12/14/10

When the lights turn on

When you're a restaurant, you need to report your total credit card, cash, and tax due on said items every day. So suppose that today, in credit card sales, I made $100 total, before tips. I then made another $100 in cash, before tips. So ostensibly, (as I used to in the past, like an idiot) you'd calculate $100 + $100 = $200. 200 with the additional 8.875% tax rate for New York city comes to $217.75, right?

WRONG.

The numbers written on the credit card batch on the slips every night are the total, including tax. This is the same with the amount of money written on the bottom of the cash tickets, which is what's added together at the end of the day, and recorded on the sales report for the day. So while I know how to calculate the additional taxes very easily [(Total cost * 8.875%) + (Total Cost)], and you're set. Fairly straightforward, and easy enough to throw into Excel, so that it does all the work for me.

But what about the other way around?

And there were crickets chirping in my brain. So I tried every combination I could think of, to no avail. How did I know my numbers were wrong? I have a calculator with a "minus tax" button, that does the calculation for me. So a quick button press, and I knew I was consistently coming up with the wrong answer. I finally did an Internet search on it, and found this lovely website here:

http://www.simetric.co.uk/si_deduct_tax.htm

All of a sudden, it was like this huge lightbulb turned on in my head. I made a quick Excel formula, dragged it through the subsequent cells, and all the numbers added up! Backwards, forwards, upside-down. All of it was beautifully added to the totals, and the numbers just work. It's been a good long while since it's happened that nicely. Generally, when I'm wrangling numbers, I tend to get different answers if I don't have a perfect formula to work from. Instead, I end up getting the spread of data, from all over creation. Not a good thing when you're dealing with the tax man.

And the thing is, it could have all been solved with a quick Internet search. Why did it take so long for me to figure out the exact method that just works every time? I don't know, but I suspect that I wasn't quite ready for it yet. I've found that over time, if I'm not ready for something, it just won't come. I can try everything in my power to sort it out, but it just doesn't happen. I'll swear, I'll walk away and come back, and all those other techniques. But if it's just not the time for it, I'll still be stuck behind the wall, and unable to cross that barrier.

Today was different that way. It was a record cold day. Just by chance, before heading out for work, I did a quick check of the weather report, and saw that the temperature was below freezing, and we had a dusting of snow going down. Immediately, I threw on some tights, heavy jeans, heavy~ish shoes, t-shirt, zip up jacket, 2nd zip up jacket, and long trench coat (it keeps my legs and trunk warm). Just to be on the safe side, I packed my scarf into my bag.

I walk out, and it was the perfect set up. I was warm all the way into the subway. I got into work, and was informed that we're out of beans and hummus. Guess what? I'd boiled chickpeas /and/ beans yesterday. When things are going right, just follow the momentum, and go with it.

I attacked the financial stuff, and reached the familiar fumbling block. I decided to do an Internet search, on the off chance that someone else out there has wondered the same thing as I. And by sheer dumb luck, there it was. Now I feel like I can conquer anything.
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