Yesterday was April 15th, which means just one thing to all Americans unfortunate enough to no longer be living off their parents: taxes. But with a supreme air of confidence, I shrugged-off doing my taxes all of last week right up until Friday night when I left for a weekend in San Francisco. I didn’t let the looming obstacle course of forms & calculations worry my pretty little head as I came back to Seattle Monday the morning of the 14th, worked all day, and then went to bed early. I didn’t even allow myself the mounting alarm of taxes due in just a few short hours drive me to pieces all day at work on April 15th. I calmly came home, spent an hour rummaging through my filing cabinet and stacks of unopened envelopes for the necessary documents I knew I had lying around, and then executed my masterstroke – I logged into TurboTax.com. This is by far the most useful use of Web 2.0 tech that I have ever experienced. Sure, Facebook lets me drag & drop apps around my profile, but TurboTax is Web 2.0 that saves me in my time of need.
In 2008, I finished my taxes in less than two hours. With absolutely no idea what I was doing. And I got a pretty sizable refund. It walked me through every step, in words I could understand, and with links to more information for anything I didn’t. It let me explore just about everything, logged into my stock, 401k, & Employee Stock Purchase program accounts & imported data, and even made recommendations on how I ought to be allocating my retirement savings. It did all of this in less than two hours, let me file online, and didn’t even charge me anything – it will take a $50 fee out of my tax refund when it gets direct-deposited into my bank account.
So I decided to order bedding – sheets, duvet cover, & decorative pillows – from Target.com. I have spent at least 10 hours combing through every site online and another couple hours combing Bed Bath & Beyond, Ikea, & Target in-person, and finally found a set that I was happy with. I finally finish paying, and it takes me to a well-intentioned screen with a “Thanks for your purchase” and the usual e-marketing tactic of showing me “people who viewed this item also viewed these.” And there in a box below my order confirmation number was a duvet cover even better than the one I had just purchased. Well bloody hell. I tried to cancel my order online. Couldn’t. I called Target and spent some time talking to them, but it was no use. They told me I’d have to go directly to UPS to stop the package from shipping, and then I’d get a refund. I asked Target what would happen if I missed the package and it got delivered. Target said I’d be able to call UPS, have them pick it up, and return it to Target, for a refund and free of additional shipping costs.
So I called UPS – this was on a Friday – but they said the package hadn’t shipped yet and for whatever reason they were incapable of putting a hold on it or returning it. They said I’d need to call back when it was in-transit on Monday. First of all this makes no sense, you’re in front of a computer, your shipping systems are all done by computer. You can apprently stop it in-transit on Monday, why can’t you just leave a note right now telling them to stop it on Monday. Why do I need to call-in at that exact moment. Clearly this was too outside the box. The customer service rep was not interested in my analysis. I called UPS back on Monday, but of course the package had already been delivered. I remembered that Target had told me I could just schedule a pick-up and have it returned. I called UPS, gave them the tracking number, confirmed that I hadn’t opened the package, but apparently because my doorman had signed for the package, I had “accepted responsibility for the package” and now returning it would cost me $150. I would have to call Target and have them recall the package. So now I’m calling Target. He’s saying that he can schedule a UPS Pickup for me and then when it gets returned I’ll get my receipt. I’m waiting on hold for him to come back with the UPS pickup scheduled. Then I have to drop the bomb and make absolutely sure that I’ll get my full ammount and that I won’t get charged for them picking up the package. He’s back. I drop the bomb. No charge for me. They’ll pay for the return shipping & refund me the full ammount. 1-3 business days.
So mad props to TurboTax for making my life easy. Props to Target.com for letting me return this thing. And anti-props to UPS for being so damn useless about the whole process.