Friday, March 28, 2008

April Snow

It snowed here all morning long, isn't that crazy?! It's almost April and it's supposed to be spring. It didn't stick really, mostly it melted on the ground, but it was big huge flakes for hours. So weird.

Taxes are finished, ta dah! It was kind of a breeze this time. I hope that doesn't mean I screwed something up. And I'm getting money back to boot. Nice surprise.

Speaking of taxes, April 1st is the date that our local sales tax goes from 8.9% to 9.0%. I am going to make the change on my site for orders after Tuesday. Just a heads up.

The bigger tax uproar is going to happen July 1st of this year. The tax collectors, in their ever greedier and more devious ways, have begun some big program to get internet sellers to pay taxes. Currently, if you buy something online, you only pay sales tax if the company you are buying from operates in your own state. For every other out-of-state sale, there is no tax. That is changing. The new program, which some states have already adopted, requires everyone to pay tax on internet sales - using the sales tax rate where they live. Washington is joining in on July 1, 2008. What this means to me is this - I will have to look up the sales tax rate for every single buyer, no matter where they are, and charge tax. Right now only Washington buyers pay tax, and it's all one rate, my own tax here. Now I'll have to charge different rates for every single sale - not just Duvall, Centralia, Bellingham - but St Louis, Missouri and Independence, Iowa, and New York City. A headache to be sure. How I'm going to configure a mail order form to do this, I have no idea. People who like to order through snail mail by check will be so confused. And the web site shopping cart will not calculate this stuff either. Those guys can't program in every single sales tax rate in the world so it happens automatically. I'll have to do it on this end, and again, so many people will be confused when they try to order and get a confirmation without tax and shipping charges - but it shows up on their credit card later. Who voted for this stuff? Shoot me now.

And some eco-news niblets too: tomorrow is Earth Hour day. On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.... We invite everyone throughout North America and around the world to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8 p.m. (your own local time)–whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town. I guess it might be kinda cool to go candlelight for an hour tomorrow night. Why not?

Recycle your sneaks: Did you know that it takes 1,000 for a pair of worn-out tennies to biodegrade? Millions of old sneaks are tossed in the garbage each year, adding tons of extra waste to the landfills, which can be turned into reusable material instead.

Nike has a program (since 1993), called Re-use A Shoe, which collects old sneakers at retail locations around the country, and then recylcles them into materials used for making sports surfaces like basketball courts, tennis courts and running tracks. They've already gathered more than 20 million pairs of athletic shoes and created more than 250 sport surfaces; giving thousands of young people access to new playgrounds and athletic facilities around the world. Click HERE to find out how it works and where the local drop off spots are.