Monday, December 6, 2010

Why you need Kleenex for this post OR, Why I greatly dislike the IRS and so should you! or, How I missed a steal of a deal trip to London over New Years OR, WHY ME!

(First, I'd like you to know I feel like a piece of hell. Cough, hack... inversion... school finals... headache... possibly walking pnemonia. Sympathies welcomed)

I would like to tell you a story. Settle in. Get yourself a cup of something steamy, grab a blanket and a box of Kleenex.Yep, it's that kind of story.

Ahem hem. The setting is Friday, mid-morning, slaving away at my place of employment. Alright, I wasn't slaving away necessarily as it WAS a Friday and slaving on Fridays, as we all know, is un-American. So if you slaved away last Friday, please turn in your American flag and apple pie plates. You! Are un-American. For shame.

Anyway - I was doing this and that on Friday when a co-worker sends me a little email "6 Days in London for $799" with accompanying link. Posh, man! Poppy-cock and Cadswallup! As everyone knows - there's always some sort of catch to these deals - the first one being it would clearly only be 4 days in London as 2 of those days will be spent flying. THEN, you will have jet-lag at least one of those days because the flights they offer at such a rate are at like, 3:00pm, meaning you end up staying up all night and through an extra day and no matter where in the world you are - that is unpleasant - thus TECHNICALLY, it's only 3 days in London and $799 isn't worth it. ALSO - as to the flight poppycock - usually these deals are only for those living in such hubs like Chicago, New York, or even LA. Don't nobody give the Utahns a break. Come on! Greatest. Snow. On. Earth. Doesn't that count for something? So tack on extra moneys for getting from SLC to whatever hub they're offering this "fab" deal. And that price likely encompasses flight ONLY anyway and no accommodation arrangements which, as we all know, is pretty much the same price as the flight these days. And even if the accommodations are included, in LONDON, that would mean you're likely staying in a hotel resembling 16th Century London which may seem quaint - until you realize that your hotel is an uncanny replica of the scene recreation from the movie From Hell (starring Johnny Depp...grrrrrowel) where Jack the Ripper stalked his victims, and yes, that is raw sewage running down the gutter and yes, those are rats and not small dogs gnawing on... is that... a human arm? (!!), and the local law enforcement recommends you be indoors by nightfall if you value your life and your virtue, if you please.

Wah wah wah! So... maintaining my skepticism, cynicism, and realism (isms isms isms)... I mention these things to my friend because dammit, if I'm disenfranchised than he should be too! I'm just trying to look out for him... cause that's the kind of friend I am. Andrea! Protector of Friend's Virtue and Rationalism! That title should come with a cape. A flowy purple one with gleeming gold stars. What? Oh, you've thought about it ya big poser!

At any rate...

I voice these Debby Downer confines of the seemingly "great deal" to London for "6 days" and he comes back at me with the following:

1. It's actually 8 days - as they DO account for those two days in the air so really - you'll be on London soil for 6 days. Mmm... London Soil... 6 days. Drool drool.

2. Oh and that price? Well, there are taxes and fees and "just because we felt like charging you's" - but when it came down to it - for BOTH hotel AND flight - for those 6 (really 8) days - $1500. Do you hear what I'm saying? $1500 for 6 full nights in London! Do you realize TICKETS to London cost this much generally? Well, perhaps a liiiiittle less... but I can tell you if you don't want to spend your night with bed bugs, in a closet cot next to Jack the Ripper, and a flesh gnawing dog-rat, you're gonna be paying much more than that for some decent accommodations. Which brings us to...

3. Accommodations. Oh, in Chelsea. Yep. (MAP) What does that mean? Oh, it only means it's a very cute quaint part of town not two tube stops from the City Center. Listen, I spent about 6 weeks in central London and thus have a decent idea (dillusion? maybe...) about where things are in relation to what and the location of that hotel for THAT combined price is basically a steal. Oh hold the phone - looks like you can also stay near King's Cross for the same price. Why does King's Cross sounds familiar? It's only because that's the station Harry Potter caught the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9 3/4 (said three quarters for yon Americans). Yep. Geekry and cheapery all at once. Pip! pip!

4. The dates - over BLOOMIN New Years! New Years! In London! (see above picture) Dec 28th-January 4th. Er... uh... what. Turns out I get back to SLC from my Cruise on the 27th - so why not just hop a plane to London and be out of town for both Christmas AND New Years? I mean I only officially have to work 3 days that week anyway so why not? Why not??!??! WHY!?!??!?!?

5. I found a friend who was happy and willing and excited and travel-buddy worthy to do it with me. So.. great price, good location, LONDON, travel-buddy, out of town for New Years... LONDON!

6. Touche my emailing-co-worker-of-awesome-international-deals. Aaaaaamen.

So what's the hang up? Why did I tell you to get a Kleenex box? Because you're crying tears of jealousy and joy? The joys for me... the jealousy for you. Well... sadly... that's not why you need that box.

Here's why...

Flash back with me to about 6 months ago. I receive a letter with the return label IRS. Never bodes well does it? WELL! Long story short - turns out the year I had 6 jobs (see 2007-2008) I may or may not have (mostly may not have) listed one of those jobs. It was a writing gig for a non-profit company for MAYBE 3 months. And me, being the naive 24 year old (and clearly much less knowledgeable than my current naive 27 year old standing) didn't withhold taxes for myself. What did I know? It was like babysitting really. Earning some dough here and there while working at Banana Republic and a data entry job while being newly laid off from a teaching position. Prospects were low. So very low. And self-taxing wasn't even remotely on my mind. Hierarchy of needs and all that jazz.

