My paycheck was auto-deposited today as it is every fortnight (that I’m employed at my current position, that is). I then spent $28.74 of my hard-earned wage on a single little tin of Erinmore Flake.

Yes, that’s $28.74 ($24.99 + $3.75 HST) on a little 50g tin that I can get for $8.49 at 4noggins or $7.38 at PipesandCigars. Given that the Canadian dollar is pretty much at parity with the US dollar (for now — it won’t be much longer before the Canadian dollar is permanently stronger) I just spent 3.89 times the amount I could have spent if I had just waited a few weeks to get it in upstate New York on one of my occassional trips to the states. Plus, I spent it on a blend I have never tried, which means I could have just thrown my money down the toilet like I’ve done with some blends that turned out to be one-star. (Can you say Peterson DeLuxe?)

Why would I do something so ostensibly foolish? Good question (to myself, that is). I will now create all sorts of justifications and rationales for this irrational expenditure.

I suppose first and foremost, this is the cost of instant gratification. I had finished a tin of Grousemoor last night, and I don’t want to open any of my cellared tins just yet. I’ve wanted to try Erinmore Flake for a long time and figured it might be a good substitute in the interim. So I didn’t want to wait. So if I can’t wait to try something, then I should expect to pay through the nose to try it. Consider it a consequence of consumerist self-indulgence, if not a penalty. (Overnight delivery costs more than standard, right?)

And unlike most people, I honestly don’t mind paying taxes. No, I’m not insane. And no, I’m not happy about it. But unlike some places I’ve lived, I see my tax dollars in action here improving our quality of life. To me there are far more important things in life than to harbor resentments for having to pony up additional monies to indulge my desire for luxuries. And few things are more of a luxury than pipe smoking, no matter how much I consider it one of the great pleasures in my life. There’s no way I could conceivably claim it was a necessity and mean it. Where I live necessities (ie: basic groceries and food products, children’s clothes, drugs, medical services) are not taxed. That strikes me as fair: no tax for what you need; tax for what you don’t need.

Which leads me to another reason as to why I’m not apoplectic with rage about having to pay such seemingly exorbitant taxes. Where I live I see my taxes being used (in general) for the public good. Toronto is a beautifully maintained city with great public transit and lots of amenities like terrific libraries, great schools, and many lovely parks; and many events are subsidized with my tax dollars that bring in tourists and conventioneers from all over the world.

But most of all, my taxes are contributing to the health and wellbeing of my fellow citizens. I, for one, greatly appreciate socialized medicine; and if I have to pay a premium in tobacco taxes to satisfy my need for instant gratification in a pasttime with admittedly deleterious health consequences, and that money goes towards funding the healthcare of my fellow citizens, then I’m okay with it.

Of course I’d rather not pay almost four times the amount for a product than I need to, but I’m not going to rail against a policy that I grudgingly understand. I also easily acknowledge that Canada seems okay with my spending my money in the states to circumvent such draconian taxes, 200 grams at a time (which is the duty free limit).

But every once in a while when I can’t wait to satisfy my need for a specific blend fix, I’m not going to whine about paying through the nose for it. It’s my choice, and it would be foolish to hand over my money with a grudge when I don’t have to.



2 Responses to “On Paying Exorbitant Instant-Gratification Taxes”

  1. cortezattic said:

    This could become a protracted (and probably heated) debate on the philosophy of taxation and government’s voracious appetite for control of our every activity. Suffice to say that I feel regret for the sense of resignation you express concerning what, to me, are usurious and confiscatory tax policies. They should be met with opposition and circumvention whenever encountered.

    I am not, however, opposed to usage taxes; but as reported in a recent blog post:
    even then, “…when it comes to the dealings of the state and federal governments, only a meager amount of this revenue is actually being spent on what it’s supposed to be being (sic) spent on.”

    For a long time now I’ve relied on your aesthetic insight and sense of good taste in tobacco. I wish your socio-political and economic opinions were as cogent and useful as your tobacco reviews. Sorry for the trenchancy of my remarks, but I think you need a rhetorical slap in the face.

  2. Kevin said:

    Yes, it’s completely up to you or I, how we spend our money. That’s a good comparison with overnight shipping - you want it now, you pay more.

    It would be silly to buy something and then complain how much it costs, yet sometimes people do that.

    I too have paid much higher prices at a B&M because 1) I just wanted what I wanted right now, and 2) I like to support them when I can as it is not their fault that the idiotic government in the US like to constantly pile taxers upon taxes on tobacco.

    In my review of Balkan Sasieni you can see a photo of the back of the tin with a price of $18.10, while the review provides a link where you can buy it for $6.99.

    I’m glad you feel the Canadian government uses tax revenue wisely. I’m not too sure about that in the US.

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