April 18, 2011
Same goes for the cash you take home after playing hangman with Pat Sajak and Vanna White on "Wheel of Fortune."
But getting issued a 1099 form and taking a $237 tax hit after winning over 300 coupons for free donuts and coffee on fan appreciation day at a Houston Astros game?
Yet that — and presumably thousands of empty hidden calories — were the hidden costs for Bob Choate. As the Houston Chronicle reports, the Astros fan thought he had hit a jelly-filled jackpot when he won 315 coupons for a free coffee and doughnut at Shipley Do-Nuts last season. But the prize was estimated by the team and chain to be worth $927.61 — or about $3 a coupon. And that led to them requiring a 1099 tax form to be issued because it was above the $600 threshold.
Choate thought the doughnuts and coffee were not worth that much. In fact, he only used eight coupons because — let's face it — there's no way anyone could ever cash in 315 coupons and live to tell about it. He brought this up with both the team and doughnut chain and after getting no relief from the Astros, doughnut baron Lawrence Shipley agreed to cover the tax on his goods.
From the Houston Chronicle:
Choate said he's made the exchange with the Astros and Shipley a lesson for his kids.
"I told them that if you think something isn't the way it should be, speak up and be professional and reasonable and diplomatic," he said. "And, if you're on the other side of the table, you should listen."
But before you start thinking that Choate is a chronic complainer who's only looking for a free ride — or 26 free dozen doughnuts — know this: He was so impressed by the doughnut chain's gesture that he says he's going to donate $237 to Shipley's favorite charity. I'll dunk a cruller to that.
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