Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Shopping

399 words

Two ‘shopping’ experiences today. One was with the optician to get new lenses for my glasses. While they seemed to do things properly including congratulating me to have ‘almost 150%’ vision (whatever strange scale that is in – I somewhat doubt that I can see more than is actually there) once I am using the correct lenses, I was once more baffled by their business behaviour. When I remarked that the first quote they gave me for lenses was about 50% higher than what I expected, the guy ended up ‘remembering’ that twenty pages later in the catalogue you can order exactly the same lenses (in common strengths) pre-fabricated rather than custom made for you. And those would be delivered more quickly and cost a third less.

WTF, I thought. And I wasn’t pleased that I didn’t get this quote to begin with. And whom were they fooling? Themselves because they wanted to give more of my money to the lens company? Or me because they’d just buy the cheaper lenses and sell them to me at the higher price? Either way, I wasn’t too amused.

Ironically my positive ‘shopping’ experience was at the tax office. Now, I don’t have any idea about taxes (despite being able to talk about tax software like a pro because of the work I did at a tax consultant’s after school) because living of grants, parents’ money and small university jobs means you won’t pay taxes anyway. And that tax form looks damn scary. Not dozens but hundreds of fields with incomprehensible tags waiting to be filled there. Wohnsitz in Belgien With the most ridiculous one being line 52 about your ‘Residence in Belgium’ (why Belgium? And why not the same for all other countries?) But it turned out that the main form and the two extra forms I had to fill out only contained very few lines I actually needed to fill (perhaps making those common or essential lines more visible would help?). And I could just leave the rest empty.

And then I wanted them to check my form, just to know whether things were all right (I missed one detail) and after a wait I was really surprised. Quite unlike what common stereotypes about tax officials say people were friendly and helpful. The guy looked across my forms, added the bit I had missed and I was out of there within minutes. Excellent.

April 20, 2007, 1:53

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