It’s bad enough that gas is at $2.00 a gallon. Today I got another shock. At lunch today I drove over to the Westgate area of Spartanburg to browse in Best Buy and to get a quick bite to eat at Chik-fil-a. Their #1 sandwich combo costs $4.79, so I pulled out a five dollar bill. The nice lady in the speaker box told me that it would be $5.13. How could this be? At the state’s 5% sales tax, that should only come to $5.02 at most. Hmmm. I asked at the window, and it was explained to me that Spartanburg now has a 7% sales tax.
Now I’m really glad that I didn’t buy anything at Best Buy. Let’s take, for example that $149 Delphi Roady 2 mobile adapter I had been eyeing. In Greenville, with tax, it would run $156.45, but in Spartanburg it’s going to be about $3 more. That’s not a whole lot, but it’s enough to buy lunch at Wendy’s (assuming, of course, that you aren’t in Spartanburg.)
I believe sales taxes in general to be one of the most regressive forms of taxation available, especially as applied in South Carolina. In most states that rely more on sales taxes, food and staples are usually exempt. However, in SC it’s applied across the board. Those that can afford it the least are hit disproportionately harder than those that can afford the increased prices. Of course, you know who is responsible for making these laws – those that can afford it, and who would rather pay a slightly higher price for purchases than a reasonable tax on luxuries and properties.
One final rant – I’m not a miser or a cheapskate by any stretch of the imagination, but I also don’t like being nickled and dimed. We had this problem with our local Atlanta Bread Company, which is now out of business. Cheese on any sandwich was $0.20 extra, yet they would invariably ask, "Would you like cheese on that?", employing "suggestive sales techniques." Another loathesome tactic would be to display a specialty sandwich with some fancy bread, cheese, and other items. The sandwich would be advertised at one price, but if you ordered one, you would learn that the fancy bread and cheese were extra, sometimes adding as much as an entire dollar to the price of the sandwich to get it as displayed. Don’t lie to me. Tell me how much it costs up front and I might be more agreeable.
According to Laura, this practice doesn’t extend to all Atlanta Bread Company stores. While I’m somewhat glad that our local place is gone, I do miss a quick place to grab a good cup of coffee and muffin. I wish it would re-open under better management.
Well, I’ll have to modify my rant a bit. It turns out the 7% tax in Spartanburg only applies to food purchased in a restaurant. I guess I can still shop there.