This weekend we are making homemade ice cream. We need lots of ice for the task, so I stopped by the local supermarket on my way home from running some errands. All I was buying was a twenty-pound bag of ice. It was surprisingly busy for a late Friday morning so I get in the express lane. I wanted to get out as quickly as possible so I took out four one-dollar bills and held them in one hand while I grasped the top of the bag of ice with the other. The ice cost $3.99 according to the price tag. There was an older gentleman ahead of me paying with a credit card. His vision was obviously not as good as it once was and after swiping his credit card asked if it had worked. The young man behind the cash register casually responded with another question: “What does the screen say?” He was obviously patronizing the older man. This did not make me too excited to deal with this person. After he was done harassing the customer ahead of me it was my turn.
I hefted the bag up off the ground expecting him to have a secondary gun-style scanner he could whip out and scan the bar code with, but he instead took the bag and swiped it over the in-counter scanner. I handed him my four dollars and was ready to be on my way.
“Four thirty is your total.”
“Four thirty!? How could the total be $4.30 when the sign said $3.99″, I thought. So I questioned it out loud. “There’s tax on ice?”
“Yep.” Well, that’s just great. I can buy any food product in the store tax-free, but ice is taxed. Even junk food isn’t taxed. I never payed very close attention to this before, and I suppose it’s been this way every other time I’ve bought ice. I just didn’t expect it. So be warned. Taxes may crop up in places where you’re not paying attention. That’s how they get you, you know.