Thoughts of a geek

2 October 2010


Filed under: Me — Tags: , , , — qwandor @ 10:04 am

Hello there!
It has been rather a while since I blogged. Not a lot has happened that I could think of much to write about, or perhaps it is just that I have not been able to find motivation to do so. Anyway, I thought it was really about time I wrote something, so I asked the usual social networks, and there were a few suggestions. Mostly from Twitter. I will see what I can do, here goes…

yomcat thinks that I should write about stalking tactics. Hmm. Not sure what I can say about that one. Perhaps he should be the one writing about this topic?

fibby thinks I should write about VAT. I do not know much at all about VAT; in fact, it seems she knows rather more about it than I do. She had heard that there was no VAT charged on shoes. A little research on the web suggests that this is not quite the case. Young children’s footwear and clothing is, however, exempt from VAT. In particular, items of clothing or footwear which are not made of fur and are designed for and only suitable for children under 14 years old. Fur lined boots and articles only trimmed with fur are allowed though. There are some interesting corner cases; for example, alterations which do not alter the ‘essential nature’ of an article (the examples given are altering sleeve length, repairing, or embroidering a school badge) are charged VAT, but alterations which do change the ‘essential nature’ are exempt. The example given in this case is changing a blazer into a waistcoat. So hey, there you go! You can get a blazer turned into a waistcoat only suitable for a child under 14 and not pay VAT on the work! Sleeping bags are only eligible to be exempted from VAT if they have arm and leg holes. Rain covers for pushchairs are only exempt if they can also be worn as rain capes by babies.

Other than that, you can read a list of categories of goods and services exempt from VAT or charged a lower rate of VAT.

fibby also wanted to know what it is like to live in a country with 20% sales tax. As far as I can see the standard (and highest) rate of VAT is 17.5%, so I would not know. In general, though, I think the exact amount of sales tax is not really a great worry. Some things are certainly a lot more expensive here, though some are cheaper. Accommodation costs around twice as much as in Wellington, perhaps a bit more. Fresh fruit, vegetables and meat are generally a fair bit more expensive than in Wellington and not as nice, though there are some exceptions (bananas are relatively cheap and good, for example). On the other hand, most processed or preserved food (stuff in cans or boxes or bags) is significantly cheaper in the supermarkets here. CDs are also cheaper here, and I hear books are too. I think in general there is a wider range of prices: for things like clothes, and food for that matter, the bottom end of the range is significantly cheaper than can be found in NZ, but there are many more expensive choices. But I digress. Perhaps I should discuss this further some other time.

Hmm, well I was planning to include more requests in this post, but I got distracted and now it is getting late, so I think I will leave it at that for now and continue another day in another post. Meanwhile, more requests are welcome!



  1. Hi Andrew
    Firstly, I’m sad you haven’t written more about stalking. I realise you’re a very literal and serious person. But who would you stalk? And why?
    I tried to come up with some victims for you, but I could only think of bible charactors and scientists. Which makes it obvious my lack of knowledge about you 😦 So on that line… what do you read about? fictional, non-fiction? What interests you?
    I tried to stalk Elijah Wood for a little while. Ok, for an afternoon. was fun!
    Lol at your VAT comments. To much thinking has gone into that tax it seems.

    Comment by katie — 2 October 2010 @ 10:55 am

  2. I’ve since read your blog tag “books”.
    Doesn’t answer my questions, but thanks for teh Infinity Beach by Jack McDevitt recomendation. I”ll look it up at library.

    Comment by katie — 2 October 2010 @ 11:00 am

    • If you want another recommendation, read “The Diamond Age” by Neal Stephenson.

      Comment by qwandor — 2 October 2010 @ 11:02 am

  3. slayer

    Comment by Richard — 2 October 2010 @ 12:44 pm

    • Yes, I saw your comment on Facebook. They will probably be in the next post.

      Comment by qwandor — 2 October 2010 @ 8:20 pm

  4. Andrew, write about what is like to work for the worlds biggest .com company. Tell us what is good & bad, what skills you use from your studies, what you wished you knew now that you didn’t know before, what is the best thing about work, what you do @ work, how work is different from England & NZ, …

    Comment by Craig — 2 October 2010 @ 1:16 pm

  5. Well, cheers for that 🙂 I never tire of hearing stories about the madness that is British VAT exemption. Sleeping bags with arm and leg holes? Really?

    I had this idea that VAT was going up to 20% sometime this year, but maybe not.

    Look how much you managed to write about a topic you thought was narrow in scope! 😛

    Comment by Gael — 3 October 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  6. […] fridge, Google, projects, Slayer, thequotebook — qwandor @ 2:33 am Continuing on from my last post, here are some more topics people requested me to write […]

    Pingback by More requests « Thoughts of a geek — 4 October 2010 @ 2:34 am

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