Sales tax is a necessary evil. I understand. I'm not complaining about it, even though the state I live in doesn't have an arbitrary number tacked on to every transaction and we have yet to be consumed by the ever-approaching forest. But I digress. This isn't about the necessity of sales tax; it's about the wildly uneven prices of goods in a state with sales tax.
If your state has sales tax and the businesses you frequent aren't gypsy caravans perpetually roving across the nation, but rather ordinary shops with fixed locations, then why the fuck don't they factor sales tax into the final price?
If your local sales tax is seven cents on the dollar, why does a Mars bar still cost 99 cents? That makes the true cost to you $1.06. What if you only have a dollar and foolishly assume that the price on the sticker buys you entrance to the nougaty halls of mighty Mars? Can you deal with that sort of disappointment? Plus, even if you have the cash, who the hell has a use for four pennies in this day and age?
And don't give me that "Stores won't drop their prices just to come out with an even amount" crap. They don't have to drop anything: If one of those convenience-store frankfurters normally costs $1.49 and they upped the price 37 cents, we would all still buy it because we're drunk and ready to make gastrointestinal mistakes. If an archaic and withered hot dog from 7-Eleven lists at $1.86 in a state with 7 percent sales tax, everybody would leave the store having paid two dollars even, feeling both happy and satisfied with the experience. That's because every time a transaction comes up as a nice even number, there is a part of every human being that feels as though we have accomplished something. With every transaction becoming a minor victory, consumer confidence would be through the roof. Spending would increase, the economy would skyrocket, and America would be saved. So why does everything cost $1.06?
I'm telling you: This is some Harrison Bergeron shit. The lizard people are trying to weigh you down with useless copper, one penny at a time, until you wake up one day and find you can no longer dance.
Bus fare is $2.10. Only got two bucks? Go fuck yourself, walky. Only got three bucks? Plunk 'em in there. Haha, no, you don't get change. What, you too good to carry dimes? Why, in my day, a dime could get you two whole crates of nothing.
A dime couldn't buy you a god damn thing for as long as any human being has been alive.
But even if you carry change -- even if you have a small cache of coins hidden in your sock in case you encounter an old-timey newsie -- what guarantee is there that you have a dime? You're drunk as fuck and you just bought a pouch of mystery pills, a hot rod magazine, and a desiccated hot dog that looks like a mummy's dick -- you've got two dollars, two quarters, and four pennies, but not a dime in sight. You'll be damned if you're paying extra for the privilege of sitting on an uncomfortable plastic seat with an upholstery pattern like a Turkish rave and probably covered in a fine sheen of hobo ejaculate. So it looks like you're walking. You turn to leave, dignity intact, and then you stumble, almost drop your dog, fumble to recover it, and end up running in front of a car.
Now you're dead.
And all because public transport thinks we have little change belts bolted to our midriff in preparation for the ever-shifting cost of entry to a vehicle full of drunks and old people looking for captive conversation. It's really just a permutation of the sales tax conspiracy: The Cybermen don't want you escaping onto a passing bus when they're trying to assimilate you. They want you to fumble through that tiny pocket in your jeans that you keep thinking holds change, but really only holds lint and a thrice-washed receipt. They want you to come up empty, give the bus driver a heartfelt look, and be booted right back onto the pavement so they can steal your humanity unimpeded.
Or maybe public transportation is just run by a bunch of incompetent assholes. Occam's Razor and all that.