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Postal Service

Posted 2010.12.10 23.11 in Pointless Blather

Hot on the heels of my rant about the rate increase on stamps, here’s another one about postal service. Postal Service, by the way, is a phrase known in grammatical terms as an oxymoron – that is, something which is self-contradictory. Other examples include military intelligence and jumbo shrimp.

Enough grammar, on with the rant.

So I’m waiting on a couple parcels coming through the mail. I know, bad time for shipping stuff, and frankly I’d rather use Fedex or DHL and pay the extra $$ for overnight delivery. But this particular merchant only offered UPS and mail, and the only thing worse than mail is UPS.

So I’ve got the tracking numbers and I’ve been watching the tracking screens on a regular basis. Yesterday one of the packages cleared customs and was in the big sorting station that’s about 15 miles from here. No updates after that. I had hoped it might come today, and they usually bring parcels at about 9:30 in the morning so I stayed home till then, just in case. But the tracking still said it was at the sorting station.

Now just a few minutes ago I happened to look at the tracking site again, and was surprised to find this:

The top line caught my attention first – attempted delivery? Notice card left? 16:07?! I was home before 4pm, and nobody attempted anything at 16:07 – still, I went and checked the mailbox incase there was a stealth visit. Nothing there, of course.

So I look closer and then I see the second line. Aha. So at 16:06 the package went ‘out for delivery’ then a whole 1 minute later they attempted to deliver it but I wasn’t home, so they left a card. In other words: Lies.

I’ve caught them playing this game before.

What they really do is, say Fuck it, and don’t bother coming by at all. They take the package directly to somewhere that it can be picked up. Then they drop the notice card with the regular mail sorting so that it turns up with the following day’s regular mail.

So Monday, the notice card will show up with Friday’s date on it, and it will tell me that my package has been waiting for me since Friday night at some postal outlet.

And for this level of service, they’re raising the rates again next month! Yay for Canada (expletive deleted) Post!

HST Lies & Misinformation

Posted 2009.12.16 12.43 in Pointless Blather, Work

So far, it looks like Ontario is still going ahead with this HST nonsense. Mostly, I don’t really care one way or another – it’s a zero-sum change for me. Being an entrepreneur and working in small business, whether the GST is 5% or 13% is largely irrelevant due to the way the tax is managed with the ITCs balancing the taxes collected.

One thing that I really dislike though, is when governments lie and mislead in order to push their agenda through.

Will the move from GST (5%) + PST (8%) to HST (13%) cost the average consumer more money? No. The 13% rate won’t apply to stuff that’s currently PST exempt.

It’ll be a huge pain in the ass for programmers and accountants etc. to get this set up for retailers’ POS systems, but generally speaking the actual tax rate isn’t going to change.

They don’t need to add lies or misinformation to sugar-coat it. What am I talking about? Specifically, this paragraph I keep coming across in the Ontario Ministry of Revenue‘s website:

Right now, provincial sales tax is paid by most businesses at each step in the creation of a consumer product. In other words, though you may not realize it, the PST is charged multiple times during the production of a product before that product reaches the store. So it can be a tax on a tax on a tax, all hidden in the cost of a product until it gets to the consumer. Under the HST, most taxes paid on business inputs will be refunded to the business — savings that can be reinvested and passed on to consumers.

I’ve been working with small businesses for over two decades. I can tell you that the PST is not charged multiple times during the production of a product. This is simply a flat-out lie.

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