Friday, June 21, 2013

What you've all been waiting for....

...or not.

Caution: Rant Ahead.  

You've been warned.

This morning I went to set up my goodies at the local Farmers Market.  Around 10:30, a lady brandishing a clipboard walks up to one of the first vendors.  Being as there were only six of us there, everyone stops to eavesdrop on what was transpiring.  The woman was from The Arkansas Department of Finance and was here because of a “complaint”.  Not a complaint about the health or safety of the market, but because supposedly some snitch was upset that the vendors weren’t collecting sales tax at the venue.  First of all, I hate a snitch.  I’m not talking about “Oh, I just killed somebody, but don’t you go telling on me” kind’a snitch.  But a busy-body kind’a snitch that has nothing better to do than stir things up or make him/herself feel better because we’re “getting away” with not collecting sales tax.  
And truthfully, I’d bet my best milking doe that it wasn’t really a snitch, I mean, complaint, but the fact that the state has nothing better to do than to squeeze every last stinking penny out of every last citizen.


As soon as I realized who the lady was, I tore down my little display, put away my table and chair and started to put my bread & cookies in the car.  There was no way in hell I was going to even acknowledge this woman’s existence other than removing myself from the immediate area before I blew a gasket.  But then I got to thinking.  Why should I have to “run and hide” from a civil servant?  Remember when that’s what they used to be called.  You know, when we actually thought that they worked for us?
So I took my remaining goodies, went down the aisle of vendors and passed out bags of cookies to customers with a smile.  I also mentioned (so the civil servant could clearly hear) exactly WHY I was giving the cookies away for free.  I told them that because of the woman (and pointed directly at her) from the department of revenue, I would no longer be selling my items at the market.  I told them I refused to charge or collect sales tax for the state and that they could thank the woman over there for effectively running out every vendor at the market.

Four of us have already said we wern’t going to continue the market.  How completely sad is that?  All for the sake of a few dollars of “revenue” for the state.  How’s that for stifling the local economy?  
It’s not like any of us were really making money.  And I’m sure if one actually factored time/labor into the goods being offered for sale, that we were probably losing money.  But this was a nice little venue.  A place where local residents could drive or even walk to, in the middle of a quiet park, and do a little shopping to support their friends and neighbors, buy a cookie for their kids or biscuit for their dog. 

But the state has to stick it’s damned nose in everything and bleed us for everything we do.  The fruit of our labors is no longer our own.  The state comes and picks the ripest, juiciest fruit from our tree of labor and leaves us to gather up the rotten or spoiled fruits for ourselves.  I know, this is nothing new, but I guess it just pisses me off when it comes down to this.  A tiny bunch of retired old folks, selling banana bread, homemade crafts or vegetables from their neighbor’s farm just wanting to do something other than sit at home watching Dancing With the Stars.  A few hours out of the week to socialize and meet new friends or talk with old ones.   How much money does the state collect from this (and even the surrounding) Farmers Market?  Do you want to bet it doesn’t even remotely cover her taxpayer funded salary or all the other government red tape and costs? 
So.  Back to me.  Me, me, me, it’s all about me you know.

Civil Servant Woman did not say a word to me, nor do I think she went out of her way to try.  Lucky her because I REALLY would have given her a piece of my mind.  Now don’t pull the “it’s just her job” crap on me either like I heard her say.  You know what?  Just because your superior tells you it’s in your job description to do X Y or Z does not make it right.  You do NOT have to take employment with entities like that.  Period.  She is carrying out immoral, unethical and downright despicable acts in the name of her superior, in the name of her fancy pants government agency.  Paid for by us, by the way.  She needs to be shunned.  She is taking part of a government supported theft of property, period.  I heard her say things like “I wish I didn’t have to do this” or “I hate to tell you this, but….” several times during conversations with the other vendors.  If she really felt that way, she wouldn’t take a job like that.  Stop blaming The Boss or The State or Gawdknowswho for what YOU are doing.

Ok, back again.

I took the remaining loaves of bread and cookies to the real estate company, bank and water department just down the block from the Market.  And told them the same thing.  That they wouldn’t be seeing me at the market from now on and I thanked them for their past business.  And every single one of them were disgusted at what had happened.  So why is it that one civil servant holds such power over so many others with opposing views?  How have we let our civil servants become our masters?

Ok, back again again.

