News / Canada

Tax agency employee goes online to vent frustrations

The frustration and, yes, loathing many people feel for the tax man may be mutual.

That is if a new online game created by a part-time Canada Revenue Agency employee is any indication.

I Get This Call Every Day is the brainchild of Brampton native David S. Gallant, a “numb meat Popsicle,” as he rather imaginatively styles his day job as a customer service representative who fields taxpayers’ calls.

By night, he’s an edgy gamer guy, a self-taught developer who has created a number of free online games available on his website. I Get This Call Every Day, released in December, is downloadable for a minimum fee of $2 — or more — to “help the developer escape the job that inspired this game.”

Gallant says the game is a “work of fiction” inspired by “true events.” The title, he insists, is 100-per-cent accurate.

With the game, Gallant says he’s “expressing my frustrations with a daily job that’s making me feel less like a human being every day.”

I Get This Call Every Day is a “personal tale of unwinnable realities … a point-and-click conversation pulled from my day job.”

The job involves answering calls from taxpayers. Some want information, others have simple requests like changing their address.

And if the dialogue from the game is any indicator, callers can be annoying and stupid. The caller in the game is unable to understand, or simply doesn’t listen to simple questions like, “What city and province are you from?” Nor can he give his social insurance number correctly.

In the game, the player listens to a conversation between a person talking to a government-style customer service representative. There is no specific mention of government but one of the graphics refers to “Last Tax Return” and some of the security questions asked of the caller are similar to what real CRA agents require.

The caller, who comes across as dense and snippy, wants to get his address changed and the player decides how the agent answers by clicking on screen choices.

“It’s easy (for the agent) to get fired in the game,” says Gallant.

He admits that’s a possible scenario for himself as well following publicity about his game. “I made this bed when I released the game. If I have to lie in it, I will lie in it. That’s just something I will have to deal with.’’

Gallant says although his job is frustrating, he doesn’t mean to imply that everyone is like the caller in the game. “Some are sharp and spry and I actually enjoy those calls.”

That said, the inspiration for the game, came “out of a place of frustration from my day job.”

Gallant admits he took the CRA job out of financial need. “This is not my career path.”

CRA spokesman Sam Papadopoulos said Monday he could not comment specifically about the game but stated that all CRA employees “are bound by our code of ethics and conduct that includes expected behaviour outside work hours and in a post-employment period.”

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