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Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Customer is Always Right

I know there are people who grouse about stores anticipating holidays two months in advance, but I never do. It means I can find cinnamon and cherry gumdrop hearts from late December until February 14th, Cadbury mini eggs and Dove truffle eggs from February 15th until whenever Easter happens to come and mint chocolate or raspberry chocolate Lindor balls from October 31st until Christmas. And to be completely honest, I have no problem celebrating holidays when they're not scheduled on the calendar. I'm flexible like that.

So last night I bought Easter candy (the Cadbury mini eggs) and we watched movies and ate chocolate. It was actually a double movie night because we went to the theater, then came home and watched a video. I don't know that I've ever done that before. It's a lot of screen time, especially when one adds the fact that I was also working online during the last movie.

And just in case you get the idea that my entire life is centered around chocolate, allow me to disillusion you--it's not. It's centered around cookies; chocolate is simply a nice substitute. Although, right now I'm a little bit obsessed by tomatoes because we bought 20 pounds of them through Bountiful Baskets. They came to a little more than 40 cents a pound and they're amazingly good. Who gets good tomatoes in the winter? However, 20 pounds is a lot. We've eaten half but I think the rest might become homemade salsa. Recipes anyone?

I met with an odd man yesterday. He wanted me to prepare his taxes. We began the interview and he handed me a list of all the items he wished to have deducted. I looked at it for a few minutes, then said, "I'm sorry but the majority of those things cannot legally be deducted. And for every item you do deduct, you'll need a receipt as proof of purchase or a canceled check." He looked at me blankly, then said, "My last accountant deducted everything I asked him to. He just found a place for it on the form. And I never keep receipts."

I picked up his list and handed it back to him. I said, "Well, I'm not an accountant, I'm a tax preparer, but it sounds like you will have your needs better met by your last accountant." The man said he'd heard good things about me and wanted me to prepare his taxes. I said, "If I prepare your taxes this year, I will not deduct anything that has no proof of purchase, nor will I deduct items or services that are not legitimate according to the IRS codes." He said, "You're really so well off that you can afford to offend clients? And did you forget you would be working for me?"

I stood up. I said, "Mr. Prospective Client, I work for no one but me. I provide a service for which I am paid, but I am not on your payroll, so I am not your employee. And I have a motto: 'Never go to jail for a client.' I've been preparing taxes for many years and I've never yet gone to jail. I don't intend to do so for you. Thanks for stopping by."

So Mr. Prospective Client got mad. He started saying weird things about making sure I never work again and how the client's interests should be my first priority and then I stopped listening. My dad came into the room and asked Client to leave--which he did, but first he said we would regret our rude treatment of him. It felt like I was in some strange black and white movie. The Client continued to rant all the way to his car. We couldn't hear him, but we could see his mouth moving and his abrupt movements.

My dad and I looked at each other for a moment, then my dad asked, "Where did he come from?" I said, "I have no idea. He told me I'd been referred by a former client and I said we could meet and I'd look over his paper work for the year and give him an estimate." My dad answered, "Maybe it's time to stop taking new clients." I answered, "Yeah, that's a great way to keep a healthy business on its feet."

I'm left with one thought: No matter how insane I may become, there is at least one person crazier than I am, and I am not preparing his taxes.

And now I believe it's time for a cookie and some chocolate...and maybe a tomato, too.


  1. I love the even and level way you handled that "gentleman." I would have cried. And then eaten chocolate. My new vice is justin's maple almond butter with mini chocolate chips. I go through a jar of the almond butter about every two weeks. And that's using restraint. My husband says I have a problem. I think he's jealous because I don't share.

  2. He's jealous, no question about it. And should you ever come up with a cookie recipe incorporating those two ingredients, I expect you to share.