At any rate...

I took care of it. Reported it. Sent in this form and signed that. Made phone calls. And for 3 months have been awaiting my sentence. It came last week. $1000. *&%$!!! Yep - I owe the IRS $1000... right before Christmas.

Enter Kleenex. Sniff... tear...

I tell you Internet - had I not had that stOOpid IRS bill hanging over my head and subsequently, didn't have to think of buying books for stOOPid school - I was THIS CLOSE to booking that freaky steal of a deal trip to my beloved London-town. THIS. CLOSE. Can I tell you how Paris was the same set up but for $1700? Oui, c'est vrai. London or Paris could've been MINE for New Years and you, 2 readers, would've had the amazing, no fantastic, no INCREDIBLE, opportunity to read how I, Andrea Jolene, not only spent Christmas in the Mexican Riviera but subsequently hopped a plan to "Jolly Old" for New Years. I can see the "I'm so jealous" posts now. Alas!

So that's my story. I hope you enjoyed it or at least learned a lesson: never try and jip the IRS OR, don't go back to school you dolt OR, get paid more money so that $1000 to the IRS seems like annoying pocket change rather than a choice between London for New Years and federal prison. For the IRS WILL find you; mark my words. Furthermore, they will find you right when it's most terrible and inconvenient to do so (though in retrospect - I can't really think of a time that would've had me exclaim "Hot damn! This $1000 non-planned for IRS bill came just at the right time! I happen to have it here, in my pocket, at this very moment! Do you take cash? Can I just fly it out to you on my way to FRIGGIN LONDON FOR NEW YEARS!"). Truly though - the IRS must be a bunch of humbugs to send such a crappy bill right before Christmas! Christmas man! I mean, it's Jesus's birthday and I get a bill for $1000? Doesn't put me in the most Christian mind-set. I'm sending them WWJD bracelets with my payment installments. That'll make them think twice about sending their dark tidings during such a festive occasion... an occasion with ridiculously awesome travel deals to my favorite place in the whole bloody world. Sniff sniff - pass me a tissue, would you?


Annie said...

Oh, you are tempting me! I want to spend New Years in London!!

Andrea Jolene said...

Do it Annie. Learn from my mistakes.

heidikins said...

Woe is you--I hope this won't severely dent your spirits...Mexico is just 10(ish) days away, you know.


Andrea Jolene said...

Wait... 10ish days? Hot diggity!! Spirits heretofore RAISED! Cruise Cruise... we're going on a Cruise!

corrine said...

dear andrea,
crying for you inside. really, i am.
all my sympathy,

Andrea Jolene said...

Corrine - I knew you'd understand. Sniff.

Mike & Emily West said...

Here is another reason fro tissue. Turns out I will be in London over New Years for this that and the other (immigration, friggity-frak)BUT had you been there we perhaps could have rendezvoused in ye ol' London town. RENDEZVOUSED (because I know that seeing me and my not-so-merry band of kiddos is high on your list of thing to do in London)But alas, we will not be grabbing a cuppa at the local tavern due to the stinky, sweaty IRS. FIE ON THEM!

Nasher said...

I am sorry to hear about your sad story. Perhaps something good will come around again for you.

But I must say that you can't go blaming the IRS for doing what they are supposed to do. Without that money we wouldn't have the roads, military, or medicare to lean on. As a tax payer for these great united states, I must say that I am grateful that you have been found so that I may consume more governmental services.

Sorry you can't go to London but seriously, Scotland is way better. Just don't go in the winter time.

Andrea Jolene said...

Pete - I'm a tax paying American! Utah taxes give me a paycheck in fact - but why the bill over Christmas? Why!??! :( I find this very sad. Also - I also love Scotland. I went there a weekending once while I was studying abroad in London and it actually made me feel more at home with its grrreeen rowling heels und its frrreindly folks. ;)

Emily - Yep. The tears are starting to well all over again! That would've been truly serendipidous... but now... it's just sad. Have a cuppa for me!

Craig Barlow B. said...

In the spirit of Christmas, have you considered pulling the money out of a fishes mouth?

Also, I truly feel your pain.

1. I have never been to Europe. In fact, the only time I've actually left the country is to go to Tijuana, the exotic land of drug cartel beheadings. And although I honestly love Tijuana, I sometimes feel like my soul is being crippled by my total lack of adventure vs. my extreme inundation of sensibility. So I too would really love to go to London.

2. I once owed the government $300. Now before you say, "$300, pish posh," I want you to remember that I am the poorest person you know. Do you not remember how poor I used to be? Nowadays I'm about 50,000 times poorer than I was then. Anyway, that one time I owed the government $300 was a real downer. Luckily the state of Utah made up for it by giving me a sizeable $1 tax return, deposited directly into my checking account so I could buy that bottle of Suave I'd been pining after.

Michele said...

Wow, I am so sorry! That really sucks! Stupid IRS.

By the way, why aren't you a writer? It is your calling. You are so good at it. You should quit your job and write.

Andrea Jolene said...

Michele - aw... you're so sweet. Writing for a living truly is my dream. It's on my life of "things I will do once I"m no longer in school" ;) Besides, it's a good way to earn some extra shopping cash, right? Right!

Marisa Jean said...

Wimper. Boo to the IRS!