When a computer thinks you are married with 2.5 kids

Dear TurboTax ads on Hulu,

Hi. It’s me, Bonnie. I’m a big fan of the product you are selling. I’ve used TurboTax every year since I started earning an income. That’s 12 years yo. (Dude! I’ve been doing taxes for 12 years??!!) I love how easy your product is to use. I love how quickly I can get my taxes done with it. Granted, I’m not loving the every increasing price of your software, but I’m paying for the convenience as well as the accuracy.

But this year, I’m not so sure about you. Why do you keep asking me on your ads – ads personalized by the power of data crunched by super-powerful servers – whether I’ve enjoyed  ‘making a person who is really bad at eating’ (in your words)?

News flash: I have not made a person. Neither did I get married, or bought a house, or go on that business trip to De Moines. Not that these things aren’t great. But it doesn’t make me want to use your product if you are only looking out for the people who procreated, or had enough money to buy one of those over-priced, Cali-style stucco-ed, poorly crafted condos in the bay area.

Are you looking out for me? Are you asking me the right questions? Did you pay tuition this year? (Yes.) Did you support your parents this year? (Yes.) Did you buy school supplies for your classroom out of your own pocket? (Yes.) Union dues? Health insurance? Contributed to your retirement funds? (Yes, yes, and yes.)

Most of all, are you asking me if I used my money wisely? Did I save? Did I live within my means? Did I contribute to my community? Did I do everything in my power to be a good steward of my income?

Tangent: People who save a certain percent of their income should be given a tax break? Yes? And if this is supposed to happen, how come I haven’t really seen it affect me all these years?

Did I even do my taxes this year? (Not yet, still waiting on a couple more documents, but I have every intention of doing them before the end of March.) Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing as a citizen of this nation? Have I already paid a certain amount of taxes, taken directly from my paycheck? Has the government already taken my money before I even laid eyes on it?

I’m thankful that I can pay taxes, honestly. But I’m not liking it very much. And all the pressure to have kids, buy a house, and own a white picket fence upon which my dog pees on should come only from my mother and elderly aunts. Not from the company that helps me do my taxes.

So look out for me, please, as well as all the other people out there who haven’t ‘made a person’ yet. We matter just as much as they do. ‘K? Thanks.


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