Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"...and I'll take a 1040 EZ, if you got it."

I rather expected today be a full on tax day nightmare, with patrons hounding me for obscure tax forms covering multiple states and even extradimensional realities the whole day long. Astoundingly it wasn't.

Oh, people came in for tax forms, all right, but I noticed that many of them did it almost as an afterthought. They'd browse the shelves, find a couple of books, pick a couple of nostrils, check out their selection, and then half-way out the door of the building, their foot hovering in mid-step, they'd pause, look thoughtful for a long moment, then turn around and pick up a tax form or two, as though they had weeks and weeks to get them filled out and mailed. This happened repeatedly.

No, the most trouble I've had out of the tax people recently was during the chaos of Friday the 13th, when a kid of barely employable age came in seeking a 1099. Now, I knew we didn't have any 1099s and that we couldn't print them from the IRS site due to the form being a carbon copy layered form, but I thought it would be both an object lesson and amusing to see how perpetual newbie greenhorn Ms. S handled the situation. We've given her instructions on all aspects of her job in the past, but she has yet to listen to any of us. Let her fire up the ol' innanet and see how far she gets, I thought.

"What sort of 1099 do you need?" she asked, after locating the IRS forms page in just under a minute.

"Um... a 1099," the kid repeated.

"They don't list a 1099. It has 1099-A, 1099-B, 1099-C and lots of others, but not a 1099. Which one do you need?"

"Uh... Um... I don't know."

There was a long silence. After it drew out into an uncomfortable one, I stepped in.

"Why don't you try loading one of them?"

"Huh?" Ms. S said.

"Load one of them."

"Which one?"

"It doesn't matter."

She looked at me blankly, so I stepped over to her terminal and pointed to the 1099-A.

"Load that one."

She loaded it and the little note explaining that the 1099 forms are not to be printed from the website and are shown only as an example of what such forms might look like if encountered in the real world, popped up on the first page. Ms. S still didn't seem to get it. So I explained to the kid the nature of the form and how we couldn't print one for him even if he knew which form it was he required.

"Well, how do I find out what form I need?"

"I don't know. You should probably ask your employer."

The kid didn't seem to like that option, but persevered with, "Well, where do I get the forms?"

"I don't know that either," I said. "LOCALLY OWNED OFFICE SUPPLY PLACE has carried them in the past, but they might make you buy a whole pack. You might also ask your employer."

1 comment:

Adrian said...

"I don't know. You should probably ask your employer."


Self: Do you know which 1099 I need?
Self: Nope. That's why I asked you.

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.