20. September, 2005 - business woes

Yesterday was not an especially good day. I spent all morning wrangling with various things that I don’t even want to think about. It started with the state. Minnesota has instituted a new Unemployment Insurance website, and requires all employers to use it. The problem is that while I knew the Federal Taxpayer ID number for my business, and my state of Minnesota ID number for payroll withholding, there was yet another number for the UI stuff with the state that my business has had forever, but which I never knew. And to top it off, that number isn’t even what you need to put into the website to log in, you have to enter your User ID, which is something completely different. I’m not sure why there can’t be a single ID for the state, but I suspect the reason is that the people who coded up the website designed it for ease of use by the state employees, and not business owners like me. If they’d been thinking about their actual customers, they would have used an already existing ID.

Once I had that mostly sorted out, I called Paychex. I’ve run payroll twice this month, on the first and fifteenth, and had trouble both times. The problem is a new “payroll specialist” who doesn’t seem to have learned the vocabulary they’ve trained me to use over the past six-plus years, but instead put his own spin on things. I spoke with his supervisor, and explained that the reason I pay them to handle all this payroll stuff is that I’m trying to save time. But when I run payroll, and then have to call back in to correct mistakes, the time-savings is a lot less. I explained that I was trying to be understanding, but between the mess with the state (which was resolved by setting up Paychex as an agent for my business — something I thought should have happened automatically, since they’ve been handling my payroll since 1999 and I’ve filled out plenty of forms for the state allowing them to do that) and the payroll confusion, I was close to the breaking point. So I come out of the deal with a new specialist who’s been at this for a while, and a discount on the payroll processing for a while.

In the afternoon, I found myself spending the afternoon wondering why I even bother running my own business rather than getting any work done. Lately the headaches involved seem to far outweigh any benefit. I’m not closing the doors just yet, but this camel’s back is aching and it’s not going to take many more straws. When people I haven’t talked to for a number of years wonder why I’ve grown to be so anti-government, this is a prime example of the reason. Every interaction I’ve had with the government in the course of running my business has meant nothing but a big ball of stress. Is it too much to ask to just be left alone to help my customers? Apparently it is.

Finally, while I’m griping, I might as well complain about my ISP, too. I got a bill a couple weeks ago that I think has some mistakes. I emailed their billing department on the 10th, and called in yesterday. I still haven’t heard back from anyone there. And this from a place that says We believe service has been swallowed whole and replaced by automated disappointment. We want to bring service back, make it new again. Well, if this is the new service, I’d rather have the old guys where I could stop by with a six-pack of beer and have all the problems resolved before we’d finished the first beer.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 13:59:34.