I got an email saying I was due loads of cash from them there horrible Government people because I had paid too much tax. As emails go, this sounded very plausible to me. Particularly when measured against a lot of the other shitey spam toss that fills my inbox. Mostly involving penii. This is a word I possibly invented as a plural for the word penis. If it's not a valid word then it definitely should be.
So this email. It said all I had to do was fill in a form and send back all my personal and bank details and then they would process it and send me lots of lovely money. But, not having the brains of a gullible amoeba - in fact I like to think I'm at least several stages up from that - I managed to restrain myself from randomly sending off such precious information in exchange for free cash. I've been caught out like that before. I'm still waiting for that Nigerian prince to get back to me.
But it did get me to thinking. I probably am due some kind of tax return by now. After all, I vaguely recall that loads of people have had them over the last few months, following some kind of monumental fuck up by the work experience kid at Her M's Tax Office. So why not me? I've probably paid way more tax than I should have done. I mean, I'm bound to have done. They take far more than is polite on a monthly basis as it is, and I'm almost positive that they probably owe me, like, LOADS.
So I decided to give them a call. Anyone who has done this knows that very soon you're lost in a Kafkaesque nightmare of bureaucracy and this endlessly confusing phone menu. I always end up having to ignore it all until I get to a bit where the lady says that she'll transfer me through to someone who might be able to help.
So I get someone who might be able to help.
Me [confidently]: Hi... I got this email and it says you owe me money.
Him [irritably]: It's spam. We don't send out emails.
Me [crestfallen yet hopefully]: Oh. Well. Would you mind checking whether I am due for a tax rebate?
Him [patiently]: Sure... [a few minutes pass]. No. But I notice you haven't filled in your tax return yet. You have to do that.
Me [sadly]: So, I won't get any free money?
Him [sternly]: No.
Me [quietly]: And I have to do my tax return, like, now?
Him [quiet clearly run out of patience now]: Yes. You do.
Me [meekly]: kthxbye
So in one phone call I went from thinking I was getting free cash to not getting free cash, realising that I haven't done something that I'm extremely legally obliged to do with yet another task to add to my ever growing Adult Things I Have To Do Very Soon list.