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BC HST Hits 20%--at selected stores

Well, that didn’t take long!  Remember all those promises BC retailers wouldn’t use the HST to rip off consumers? And the Premier, the Finance Minister and the business community wouldn’t lie to us, would they?

Been to Zellers lately?

I was there today and the cashier asked, before ringing up the total for my single item, if I would like a bag.

“No, don’t need one,”  I replied in my best save-the-environment green society tone.

Then out of curiousity, and  perhaps because of the 38 years of journalistic experience, I asked, “Are they charging for them now?”

Yes, the cashier replied:  Five cents for the bag and one cent HST.

Wait a minute.  On a nickel purchase, a penny HST works out to 20 per cent HST!!

How many hundreds of thousands of  bags does Zellers use each month? Charging a penny HST on each one “sold” to consumers may sound like a small thing. However,  adding an extra 8 per cent to any item beyond the actual authorized tax rate, even just to “round it up”  could add up to millions of dollars extra in someone’s pocket: theirs or the government’s!

And how many retailers are now charging “extra” for their cheap plastic bags?   Even at a nickel apiece, I suspect they are ripping off their customers.  But to charge an extra penny HST … now that’s chutzpah!

But there’s the rub. Who is going to do anything to stop the 20% HST!  Certainly not the retailers, who could be cashing in extra (and big time too for large chain retailers) just by doing that; and not likely the government, if the extra is being passed on to Victoria.

Now I understand what they mean when they say the HST is good for business.

Reprinted by permission of Harv Oberfeld. This article first appeared on his blog, Keeping it Real.