Thursday, March 15, 2007

If you put the forms out, they will come.

Yeah, I figured that would do it. Writing that we haven't had any problems with tax form people is the easiest way to summon precisely that sort of problem. Sure enough, today, just after everyone else on staff had left the building to go to lunch, a big ol' wingnut of a form-seeker ambled up to the desk.

"I need state tax forms."

"We have those," I said, warming up to direct him to the large display of forms he'd just walked past.

"I need s-corporation state forms for 2003, 2004 and 2006. And personal forms for 2003, 2004 and 2006."

Already I was at a disadvantage, for I've never heard of an s-corporation before, but I figured I could find it on the state's tax form page.

"Well, the personal forms we already have. At least, for 2006," I explained. "The rest I'll try to find for you from their site."

"Yeah, they said you'd probably have to look `em up," he said. Ah, yes. The mysterious THEY. "You say you got personal forms here?" he added.

"Yes," I said, pointing at the top of the floor shelf behind him. "They're on the other side of that shelf, in the bins."

The man walked around to the other side where he began staring at the piles of federal tax forms stacked directly next to the three bins containing state booklets. "Oh, in the bins," he said with the tone of a statement. He still wasn't seeing them.

"No, in the bins," I said. "In the plastic bins," I added. "In the yellow, white and black plastic bins," I continued. He looked in every conceivable place EXCEPT at the bins.

"The bins?" he said.

"Yes, the plastic bins... The bins.... No, the BINS... The PLASTIC bins," I said.

I don't know why I expected more from a man who, apparently, had failed to pay his taxes for the past four years for either himself or his business (except, apparently, for 2005). After a few more tries, he finally spotted them. As he dug around, I brought up the state's tax form site and began looking for s-corp forms. There were none to be found on just a cursory glance so I started a search for them. I did note, though, that the site only offered forms for years since 2004.

Another man came up to the desk while I searched, so I paused to ask if I could help him.

"Yeah, you're holding some c0ntract0rs books for me," he said. Aw great. As if searching for obscure forms wasn't keeping me busy enough during my solo desk time, I had to deal with deposit books and all the headaches they entail.

I hate the c0ntract0rs manuals and I'm usually none too fond of the people who seek them. I had nothing against this particular guy, except that he and another would-be-c0ntract0r have been competing for the same set of books for the past three weeks. They've been driving us crazy by phoning to place holds on them, then not picking them up by the prescribed pickup time, then getting pissy about it when the books aren't there for them when they roll in two days late, then the guy who did get the books gets pissy that he has to bring them back after his week's loan time has passed cause the other guy now has them on hold again too, then getting pissy again when told he will lose his deposit if he doesn't, etc., etc., etc. The checkout process on the books is also an enormous hassle, cause we have to calculate the deposit amount (over $500 if they want the whole set), make them sign two identical deposit book policy forms (one for us, one for them), then we have to make them go back and actually READ the frickin' forms they just blindly signed, not to mention TAKE their copy of the form, so they have no excuse to give us enormous amounts of shit a week later, etc., etc., etc. This guy was very patient, though, even after I told him it was going to be a minute due to my tax form search.

I came up goose eggs on the s-corps search. Then Gene Gene the Geneal0gy Machine came in and signed up for a computer. He looked impatient to begin searching for members of his fambly. I ignored him.

"Um, do you happen to know a form number for these?" I asked the tax form guy.

"No. I don't even know if there is a form," the man said so very helpfully three minutes after he should have. He offered to go home, call someone who knew and return better prepared. Of course, I had to look up the number for someone who knew, but I'd already assumed that much.

I found the number, printed some forms for him and sent him on his way. I then dealt with c0ntract0r wannabe, calculated all his crap for him, having to do it twice cause our tiny calculator has even tinier buttons, spouted a few euphamistic curses, then found out that the dude already knew how much all the books would be because he was just going to reuse the same check he'd given us two weeks ago. Yes, helpful our patrons be.

I started to apologize to Gene for the wait, but he insisted on telling me about some long lost female relative he was trying to pin down all the way back to the computers. Instead of apologizing, I demonstrated the politeness of not kneeing him in the gut.

1 comment:

dj said...

"Instead of apologizing, I demonstrated the politeness of not kneeing him in the gut." So, instead of not going postal on my colleagues and patrons, I'm doing them the kindness of NOT killing them! That makes me feel like a brilliant employee! Thanks!! :)

An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.