Once I was in the car, with my pitiful $12 worth of sales (not income, mind you) and on the way home, I got to thinking.  Although I told the other vendors that I refused to come back because of the events that morning, I indeed WAS going to come back next week.  Because I’ve been hatching little plans and ideas in my twisted right-wing-redneck-patriot-homeschooling-raw-milk-drinking head.

I will not be silenced.  I will not bow down to one lady with a clipboard and a fancy title.  I will stand up to this (albeit small and trivial) outrage because if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

You’ll just all have to wait until next Friday to see what “devious” plans I have come up with :)

If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.

-Samuel Adams


  1. Gotta give you tons of credit for standing up for what you believe in. But please do not end up in jail. They probably wouldn't let you blog from there and we would all miss you terribly.

    1. Oh, nothing "illegal" (although technically I'm sure somewhere there's some law or ordinance or permit or rule that would land me in jail for simple breathing), just some fun stuff. As long as the First Amendment is still upheld. Well, shit, I guess I have to make sure about even that then, hugh?
      And, I think they have internet in jail, don't they have cable tv?

  2. What a load of..goat poop! Good for you standing up. It seems that no matter what we do these days, someone from the government has to put their hand in your pocket, or invade your privacy. Usually both.

  3. That's just stupid. I think most farmer's markets, that are small, waive that, or should. A couple of bucks, really? I'd put up a big sign, if you go back, asking people to call the city/county and complaining about that. Or start a petition, or both! Go girl!

  4. Carolyn,

    Geez, most farmers markets here or that I've been to don't charge tax. Socket it to them Carolyn, and don't get yourself arrested girlfriend.

  5. If you are selling fruits and vegetables there should not be any sales tax. Look at items sold in grocery stores, like fruit juice is not taxed (at least is used to not be) but fruit drinks are. If you are selling fresh produce they cannot stop you for not charging tax, check what items are not taxed at the grocery store and sell those items.

  6. I am sure there is a State statute on what you have to charge taxes for. Usually food is not taxed at the State level but can be at the local level etc. but it is always different. Put down that you are offering items for donations and then give recommended donation amounts.

    It does seem silly. My bet is the amount that could be collected wouldn't even cover the agents gas money for the trip. How much ya wanna bet she turned it in as overtime to boot.

  7. SciFi, poop is too nice a word for what they get away with.

    Nancy, it isn't the city or county, it's the State. If the county/city did it, there would be a local uproar directly to the mayor/judge's office.

    Sandy, the bigger market in the bigger town doesn't charge the tax to customers in the sense that the vendors either absorb the tax as a cost of doing business (ie less profit for the vendor) or added in already to the price. And since most items are rounded out to the nearest dollar or half dollar here, it's not like the vendors are going to say, "you owe me $1.58 cents", but will instead say "$1.50".

    And goodness NO, I'm not going to get arrested. I'm not that "brave"....nor stupid to realize that my family comes first. But I am going to give 'em a metaphorical middle finger right in their face.

    Tombstone, you're correct. if I were selling produce I grew here there would be no sales tax. But there's a guy who sells his neighbor's produce for him (really, his next door neighbor) so he's technically a reseller and is subject to collecting the tax. And, the great State of AR DOES charge tax on groceries, just not at the full 8%.

    PP, AR charges state tax on food at 2%. RAW, unprocessed food. All other processed food items are subject to at least a 6% tax. I can't even imagine the undue costs that woman's salary contributes to the taxpayer burden. As do most civil servant jobs.

  8. Good for you! Whatever you have planned, I hope it works.

    I bet they also require that you file a quarterly sales tax report. That's just what we all need.....more paperwork.

    Even the kid who does yard work for you needs a form at the end of the year........I am sure everyone follows that rule.

  9. Wow! Good for you too. I can't wait to see what you have planned.

  10. Carolyn,

    Give them the middle finger and what ever else works.

    Our farmers market is relatively small, and the handful of farmers don't put up with this crap from the local government.

    Can't wait to read your next post regarding the market.
    Have a great weekend my friend.

  11.'re pissed because the State is asking you to comply with a law? Who gets to write the statute that says who can comply with a law and who doesn't? You? Me? Somebodies buddy?
    The fact that this state employee costs more than the revenue she could bring in is irrelevant. The problem is the law, not the enforcement, unless you trust the State more than I do to pick and chose..
    Who do you want exempt? You? Your buddies? Sales less than - pick a number/month? Not a bad idea but governments aren't known for reducing revenue or fine tuning laws that mostly work.
    Can't blame you a bit but I think you're just mad that government is intruding on your particular thing - just like they do to EVERY business EVERY day of the year.
    Welcome to the club.

