Roger Clark
December 2019

As an owner/operator solely responsible for supporting the welfare recipients of Kansas, there are a lot of boxes to checkoff on our tax returns. The state wants to make sure single moms, illegal immigrants, fast food workers, and slow-witted politicians have plenty of diapers, formula, cake mix, and meth pipes. To do that, the Kansas Department Of Revenue encourages my business to contribute voluntarily.

I also volunteer to jump at the sound of gunfire, flip my stomach in an elevator, and skydive from a perfectly good airplane. So, as you might expect, dealing with KOOR is a natural extension of my generous spirit . That's why it was such a surprise to experience adance called the bureaucratic shuffle.

In the process of piecing together our 2018 tax returns, the accountant noticed the third quarter of 2017 was blank. Did we pay thatquarter, he wanted to know, and we said yes, here's the documentation. Did that solve the mystery, I wanted to know, and he said no,because that payment was used to pay a 2018 penalty that hadn't occurred yet.

Well, it took several emails to him, and what seemed like just as many calls to them, but eventually everyone had their due. The revenuers got their money, we took the credit, and welfare moms from around the state had cash for the casinos. Yet one particular phone conversation with the department of revenue stands out from the ordeal.

If you're a day late, with your "voluntary" contribution, KOOR immediately puts into play penalties and interest . They couldn't care less whose fault it is, including their own, and not a bit shy about dropping the hammer. But send them a check, certified or not, and they can take up to six months to cash it . It's exactly what happened, leaving us in a thousand-dollar limbo half the year.

When I pressed them for an explanation, they were cool, calm, and collected, with just a touch of arrogance. It might have been funny, if it weren't so serious, but they were succinct and to the point. "Your reality, sir" she said emphatically, "is not our reality."

This thought came back to me last week at Walmart, when I went to put new tires on the family car. How much are these tires, Iasked, pointing to a set of no-name radials. Sixty dollars each, was the reply, unless I ordered them online. Then they'd be forty. Um,okay.

Scheduled to arrive in two weeks, they instead showed up in 4 days. Great, I thought, I'll get them installed early. Arriving for my 7:00 AM appointment, they drove the car straight in. Cool, I thought, I'll just stay in the waiting room, until they get it done.

At 8:00 AM, noticing that nothing was happening, I started to get restless. That's when the cashier peered at her computer, withoutglancing in the garage, and announced out loud that my car was now in the bay. An hour later, it was still there, and still untouched.

At 9:00 she again looked at her computer and pronounced the job done, even though it wasn't even st arted. Just then, a scruffylooking mechanic appeared, put the tires on, and returned my car to the parking area. Elapsed time, fifteen minutes.

Taking just a minute to transfer grease from the steering wheel to my purchase receipt, it was all I could do to leave withoutlaughing, reminding myself again that no good deed ever goes unpunished, and that their reality is not my reality.