I went to Walmart the other day to pick up the Candyland and Operation games that were on sale, and it was easy, fast, and the deal went just as it was supposed to go. So, when I got a TON of Nivea coupons today, I figured what the heck. Walmart is supposed to be getting more coupon-friendly, and the body wash will be free, and I am planning a big donation trip, so why not.
I picked up five bottles of mens' and five of womens', for a total of ten, plus a package of socks for the kid. I expected my total to be $5.88, the price of the socks. Instead, it was $8.28. Uh, what? After I got the receipt, I saw clearly what happened: Walmart charged me sales tax on the body wash. 24c a bottle. Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgh. You know I would not pay 24c a bottle for body wash, right? The total tax was almost the cost of another whole bottle of body wash.
According to my state's tax code, "Amounts representing on-the-spot cash discounts, employee discounts, volume discounts, store discounts such as ‘‘buy one, get one free,’’ wholesaler’s or trade discounts, rebates and store or manufacturer’s coupons shall establish a new purchase price if both the item and the coupon are described on the invoice or cash register tape." In other words, if a coupon reduces the price of an item, sales tax is calculated based on the price paid after coupon. If the price paid is zero, then zero sales tax is owed.
The item and coupon are clearly described on the cash register tape, and therefore Walmart is in error charging me sales tax, and owes me $2.40. You try explaining this fact to Walmart's sole customer service employee, without having a copy of said tax code in hand. She clearly could not do anything to help me. Even if she knew the tax law, she wouldn't have been able to do anything to help me. I felt like such a tool. It was embarrassing, honestly. Why did I even bother going over to ask her about it? What on earth did I think would happen? They were probably rolling their eyes and laughing about me when I left. Whatever, the law is the law.
I would never have bought the body wash if I'd realized that they were going to charge me sales tax on it. Should I return it? Since they now have my $30 worth of coupons, would they give me $32.40 in cash back?
I feel more upset about this than I should. I feel like I've been ripped off! Perhaps because a retailer as large as Walmart ought to be charging tax in accordance with local laws? Perhaps because I truly would not have purchased the body wash, had I known, and would have saved my coupons to use at stores where I actually like to shop, and where I know the tax would have been computed properly? Perhaps I am just nuts, and $2.40 is not worth getting upset over?
I did find color photo ink cartridges for my printer on clearance at Target, though, for only $7 and change, 75% off their regular price of $30. That was pretty nice! I only bought two. Maybe I should go back and pick up a few more. I mean, $7, you can't beat that.