I really like my company-sponsored Medical Flex Spending Account. Maybe it's just the Scotsman in me, but there is something awfully appealing about using tax-free money to buy medical goods and services that I would use anyway. To make the deal even sweeter, my company even issues a debit card to expedite the claim process, so I theoretically don't even have to submit receipts every single time!
The problem, of course, is that they also do "random" checks to verify that I am not misusing the flex spending debit card. And as far as I can tell, these "random" checks seem to require me to submit receipts for 90% of the purchases I have ever made with said debit card. So, basically, it is only deferring and complicating the claim process, rather than expediting it.
The best part is that most of the "we need your payment" notices are sent by offshore associates who work during their daytime, which is, of course, our night-time. This can be amusing, like for instance when I receive a notice via e-mail at 1:07 a.m. on Christmas morning. Also amusing is the fact that this notice said it was the second request even though I had never received the first one.
Being the good citizen that I am, I promptly complied and sent them a receipt. Of course, being the ornery person I am, I also enclosed the following letter:
January 2, 2009
(Haha, just kidding – it’s only my first
response! I bet I got you, didn’t I?)
To: Whom It May Concern
Re: Your Very Thoughtful Christmas Gift
My very dear Whom (May I call you Whom, or would you prefer Mr./Ms. May-Concern?):
It is with a heavy heart that I take keyboard in hand on this second day of the new year. Why, you ask, should my heart be so heavy? Because of the all cholesterol in there, that’s why. But also because I am clearly not working hard enough. I had once thought of myself as a Certified First-Rate Workaholic©, but your office is clearly full of much more dedicated work-persons than I.
Perhaps I should begin at the beginning. I came to work on the morning December 26, 2008 chock-full of good tidings, great joy, and also my mother’s home-made fudge. In short, if anyone had asked how I was, I probably would have responded, “Full of Holiday Cheer, my friend! Merry Christmas!” However, no one asked, as very few of my co-workers inquire after my health – or, indeed, communicate with me at all, unless their job duties mandate that they do so. But fine, whatever, let them be that way. See if I care.
And then, in the midst of my festal glee, I saw it in my inbox: your e-mail, a copy of which I have enclosed, signed, stamped, and fingerprinted for your reference. I would have sealed it too, but I was out of wax.
The moment I saw that e-mail, I had a life-changing revelation. Your simple electronic message, comprised of mere ones and zeroes, sparkling so guilelessly in ASCII format on my workstation computer monitor, taught me that the true Spirit of Christmas resides neither in presents, nor hot chocolate, nor yet homemade confectionary delights from one’s mother.
No, the True Spirit of Christmas cannot be accurately conveyed in any manner other than e-mails sent at 1:07 AM on Christmas morning requesting copies of receipts for services that are eligible for Flex Spending Accounts and containing polite threats regarding the “interruption in the use of my card” if I do not comply. Apparently, the True Spirit of Christmas also requires for the e-mail to be marked “Second Notice,” thus perplexing its recipient, who cannot remember ever receiving a first one. Perhaps it was clogged in the Internetic Tubes along with a clump of other cyber-paraphernalia such as Sesame Street–Harry Potter crossover fan fiction, cute pictures of Aunt Essie’s kittens, and e-mails from Senator Ted Stevens (R – AK) to Dell Technical Support, inquiring as to the location of his electronic typing computer machine’s “Any” key.
But I digress. My point is simply to thank you, my dearest Whom, from the bottom of my heart for sharing your inexpressibly great wisdom and grasp of the True Meaning of Christmas with me, your unworthy servant! Without you, I would be helpless. Without you, there would be no one to suspect me of committing tax fraud by using my Flex Convenience Card on items such as Cocoa Puffs and racehorses and clown shoes and Lord knows what else. Without you, I would be utterly incomplete.
And so, as my return gift to you, Whom, I have enclosed a facsimile image of the receipt you requested for my transaction of $83.20 on November 19, 2008. You will notice from the detailed list of “Services and Procedures” that my lovely wife spent these funds on eyeglasses, and not on any illicit, non-tax-exemptable items such as cases of Tang© Astronaut Drink, fuzzy dice, or twin ill-tempered Shetland Ponies named José and Enrique.
For good measure, I have also enclosed a receipt for another transaction wherein I spent $126.00 on eyeglasses (my eyes are apparently 52% weaker than my wife’s eyes, if these prices are any indicator!). I noticed that I had $0.80 left in my Flex Account, and I would be most obliged if you would send it to me in the form of a cheque so that I may squander it on a pair of fancy socks or something equally frivolous. If you cannot do this, then I would appreciate a written notice to that effect, because I know that generating such a written notice will probably cost at least $0.80, so I will have gotten my money’s worth either way.
Wishing you and yours a splendidly terrifical new year, I remain your most humble and obedient servant,
Ne’er-Do-Well and Silly-Pants Extraordinaire
(I am not even joking -- I really did send this. I hope it will be displayed in some poor cube-dweller's Hall of Crazy some day.)