Author - Speaker - teacher


February 20, 2002


“I can’t believe the nerve of these idiots!” Sammy screamed. “I’ll never do business with them.”

“Calm down, you’ll have a heart attack,” Sally said, laying her arm across her beloved husband’s shoulders. She saw his face had turned crimson red and he clenched his fists. “What are you so angry about?” 

“It’s that Internet company, you know, the one we order food from?”

“What about them?” Sally asked, worried that she would have to give up the luxury of personal delivery of her groceries.

“Well, you should see what they asked for. Look at this,” Sammy said, bringing the secure server up on the screen and shaking his pointer finger at the website. “Here, look, there’s our names, both of them. Our social security numbers. Both of them. Where we work. Where we bank and what kind of bank accounts we have. I don’t mind them asking for our address,” he said, softening his voice. “But here, they want my bank account routing number and account number. And a credit card number.”

“But they need that, don’t you think. So we can do business with them?” she pleaded weakly.

“And then they store all this away. They know how we spend our money and on what. It makes me nervous,” he said, spinning around in his chair and looking up at her, pleading for her to understand his frustration. “Don’t you see? Why do they need to know all this? It’s just not right. This is personal stuff.” 

“Well, if you don’t want to provide it, I can go back to buying groceries at the store,” Sally sighed.

Later that same day, Sammy sat at the kitchen table across from Sally. She had retrieved all the family tax records. Sammy asked questions and wrote the answers as Sally provided them. 

“How much did we earn on our W-2s?”

“How much savings interest?”

“What did we make in the stock market?”

“How much did we give to church and to the Salvation Army?”

“How much did we spend with the doctor, hospital, glasses and the dentist? Oh, and the chiropractor? We can even tell them how many miles we drove.”

“Now what is Donnie’s social security number? Della’s? David’s?”

“And where did they go to school? This is for the state education credit. And what did they study?”

“Oh, we want to make sure to include our insurance loss, and property taxes.”

Four hours later, Sammy finally finished figuring and fuming over his 1040 and six attached schedules. “Great,” he said, wiping his brow. “We get $1247 back. Here, let me fill in our bank routing number and account number. Got them there?” he asked Sally. She read him the numbers. 

“I’m glad we don’t have to pay in anything this year, but at least they’ve added credit card payment,” Sammy said, proudly pointing at a line on the form. “Makes it much easier.”

Sammy checked over his figures one last time. Then he pronounced, “Glad that’s done. Make sure you file everything away so we can find it in case we get audited.” he instructed his weary wife. He stood up, took a deep breath and smiled. It felt good to get the taxes done.

“Why do they need to know all this?” Sally asked, overwhelmed and even stunned by the depth of information just entered on their tax forms. “It’s just not right. This is personal stuff.”

“Well, if you don’t want to provide it, you can go to prison. But not me,” Sammy said, as he headed back to the computer, still searching for a non-invasive grocery delivery service.

Sammy had it all figured out. The Internet and private businesses are invasive. The government? He told them his most private and privileged information without a thought.

Maybe that’s Sammy’s problem; he doesn’t think.


Egads! Look what they're asking!!