    1. I'm pissed because the State does not know WHEN to stop with their "laws". I suppose you would find it perfectly ok for the state to start demanding garage sales, person-to-person private sales and other private transactions to be taxed and those parties be subject to filling out Tax ID forms, quarterly statements and all the other red-tape crap then? Because then EVERY business transaction would be subjected to the same "fairness".

      It is TOTALLY relevant that a government agency should NOT be bleeding money just in order to make everyone comply. It's called common sense. Exactly where do you think the money comes from to keep this lady "working"? It's all about busy work and trying to justify unneeded and unnecessary government jobs. Lets make a dog tag law out here in the country (you know, so EVERY one has to abide by the same law) and then pay a county employee $50,000 (plus vehicle costs, insurance, overtime, travel, etc.) just so she can go around making sure everyone has all their doggie paperwork and licenses filled out.

      You admit that governments aren't known for reducing revenue or fine tuning laws. So then your answer to what IS a problem is to just sit back and say, "oh well, that's what we have to pay for living in a civilized society" I suppose? And you expect the government to, on it's own, make changes for the good? Oh yeah, that's working swell.

      The problem is the law, but how do the little people like me change things like that? Obviously not by buying Congresscirtter votes because we're poor lowlifes. In order to encourage change it only makes sense to go after the enforcement aspect of it. Do you remember your history about the King's taxes being imposed on the Colonies? Did they go sail over there to take court with the King? Of course not. They COULDN'T. But they made sure the people who were enforcing those laws knew darned well what they though of tarring & feathering.

      Of course I'm mad because they are intruding on "my" particular thing. As well as the other vendors at the market, who you do not hear complaining because you obviously don't know them. As are the customers I've talked to.

      If you've read any other of my rants you'd also know that I'm not just upset because it's ME now. I firmly believe that many businesses are getting taxed to the hilt. It sounds to me that maybe you are a business owner, and are now wanting to, just out of spite, say to me "Ha ha, now you have to get taxed just like we do!" Even if you are not, I know there are plenty that feel that way. Instead of fighting for change, they push those same laws they detest onto other people to make themselves feel better. Oh well, we can't get away with it, so let's make sure NOBODY gets away with it? Spiteful, if nothing else.

      Welcome to the Club? No thank you. I am protesting because I refuse to enroll in your club. But I hope you enjoy your membership. And if you don't, then you need to do something about it.

    2. Yup, hassle the hell out of each and every voter out there. As you say, nothing happened in the 1700's till they taxed tea, which everyone drank.
      As you thought, I am a business owner (or was) and tax reform is near the top of my list. So's the EPA. Get involved with them if you really want fun and games.
      We need a new revolution to back to the ideals of our Founding Father and that won't happen till each and every American is as pissed off as you are.
      Course that won't happen anytime soon. Democrats, Republicans - all one giant heap of stuff you scrape off your shoe. All dedicated to their self preservation - and not yours.

    3. As much as I would like to "inform" (nice way of saying hassle) every voter out there, unfortunately there are currently too many voters that are bought with promises of "free" stuff. You know, free. Comes from the sky kind'a free. Amazing, ain't it?

      But until the masses start taking responsibility for themselves, until people realize that there ISN'T a free lunch and until morality, honesty and responsibility become common traits, we are pretty much screwed when it comes to the voting aspect of it.

      As for the EPA? If you were brave enough to dance with them, I tip my hat to, but do not envy, you.

  12. I guess I have been lucky so far, the government employees don't work on Saturday here. I also refuse to pay taxes on my Farmer's Market earnings! Grrrr...
    Our little town charges tax on raw food too, not the state or county, our little pissant town! I don't even live in town to "benefit" from the added revenue I have to pay either! More Grrrr...
    I'm really looking forward to seeing what your protest will be.

    1. Shhhh, don't remind them about the Saturday thing or they'll be asking for Overtime!

      Don't get too excited about the protest, I wish I had the nerve to do something REALLY extravagant, but I'm still going to give them a piece of my mind and also something for the vendors and customers to think about and maybe remind them that to make change, they have to implement change.

  13. Same government that took down Morningland Dairy. I give my excess produce away even thought a bit of extra income would be welcome.

    1. The Morningland Dairy fiasco was pathetic. Another family business shut down because of unnecessary government intervention. Wonder how much it cost taxpayers to foot that bill?