Asking me to sell goods without charging sales tax is not an option in my shop, so please don't ask. I’ve been bullied and basically called foolish for not partaking in stashing cash because apparently as the words have implied “everyone is doing it”. If this statement were true, no wonder schools close, programs are cut, highways don't get mended and jobs are in jeopardy. I personally don’t believe that statement to be true and if it is, that would be very sad for everyone in this country. But in the meantime, instead of being applauded for being honest, hardworking and supportive of this nation we live in, I've been asked to go against the grain and do something I’m not comfortable with.
Over the years I’ve heard a few shady things but I've stood my ground. One woman, a school teacher, asked me to write her a receipt for $300.00 for a beginner class and then she would buy things in my shop and get reimbursed when back to work. No wonder the world is in trouble if the masses cheat the system. I said no, I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this and she walked out of the store. There was a part of me that wanted to phone her school to snitch but I can’t fight battles that aren’t mine. I keep my nose clean, mind my own business in the hopes that others will do the same; I have no interest or energy to take on the world. A hungrier retailer might have succumbed to the chance to make a sale but I have to do what I believe in to keep my head high. I wondered why a complete stranger felt so comfortable asking for such a dishonest favour? Perhaps she’d done it before, after all it was no skin off her back if I said no, and if I said yes, she would be the benefactor of some free goods.
Recently I was told by a customer’s husband that he refuses to pay tax because the government left him behind in Vietnam to die. His story was that “the government” wouldn’t spend the money to gas up a helicopter to come in and save him. I didn’t ask for details, even though I was a bit confused knowing that Canadian’s weren’t in that war, but hubby tells me that mercenary soldiers had the option to go to the states and sign up, which begs the question, why was he so pissed at our government? Regardless, trying to get out of paying tax is not a slight on the government. It’s a slight on the people. We elect the government to run our country…people think the government is separate from the people, but it is one in the same. You aren’t just cheating the big man at 24 Sussex out of a lobster dinner, which is what I am told repeatedly, you're ripping off all your fellow citizens. And yes there are politicians who are dishonest and pad their expense accounts, we hear it on the news, and those who take kick backs and so on, but that is where two wrongs don't make a right come in. I believe we all do what our conscience allows, and mine doesn't care about a bit of corruption in the system, there are laws to take care of that, I have to believe that most of our elected officials are honest and in the meantime, I have to live with me and what I feel comfortable with.
I only succumbed once because of a sob story attached to the demand and after they left I voided the slip, made out a proper one and paid the tax on the items myself, all the while swearing an oath never to do it again. I felt as crooked as a bonsai branch and a bit ill in my stomach. I worked for an accounting office once and witnessed a few corner cuts, borderline shady things and I never liked it. I don't even cheat on my income taxes which might made me a freak but I'm a freak that sleeps nights.
I'm told to write things on the sales slip as damaged and broken, sell them for reduced prices and then pocket the rest in cash, sigh, how does anyone keep it all straight. How do you know how much money you've made at year end if it isn't all accounted for legitimately. I don't have the time or inclination to keep a second set of books. Really I couldn't get up early enough in the morning to come up with ways to cheat the system.
A woman bullied me several times to sell her goods without tax. Being a business woman herself, I was surprised that the concept of inventory in, inventory out didn’t matter. She would say things like, "I’ll buy this hook but I’m not paying tax." matter-of-factly, leaving no room for negotiation. No tax, no slip. If I'm audited where am I supposed to say the products went when there is no slip to prove it went out the door?
This woman told me that everyone does it and I’m foolish not to pocket cash from the business. She told me I didn’t understand the process and after being pummeled with the reasons I should do it and how I didn't understand how the process words, I asked to be enlightened and she obliged. Example: The deal was for me to sell a$30.00 retail priced item to her at cost, say $20.00. The sale’s slip would reflect the tax of $3.00 for a total sale of $23.00. Then she would hand me cash of $7.00 to make up the difference to total the full retail price of $30.00. So she saves $4.50? And I feel like crap? Forget it!
My comment was, who in their right mind would sell items for cost? If I was ever audited that would send up a red flag. She said I won’t be audited and even if they did they wouldn’t care. I was quite surprised; I didn’t realize she was a practicing clairvoyant. Somewhere down the road cheating would bite me in the arse as quick as a flea on a dog, and I’d be stuck paying the tax for those items and probably fined as well, but there was no thought or care about that. One thing an auditor isn't....stupid......they've seen and heard it all so what makes the little shop owner think they can get away with financial indiscretions. I might not be the most savvy business woman in the world but I like going to bed without fretting if I'll get caught doing something underhanded. I’m hardworking and honest, my books are legit and I'm proud of that fact!!!!
I was getting pretty annoyed and the more I protested the more I felt like the word “stupid” was on the tip of her tongue. Instead of saying to me, Wow Christine, I have to say I’m impressed that you’re so honourable,” Instead she’s telling me I’m foolish not to stuff as much cash in my pocket as possible. She says she pays enough tax and doesn't feel she has to pay extra for recreational items. Well if that’s how she feels it’s her cross to bear, just don’t ask me to compromise my standard.
My closest friends buy supplies from me and I don’t sell under the table or give them tax breaks, why would I do that for a stranger or just a casual acquaintance? Who would risk a shit storm reigning down on their business for some random person on the other side of the counter? Who's to say they don’t work for Revenue Canada testing the waters? Why would anyone take chances when the penalties and fines could cripple you financially?
I am so happy to wake in the morning to the sound of birds chirping in the trees, rising from a peaceful night’s sleep with not a care in the world. The biggest quandary of my morning is how to cook my eggs. So many people around the world aren’t as lucky; they wake to mortar fire and the screams of their sons dying in the streets. Some people wake with gut burning hunger left over from the day before, knowing there is nothing to feed their children. People, and lots of times, small children work in sweat shops from the break of dawn to sunset, how they would love to live in a country where the water is clean and they have rights to prevent these atrocities. Living in Canada we are free, and freedom costs which I don’t mind helping to pay for.......