Saturday, February 8, 2014

Will Work For...

You've seen the signs, held on street corners with stoplights to pause traffic long enough to garner a handout for the lucky, if that's a term that can be used for those driven to holding up such signs.

I happen to have a slightly different take on the phrase. My sign would read "Will Work For... Idiots, Apparently."

Don't get me wrong. The people I interact with at our local branch are great, unfailingly helpful, unfailingly friendly, unfailingly supportive. I'm referring to the corporate office. It's in Texas, which to my mind says a lot. I'm not quite Thelma-and-Louise about Texas, but mostly I prefer to avoid having to deal with them whenever possible. Perhaps it's just a personal prejudice, but if so, it's frequently informed by news reports detailing laws and attitudes, not to mention such prominent residents as Dubbya and Governor Oops. I am perfectly willing to admit that there may be a sane and rational person or two in the state. Somewhere. It is a large one, after all.

I'm just not sure that one of them works in our corporate headquarters.

Mostly they're just annoying, like when the single solitary person who could change my status allowing me to transfer from Minnesota to Arizona and later back again just happened each time to be out of the office for a few days, thus delaying my ability to go back on the job and start earning money again by nearly a week.  It delayed putting other needed new drivers on the road as well.

Sometimes they strike me as unreasonably greedy, such as when they cut back the percentage of commissions so that they could have more themselves, when it was the independent contractors, not the office staff, who were simultaneously taking the income hits from higher vehicle and fuel prices. Sure, they charged the customers a fuel surcharge, supposedly on our behalf, but tapped into that as well, claiming their extra expenses when all they had to do was have one person spend two minutes changing a weekly number in a software program.

This week they renewed my awareness of my ability to tolerate working for idiots - up to a point. It's tax time, and the 1099s were mailed out. (Nearly on time this year, for a change.) Our local branch had been requesting that each of us check that they had our current addresses. The pay report that gets mailed to us each pay period would be proof that they had it right, or wrong if it wasn't showing up where it was supposed to. Mine was correct.

Imagine my surprise when Steve called to let me know mine showed up in his mailbox in Sun City. I asked him to hold onto it while I tried to fix things from my end. If I could save him a stamp, I would. So I talked to the person here who was in charge of those details. She promised to contact Corporate, and called me back a few hours later with information. Corporate acknowledged their error and promised to send out my 1099 to Minnesota.

All solved, right? Hey, are you at the end of this blog post yet? What does that tell you?

The envelope arrived Thursday. Inside, the 1099 had my Arizona address on it. Now, in case you're hazy on the details, I moved back up here in early December of 2012. I have neither lived nor worked in Arizona for any of 2013. But the IRS will think I did. And so will Arizona, expecting their piece of income tax. And Minnesota will be wondering about state transfers when they get their filing.

You don't think that such a simple mistake can cause problems? Last year both of my 1099s arrived with the Arizona address on them. I ignored it, correcting the information on my Schedule Cs. Somehow, my IRS refund still hasn't been processed. Now, it's only $78 and change, but it's still my money. I want it. The "Where's My Refund?" site still says it's being processed. I can't help but think that a 1099 with bad information is at least part of the problem. And since I'm pretty sure I overpaid a bit again this year, I'm not looking forward to a repeat.

So, another call in to the local office. I took in the 1099 and added a personal note to try to explain the problem, in hopes that this time they'd do whatever was necessary to issue me a corrected form. I asked the front desk to fax it to the right person in Dallas. She made a copy, handing me the original back so that I could have the figures to fill out my tax forms. We joked a bit about Corporate having their heads up their... patoots. Yes, I refrained from using the word asses. I wondered aloud if it would help if I had put that on there, adding that I could have suggested that both their vision and posture would be improved by removing said heads from said patoots.

I try to be helpful. Sometimes.

Later in the afternoon, stopping by the office for another matter, one of the staff informed me that my note had been edited before being faxed off. I didn't think my suggestion that the Dallas person could have a good sip of coffee before trying to fix the problem was offensive. But who knows? At any rate, she actually knows somebody down there and called her to explain the problem, filling in the bit about it likely causing problems already on last year's return. She thought there was actually hope that this person would go to the financial person responsible for doing the 1099s.

She had no opinion as to whether it would ultimately garner me a corrected 1099.

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