Thursday, February 19, 2009

Daily life, tax trivia and darning

I was amused by an article in “The Australian” newspaper a couple of days ago pointing out that staff at Centrepoint, the Australian DHSS, feel they satisfactorily deal with 97% of customer complaints. Customers seem to have a different view, only 11% of them feel their complaint has been resolved. The important thing to note was that this just refers to basic complaints, the mind boggles at what the customer satisfaction gap might be on complex issues. I can’t afford to be smug however as we have similar, and indeed even larger perception gaps in our household, eg 100% of children believe that their rooms are tidied to an acceptable level versus the 0% parental rating.

Charlotte and I have been doing some mother child bonding over breakfast. It’s been one of the benefits this year that on my non working days the older two go off on the bus and Charlotte and I then have half an hour together before we start arguing about whether we drive or walk to school. Hands up if you can predict which side each of us is on, in this argument. The dog, who has an unfortunate underwear fetish, is also partial to Charlotte’s school shorts which are made of an obviously, deliciously chewy, sweatshirt type material. Charlotte objects quite naturally to appearing in shorts with small triangular tears which highlight the fluorescent pinkness of her pants underneath and so we embarked on a spot of darning this morning. I am not sure having a backside covered with tight little knots of material where we have enthusiastically plugged the holes is going to be much of an improvement, I think a visit to the school uniform shop is on the cards.

This morning’s highlight is going to see our accountant to do my tax return for last year. Ulterior motive on this one is that the Australian Government is giving $900 to all those who like me earn below a certain level and who have filed a tax return. The instruction from on high is that the money is to be spent on conspicuous consumption to boost the Australian economy. This Prime Ministerial command has of course filled my mind with endless possibilities for self-gratification. I suspect by the time the cheque comes through the money will have been spent at least three times over on a variety of frivolous outings. As one of my friends pointed out, it is quite difficult to think of an activity or purchase that will boost the Australian economy rather than the Chinese or US, but I'll salve my soul on the grounds that retail activity is a vital cog in the financial health of the nation even if the end product is manufactured overseas.

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