I love ice cream. Based on national consumption levels, I eat more than my share. I don't have a favorite brand; I make the rounds and enjoy trying new flavors. It was on a whim of trying new flavors that I discovered that Florida's sales tax laws need to be updated ... or ice cream manufacturers need to change their marketing.
I was at Whole Foods where I saw there was a sale on a particular brand that I really enjoy. It's made with coconut milk. I put 10 or so of the pint-size containers in my cart and I headed to the cashier. When the cashier rang up my purchase there was tax on the ice cream.
I know that Florida doesn't charge tax on a food item unless it's a snack or prepared food, so I asked the cashier why I was being charged tax on the ice cream. She told me that she didn't know but the tax was automatically included through the computer system of Whole Foods and that she didn't decide what was to be taxed or not taxed.
The sale price was 10 percent off the regular price but once the sales tax was added on my savings was reduced to only 3 percent. And 3 percent is not much of a savings in my book! For some peculiar reason I decided not to continue asking questions but to go home and call the Lt. Governor's office and find out why I had to pay sales tax on a food item.
Once home I decided that I would read the laws governing the sales tax on food items for Florida before calling Tallahassee. I couldn't believe my eyes! Florida charges sales tax on units of ice cream that are one pint or less because it is considered a single serving. My pint of ice cream clearly states that there are four servings in the container. I'm sure the tax laws were put into place before gourmet ice creams became common place. Thirty years ago pints of ice cream took up a single shelf in the grocery store.
If Ben & Jerry's, SO Delicious, Häagen-Dazs and the other premium ice cream makers were to add just 1 teaspoon, or even 1/10th of an ounce, to a pint of ice cream we wouldn't have to pay sales tax on it in Florida.
Then, when the ice cream goes on sale for 10 percent off we would actually save 17 percent without the sales tax. It would be considered more than single serving! I think it would be easier to encourage the ice cream producers to add a few drops of ice cream than have the governing body of Florida to change the tax law.
I'm getting ready to call Ben & Jerry right now.