Saturday, January 30, 2010

People Without Propriety

I hate the human race today.

I realize that the 100 or so people I've dealt with on this fine Saturday morning do not by any means represent the earth's population, but I've taken enough crap to think that manners and decency are dead.

Let's back up and explain my situation.  It's tax season.  I prolly don't need to say more, right?  I mean, most of you understand the meaning of the tax season.  You also understand that there are many things more enjoyable.  (Like a root canal or a pap smear, for example.)

During this tax season, I provide customer support services for those filing their own self-prepared tax returns.  It is an on-line service, not telephone.  They send an e-mail from their account with a question, I(we) respond with an answer.  It's a great service.  Especially since most of these people without propriety are receiving a free prepared and e-filed tax return. They're also receiving their state return for almost nothing.

To keep the anonymity and my job, I'm not going to tell you who I work for.  I'm also going to refrain from discussing how much they charge, because you are all very smart and covert in your deductive reasoning.  With limited info, you could figure out who I work for.  This is the listening blogger, 'member?  This is where I go so as I can be heard.  If I cannot throw up my frustrations here, where else will I go to throw them up? 

For the record however, I would be over-and-out if I were required to provide service via telephone.  No amount of money would be worth the yelling and cussing that people toss at you over the tax return.  These people do not realize that we, the tax preparation company, do not make the rules.  They also don't realize that the IRS doesn't make the rules.  It's the people we elect.  If you don't like what you see, write your congressman and/or senators.

For giggles (taxes and giggles - uh right), you can find two of my favorite questions from last year, here and here.

Now.  Because I care, I'm going to help you all out.  I'm a giver, you know.  I am going to give you some guidelines for proper conduct if and when you decide to get help from people who provide help for people who provide help for people who provide help.

They are:
  • Don't call the person helping you a dummy.  Especially if you're the one who doesn't know that you have to wait for a W2 statement in order to file your tax return.  And especially if you cannot spell IRS.
  • Don't swear.  It ain't cool.  
  • Provide detailed information.  Don't say stuff like, "It don't work" or "I'm getting an error fix it"  or "how come I owe money" or "why won't it let me do anything." 
  • Recognize that there is a reason CPAs charge what they do to prepare your tax return.  It is hard work.  If you are not willing to pay a CPA to prepare your return, don't expect someone else to offer the same service for free.
  • Review your tax return over and over and over and OVER before you send it.  Once the IRS accepts your return, it cannot be changed without amending it.  Amending a return is a hassle that can be prevented easily with proper review of your information.  Which brings us to the next one...
  • Don't yell at the person helping you if you forgot to include something.
  • TURN YOUR CAPS LOCK OFF.  Andusespacesinbetweenyourwords.  I actually asked someone today if their space bar was broken.  Or was that yesterday?  It's all mashed together now.
  • And finally, say please and thank you.
See?  Is that so much to ask?  I mean, if I'm going to spend an hour crawling through the trenches of the IRS' web site on your behalf, the least you can do is be nice.  Geez.

Incidentally, this is a totally lame post, but I'm going to post it anyway.  Then I'm going to run to the top of a mountain.  With Ted Nugent.  And prolly some other people. 



Lars said...

Huh. I thought all of that was common sense. Your song by Drive Shaft is unavailable for download via internet. Think you may have to rock it back to the 90s and get it on cd Rabid dear. Hope your run cheers you up. Not that it helps but I am sorry people are such asses.

Sparks said...

I hope Mark wasn't an ass when he asked you a question. Or overstepping his bounds. Youwereveryhelpful. He talked with the eyearess and they said jist what he wanted to hear (okay, not exactly, per se, as they didn't say, "Your dimples are so cute; you need never pay taxes again").

Sparks said...

Oh, and can you send me my double you too? I don't have it. I don't know who it comes from. So of course you must have it. If you don't, well, you're nothing but an idiot.

Jessica said...

No wonder you don't help people over the phone. Can you imagine if it was in person? Ugh.

Good luck over the next couple of months with this. I'm sorry. So, so sorry.

Jessica said...

p.s. if social work types like the Larabar and me feel bad for you, you know it's bad. Real bad.

megan said...

Pap...IUD insertion...heck even name it...I choose torture anytime over tax stuff...have yet to recover from today's torture...I feel your are in a brave line of work :) you were smarter than me...I worked out BEFORE the waste.

aubrey said...

Actually, I am glad you posted this. I feel strongly that manners have gone right out the window. And when you are teaching them to a young child, but they don't see them anywhere....

This is my tangent this week. I am SICK of people demanding what they are not willing to give.

Hang in there.

rabidrunner said...

Larsie dear, you and I think that manners and whatnot are common sense because we were raised with manners. So lets observe a moment of silence for our mannerly parents.

Sparks Megan, Mark was amiable and gentile in his request for information. He can send a question my way, any day.

See the sad thing about this, is I truly enjoy it when people are nice. I enjoy seeing a problem I don't know the answer to and researching the heck out of it. I like research. It's fascinating. No one is forcing me to do this job. It's hectic in February, then it slows down in March, kicks up again in April and fizzles out. Then I take the whole month of May off. It's a sweet gig and I'm grateful.

Aubrey, who are you? But I like you anyway. 'Cause you have a priority of teaching your chitlins some manners.

rabidrunner said...

By the way, the run was AAAAAHHHHHHHH some. Sunny and 45. I think I might even have a sunburn. Nothing like a little vitamin D to jump start the winter blues.

rabidrunner said...

Oh and wouldn't you know!? One of our customer's reads the blog:

"Thank you so much for your help... i will be sending lots of referals!"

All hope is not lost!

rabidrunner said...

It's been a bad day for comments and errors within. Please note that I'm frazzled, therefore apostrophes and other various grammatical rules are broken (and not on purpose.) I'll do better tomorrow!

rabidrunner said...

Megan, I've been thinking about that comment you made about Mark's darling dimples getting him out of paying the taxes. That one speaks volumes about some serious attraction! He's a lucky dude.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

So your company doesn't charge for this service. Why then are they providing support and paying people to provide actual live support? Strange business model. I'd think for the free product they'd just have some FAQ's and then only provide support to people that pay for it. But then again, I don't know much about business or I'd make way more money than I do.

rabidrunner said...

Junkie sir, you always bring up some fascinating points and/or questions. (Funny to use "Junkie" and "sir" in the same salutation, eh?)

The company doesn't give ALL of their tax returns for free. They charge for the state. Basically, their business model is such that they lure folks in with the free federal and charge for the state. They also make money on fringe services (printed returns, returns on CD, audit assistance, t-shirts, etc). They started really small. Like 1040ez small and have added forms and features and states each year until they became the goliath tax preparation company that they are today. Not really, they aren't goliath, but they're doing really well.

The support services are a requirement of the IRS. In order for us to play in the e-file sandbox with them, they require lots of things, like support services. Over the years we've streamlined it a bit with FAQs, tax alerts and other stuff so that the customer can get better information from the app before resorting to the support request.

Now. Was that enough bull for you? Don't get me started....!

Ski Bike Junkie said...

I see. Support is an unfunded Federal mandate, to borrow favorite words from our hometown legislature. Thanks for the explication.

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