A last-minute filer walked into our state income tax office and handed me his returns. Just as he did, a peal of laughter could be heard in another room. Glaring at me, he grumbled, “What are they doing back there, counting the money?”
William Umberson, San Diego, California
Stoop sale this Sunday, 12 to 4 p.m.
Throwing all my crap in the
garbage this Sunday, 4:15 p.m.
Ritch Duncan @ritchied
Here are the best tried-and-failed excuses British businesses gave for not paying their taxes on time.
• My pet goldfish died.
• Our business doesn’t really do anything. —Financial services firm
• I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns. —Accountant
Source: HM Revenue & Customs
I was in small-claims court when I listened in on the case of a woman who held a good job but still had trouble paying her bills on time. “Can’t you live within your income?” asked the judge.
“No, Your Honor,” she said. “It’s all I can do to live within my credit.”
My friend has a bad habit of overdrawing her bank account. One day before we went shopping, I complained about my lack of funds and lamented, “Guess I’ll use plastic.”
Unconcerned, she whipped out her checkbook: “I’m using rubber.”
No one likes coughing up rent. But at least these tenants gave landlords creative reasons for avoiding it.
"With my daughter’s graduation, our new boat, and our trip to Europe this year, we’re a little strapped."
"I’m getting real tired of paying this rent every month! You’ll have to wait a few more days."
"We’re a little short right now. But don’t worry—we’re getting a refund on my wife’s tattoo. The artist messed it up, and we’re getting back most of the bucks!"
"I didn’t pay the rent because I’m saving up to move."
"It’s your fault the check bounced. Why didn’t you tell me you were going to run to the bank the very same day!"
A local charity had never received a donation from the town’s banker, so the director made a phone call.
“Our records show you make $500,000 a year, yet you haven’t given a penny to charity,” the director began. “Wouldn’t you like to help the community?”
The banker replied, “Did your research show that my mother is ill, with extremely expensive medical bills?”
“Um, no,” mumbled the director.
“Or that my brother is blind and unemployed? Or that my sister’s husband died, leaving her broke with four kids?”
“I … I … I had no idea.”
“So,” said the banker, “if I don’t give them any money, why would I give any to you?”
The teenager lost a contact lens while playing basketball in his driveway. After a brief, fruitless search, he gave up. His mother took up the cause and within minutes found the lens.
"How did you do that?" he asked.
"We weren’t looking for the same thing," she explained. "You were looking for a small piece of plastic. I was looking for $150."
To publicize colon cancer screenings, an Idaho doctor suggested that a reminder be included in every tax notice. The idea was nixed. "Recommending a colonoscopy in the same envelope as the tax notice may be considered ironic," said the county treasurer.
I took four tires to a friend’s garage sale and was asking $30 apiece. I needed to leave for a few minutes, so I asked him to watch them for me.
"Sure," he said, "but if someone offers less, how low are you willing to go?"
"Try for more, but I will accept $15," I said, and left.
When I returned, my tires were gone. "How much did you get for them?" I asked excitedly.
"Fifteen dollars each."
"Who bought them?"
A Brooklyn café is charging $12 for a cup of Ethiopian coffee. The drink doesn’t have a name, so The Week asked its readers to do the honors.
Café au Laitaway
During an antiharassment seminar at work, I asked, "What’s the difference between harassment and good-natured teasing?" A co-worker shouted, "A million dollars."
From our local TV news station, this undeniably true travel suggestion: "Next up, ten money-saving tips for your trip to Hawaii. Don’t go away!"
Before my son could start going on job interviews, he needed to dress the part. That, he decided, required a $500 suit.
"What!?" I answered, gagging at the price tag. "I’ve bought cars for $500!"
"That’s why I want the $500 suit," he said. "So I don’t have to drive $500 cars."
If your name is on the building, you’re rich; if your name is on your desk, you’re middle-class; if your name is on your shirt, you’re poor.
I received a letter saying I would not be given the American Express credit card I’d requested because my income wasn’t substantial enough. Oddly enough, I work for American Express.
My husband is—how should I put this—cheap, once going so far as to reuse the freezer bags our grown daughter Molly left behind after a visit. Needless to say, it gave me a start when, looking through the freezer, I found packages labeled steak, chicken breast, and Molly.
A guy in a Kia pulls up next to a Rolls-Royce at a red light and asks, "Hey, is your car Bluetooth enabled?" The Rolls owner nods.
"So is mine. Got Wi-Fi?" The Rolls owner nods again.
"Me too. What about a double bed?"
"No. Do you?" asks the Rolls guy.
The Kia owner peers out. "You got me out of the shower to tell me that?!"
With airlines adding fees to fees, The Week magazine asked its readers to predict the next surcharge they’ll levy for something previously free.
1. In the unlikely event of loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down. To start the flow of oxygen, simply insert your credit card …
2. $100 On-Time Departure Fee; $25 Delay Complaint Fee.
3. View seating (formerly window seats), $10; Access seating (formerly aisle seats), $10 $20 to use roll-away stairs to enter or exit the aircraft in lieu of no-charge rope-ladder alternative.
4. $9 fee for bumping your head on the overhead bin as you take your seat; $3 additional penalty for looking up at the bin after you bump into it.
To get his mind off his losing streak at the racetrack, I took my friend horseback riding. Being a novice, he freaked when his mount took off.
"How do I stop?" he yelled.
"Bet on it!" I hollered back.