phones calls that continued on even as the drivers were handing over their returns. And, there were lots of people pulling up to the hand-off point with the corner of their tax envelope in their mouths as if they were chewing on a hangnail.
After 30 minutes, we had counted 109 cars and 19 pedestrians dropping off their taxes. That is 128 total, 256/hour, and roughly 4/minute. Apparently, things had slowed down a little from the late afternoon when Jeremy Schafer, the manager of Left at Albuquerque, spent 3 hours passing out free appetizer coupons to drivers waiting in line. In that time, he gave out 700 coupons - and not everyone took one!
Our subscribers, who probably filed early, guessed low for the contest. The median guess was 48. Edsel won the contest with a guess of 130. We think it would have no bearing on Edsel’s Alternative Minimum Tax to accept free movie tickets, edhat shirt, or coffee card.
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>> note: pictures above were taken just after 6:00 PM