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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Interesting reflections on simple things!

The price of living

I bet you didn’t know you could do so many things with a supermarket check-out and paid list.
I suppose they are the same, at least within different countries of Europe, of course USA may not be the same, but who cares!
In Europe, the law apparently says that we all have to know various things about shopping prices, and the details are given on this receipt!
Some of them are very interesting, some are useful, others useless, some can be held as proof of one’s whereabouts in case of an alias being needed (the receipt gives time and date on it – so if you have your receipt from a supermarket 150 miles away from the murder place, at the murder time and date, the chances are that the police MAY pay more attention to your alibi!)
So there we have the first two – time and date.
The name of the place shouldn’t be forgotten either, and even the name of the actual owner (if it differs from the trade name for example).
The address and, at the bottom, normally the telephone number and opening hours, followed by the above quoted date and hour of the purchases!
Sometimes there is even the name of the person using the till, and the number of the shop (if it is a part of a chain store, for example), and lots of other mysterious details, I don’t know the meaning of, like “Term ****” or “*****op” or “tick******” etc etc.
Here in France, they almost always have the original change rate (French Francs – Euros) which was 1 euro = 6.55957 at the start of the Euro currency.
At the top and at the bottom of each receipt there should be a word or two, like “Welcome” and “Thank you – see you soon” and stuff like that! Politeness from a machine, which makes us pay the amount which is, of course, also shown, in France generally in Euros and in French Francs, together with the manner of payment, like “CB” or “Cheque” or “especes” (meaning “cash”). They also tell you what you handed over and how much was handed back in change!!!!
The printed check-out list tells us how many articles we bought and paid for.
Then things really start getting interesting!
Somewhere on this receipt will be found a little blocknote, headed by words like “Code” and “%” then “W/O Tax” and “with Tax” finally the amount of tax payed on the whole bill.
This is, of course, the infamous VAT, or as in France TVA.
Various “% or Taux” are involved. For luxury items, like cars and things, the % is high, around 26%, but even in the normal Supermarkets it is interesting to see what costs what! These % can differ from country to country, but they shouldn’t! Did you know, for example, that when you have a meal in a Restaurant the bill should show the amount of VAT or TVA included, generally between 22% and 28% is added onto your bill to appease the Tax people! This is why it is important to look on the menu outside for a mention of “T&TC” or “Net price” or simply “TTC” (Tax – tous compris) – otherwise you will find your bill being significantly higher than you had thought! Strictly speaking, the waiter you leave a tip for, should pay a certain amount of tax on these tips!
Back to our Supermarket receipt.
Did you know, for example, that for anything to do with “pets” a tax of 19.60% is payable? Pussies’ tin of who knows what, brings in 19.60% to the State! So does her toilet grains, or anything else she needs!
Even more dismal and paltry is the fact that liquid fuel to keep you warm, and alive to pay further taxes, is also taxed at 19.60%!
Anything deemed (I don’t know by whom, exactly) unnecessary to life, is taxed at 19.60% upwards! Except for the taxmen, of course, and those who make the laws, because they eat and drink and drive around, free of charge, at the cost of “The State” (that means you), comfortably installed to figure out what other taxes they can invent.
I heard talk that free air was being considered as abnormal in the world of taxes!
Of course, we could try drinking bleach (taxed at 5.50%) instead of beer (taxed at 19.60%) or water instead of wine (same %’s) or we could have called upon Jesus, in history, to change the one to the other! I would like to know what happened at that time to the tax-breakers!
Lastly – did you know that toilet paper is considered a luxury? 19.60% tva!
Amazing, isn’t it, everything we can learn from this piece of paper, normally pressed into our hand with our change, and normally thrown away as quickly as received.
Don’t forget, this little piece of paper is also our guarantee, in case of anything going wrong, so it is (on occasion) as valuable as bank notes.
If you throw them away as well, then throw them over here – in my direction!

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