Thursday, January 8, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

So, I'm walking through a discount grocery store the other day.

Yeah, I shop at discount grocery stores all the times. Can't trust the produce that much, but everything else is fair game.

Anyway, as I'm walking the aisles looking for random cheap treasures like chocolate Chex, I see a little boy walking behind his mother a few feet away. Like most kids, he's looking up and down the aisles to see if there are any items he can persuade mommy to buy him.

His eyes spotted a wooden guitar on sale for $60 or $70, and he began his sales pitch. Here's what he told his mother:
"Oooh Mama, I know what I want for income tax, this right here."

1. Notice how he made himself seem extremely excited to see a random toy in a store.
2. Notice how he began his conversation with the assumption that he was already entitled to a present.
3. Notice....

Wait, hold on.

When did income tax refund season become a gift-giving holiday?

My people, my people. It's shocking how many of us view income tax season as our Second Christmas. I don't know if this is exclusive to black people since I don't have any friends of different races who I could poll. But, I do know that black people look forward to income tax refunds the same way fat kids look forward to lunch time.

I'll admit it, there was a time when I got that same sense of joy from income tax season. After all, who doesn't like the idea of a lump sum payment coming to them? Of course I was disappointed that one year I actually had to PAY Uncle Sam money, but for the most part I was happy to sit back and collect my free money.

Free money.

I guess ignorance is bliss. My whole perception of tax season changed once somebody hipped me to the fact that I was not getting free money, but rather the government was finally paying off an interest-free loan that I gave it the year before. They pointed out that if I hadn't overpaid in the first place, I could have just kept that money in my paycheck and used it earlier in the year.

That kind of put a damper on my tax season celebration.

I guess I wrote all this because it's amusing to me the things we as Americans celebrate, and how little we understand about how our government serves us. We're all sitting at home anxiously awaiting our checks, when we should have had our money a long time ago.

That seemed funny to me.


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6 comments:

Mr. Noface said...

It is sort of funny in that "...oh...damn" kind of way.

blackgirlinmaine said...

With the spousal unit being self employed, I haven't seen a tax refund in close to a decade since we pay out. However I agree with you that most folks don't realize that if they adjusted their withholding it would be a better thing.

The imagery of the kid talking about what he wants for income tax is both sad and funny.

By the way my spousal unit is white and in the 13-14v years we been together I have never known him or anybody he knows to get anxious about tax time. That said I do work with low income whites up here and yeah they get happy about tax refund.

Darth Whitey said...

Well Big Man, as your one and only white friend (BFF!), I can tell you that I myself don't look forward to tax refunds as an opportunity to buy stuff, but rather to pay off some bills. Oh, and I was a chubby kid, and... ok I guess I did look forward to lunch heh.

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Yes I remembered when I realized that from then on my goal became to break even with Uncle Sam and if anything I'd rather owe them than them owe me well you know with in reason.

Although this year I think I might be getting a refund!! *looking around for my own wooden guitar*

-OG

Big Man said...

Darth

What good is free money if you use it to pay off bills?

Actually, I'm sure quite a few black people use their tax refunds to pay off debts and stuff, which is just another reason why they need to be informed that they could have kept that money in the first place.

truth said...

Big Man,
I used to enjoy income tax refunds, but I've been paying out in recent years.

All I did with the stimulus check last year is pay bills.

To be honest, anytime I get paid, I'm happy. It doesn't have to be refund check.

Raving Black Lunatic