It was Tom who wanted to go to H&R Block to get our taxes done.
I wanted to do them online as we had done four years in a row.
But no. He kept worrying that he’d make a mistake since we bought a new car and would get the sales tax back.
I kept saying that he was doing it right online because he had started it to see what our tax refund estimate would be.
“I’d just feel more comfortable going to an actual tax person,” Tom kept saying.
So fine, I gave in.
I made the appointment and we gathered up all our papers and drove over there.
We walk in, I say we have an appointment with Linda and the young girl behind the desk blinked at me.
“Um. There’s no Linda here,” she said.
“Maybe the appointment was with someone else?” I suggested. Maybe they had given me another name on the phone. Natalie was freaking out when I was making the appointment after all. She wanted me to pick her up and when I refused, she started trying to climb up my leg. So I was trying to focus on the conversation while she decided to act like she was a monkey. On me.
The young girl typed in my name and shook her head. “Nope, you’re not here. Oh.” She peered closer at her screen and I thought, Phew, she’s figured it out. But then she gave me an apologetic smile and said, “You’re at the wrong H&R Block. Your appointment is for the one downtown. Not here.”
“But I know I dialed the number for the one here.” I made sure of that.
She shook her head. “All the numbers are the same. The woman who took your appointment was supposed to let you know.”
I felt my blood begin to boil. “Well, she didn’t.” I said this sharply and gripped the handle of my purse. For a brief second I was tempted to spin my purse over my head and make a noise like Xena Warrior Princess to show my anger. But I didn't.
“I’m sorry. I’ll call and let them know you’re running late,” the girl said, picking up the phone.
“We don’t even know where the one is downtown!” I said.
So she gave us directions. I thought Tom was paying attention because hello, he was driving and he was the one who wanted to go to H&R Block in the first place. But when we got back in the truck he went, “What road do we turn off of?”
“Screw this,” I snapped, tossing the W2 on the ground. “Let’s do it online, okay.” Fine, I admit I have a temper if places aren’t organized. Why didn’t the woman on the phone tell me it was for the H&R Block downtown in the first place?
“I don’t want to do it online,” Tom said stubbornly. He started messing with his GPS. “We’ll figure this out.”
We made a few wrong turns. Usually Tom hollers and carries on when he’s missed a turn. But he just calmly turned the truck around while I seethed in my seat.
“I want to do the taxes online,” I kept saying.
“I don’t,” Tom answered.
We finally made it to other H&R Block. It was across the street from an adult bookstore. I’m not even kidding.
“Thanks Tom, for bringing us to the seedy part of town,” I said.
“No problem,” he replied lightly because after all, he was getting his way.
We checked into H&R Block and I apologized for being late—have I mentioned that I HATE being late? “But when I made the appointment the woman on the other end never bothered to tell me which H&R Block to go to. She seemed distracted when I spoke to her,” I said accusingly. This was true. I remember that the woman had seemed flippant and eager to get me off of the phone. I bet she was texting.
The blond woman behind the desk immediately looked guilty. “Oh. You probably spoke to me then. I have a bad habit of not telling people where to go. Tee hee.”
I’m not kidding. She actually went teehee at me.
Tom could see I was about to lose my cool so he took hold of my arm and led me to some chairs in the waiting area.
“Sit. Breathe,” he instructed, taking the clipboard with the paperwork that we had to fill out from me.
“But that girl teeheed me like it was no big deal!” I hissed. “There are people out there who need jobs and H&R Block gave teehee girl one? What’s wrong with this world?”
Tom put a finger to his lips. “Shhh. It’s okay. We’re here now.”
A few minutes later we were called back by our tax person. I showed her the receipt that we got for paying the car tax when we bought the new car. I expected her to go, “Oh yes, I’ve seen tons of those before.” Instead she took the paper from me, peered closely at it and went, “Hmmm. I’ve never done one of these before.”
Okay, I assumed H&R Block was filled with experts.
I shot Tom a Look that clearly said, “THIS is what you wanted?”
“I’ll figure it out though,” the woman said as she logged onto her computer.
I slid over our Social Security cards. “Show me the money,” I said jokingly. I was trying to make best of the situation even though I still wanted to throw something at Teehee Girl.
The woman stared at me with wide eyes. She was clearly perplexed. “Huh?”
“Show me the money,” I repeated a little weakly. Hasn’t she seen Jerry Maguire? I assumed everyone had.
“Don’t mind my wife,” Tom spoke up. “She has Tourettes.”
Actually, he didn’t really say that. But his expression certainly did.
“It’s a line from a movie. Never mind,” I mumbled to my fingers.
The woman blinked a few seconds and then took the Social Security cards. “I see,” she said with faux politeness. “I see.”
Then we started. And her computer tax program kept beeping at her.
“What am I doing wrong?” she said.
Was she asking us? How would WE know?
Finally she’d figure it out but then something else would go wrong.
I was beginning to get a headache. I kept tossing Tom I-told-you-so looks. Trust me, if the roles were reversed and I insisted on going to H&R Block, he’d have done the same to me.
An hour later we were finally done.
“So your total fee is $230,” the woman said, tapping her screen.
Did she say TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS?
Was she on crack?
I mean, it was the seedy part of town. She could have very well been on crack.
“Yes,” Tom said beside me. “Okay.” He nudged me as if to say, “Start acting like a human being.”
“Two hundred and thirty dollars?” I echoed.
“That’s right. We can just take it from your tax refund if you wish. But if you pay us with a debit or credit card, you get thirty dollars off,” the woman said cheerfully. How does she sleep at night charging people that much for punching in a few numbers? We had an uncomplicated tax return for craps sake.
“We’ll pay with debit card,” I said thinly. I poked Tom in the leg as if to say, “I hope you’re happy with this. We could have paid NOTHING had we done it online.”
I mean, okay, I’m happy with the tax refund amount that we’re getting back.
But two hundred and thirty dollars to get said tax refund? Seriously?
I was trying to bite my tongue as we got into the truck to leave.
“What’s wrong?” Tom asked as he backed out.
“Nothing,” I answered but my tone clearly said that I was pissed the crap off.
Then Tom went, “Actually, the amount we got back was basically the same amount as it showed online.”
That’s when I lost it.
“Why didn’t you SAY anything then? We could have walked away if we didn’t want to pay TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS! You should have said, ‘Excuse me, clueless H&R Block lady, but when I typed everything in online I got the same amount so I think we’re going to walk.’ And you DIDN’T?” I didn’t want to throw anything at TeeHee Lady at that moment (on the way out she had gone, “Have a fantabulous night!” and I felt the urge to throw my cell phone at her blond head). Now I had a compulsion to hurl something at my husband’s head.
“Well, I figured she did all that work so we should pay her for it,” Tom said calmly. How can he remain so calm? TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS?
“Here, you look stressed, I’ll get you a diet cherry coke from Sonic. Okay?” Tom offered.
He’s really lucky that I love Sonic.
Two hundred and thirty dollars indeed.