Last week I was the most “cash broke” I have ever been in my life.
I am not afraid to say that, mostly because it’s the full truth, nonetheless not having cash always leaves you needing, well, cash.
I needed it badly.
To be fair and less dramatic on Monday of last week my entire net worth was about $20. That lasted me till Wednesday. I was without cash for two days; that is until some favorable blessings came my way.
I woke up Thursday morning completely broke. I think I had like two quarters on my nightstand.
I was hungry. Oatmeal and coffee alone didn’t suffice, and I didn’t want this to be my diet for the rest of the day.
When lunch came around I had nothing to eat, and no money to go buy something, I was pretty bummed, hungry and annoyed. I decided I would clean my room then do some writing and take a nap. I had plans to see my parents later in the day and as immature as it sounds, I figured I could hold off till I had my hands on the contents of their refrigerator.
While cleaning my apartment I found something I had previously purchased that I had planned to return months ago, but never did.
I searched through the bag and found the receipt which read:
GOOD FOR RETURNS UNTIL 04/26/13.
The amount of the return would be about $14.
Suddenly I had enough money for two meals and some snacks, in my mind I was golden.
I finished cleaning my room up, showered and headed out. About midway through my trip I looked at the bag in the passenger seat and began laughing.
Here I was driving to a store to return something so I could have some cash, I told myself I had better moments in life to remember, but as long as I am laughing about this now I am in pretty good shape. It was kind of funny anyway.
I arrived at the store to find the return line littered with people who by the looks of it were doing the same thing I was attempting to do. (maybe not, but the thought made me feel better and less poor)
I was hungry, anxious and I had to keep telling myself “patience” until it was finally my turn.
The guy who helped me took my receipt and scanned the products before asking,
“Do you want this on your VISA or store credit?”
Now naturally the VISA would have been fine, but the debit card I used for this purchase was no longer active. I had to reissue it after losing the card and unfortunately the funds needing to be returned could not be put on the new card.
Of course store credit would have worked had I not spent every last cent of that $14 in my head already.
When I was informed of this dilemma, the first thought that ran through my head was, “ummm I just wasted about two miles of gas coming here and I will be leaving without money and still hungry. This is shitty”
I informed the cashier, “I’d have no problem in taking a store credit, but I don’t shop here ever and would never use it, I don’t mean to be difficult but is there anyway you could help me out?”
Let me just say that this cashier was a nice dude from the start. He leaned over and asked his manager if there was anything else he could do, his manager not in any hurry to help me out said, “I don’t know, if it doesn’t give you option to give him cash then you cant do it.”
The smartass in me wanted to say something clever, anything. Instead I kept my patience, while this cool cashier said he would try to run the merchandise without a receipt to see if the option would come up.
Fortunately for me, the option to “refund cash” did come up. I over thanked the dude, who was gracious and understanding, but probably wondered, “I just got you $14 bucks dude, I didn’t cure cancer.”
I walked out of that store and out loud with the biggest smile on my face repeated the phrase “holy shit that was absolutely so fucking cool, wow huge blessing, huge swing in my favor.”
I received a weird look, but at that point I was beyond content and could careless about how “crackheadish” I seemed.
Suddenly I felt richer than ever. I had imagined receiving the $14 without issue, and in a moment of uncertainty was told that wouldn’t be possible, only for it TOO actually workout; talk about an emotional roller coaster. It was like winning twice.
It gets better.
As I sat in my car I had already made plans of how to make this $14 expire, and then I realized I had no gas.
The “low gas” light was on, and paranoia of “running out of gas” began to set in, not too mention the realization that putting gas in the car would cause a significant dent in my newfound net worth, which including those two quarters was currently at $14.50.
I wondered what to do until….
I had come to a solution!
I would embarrassingly put $5 in my car for gas.
This would get me home to my parent’s house, and still leave me enough money for one meal.
After waiting for the window to clear I nervously approached this gas station cashier and nearly laughing asked, “could I get $5 on No. 2?”
Thankfully the cashier didn’t make me feel anymore embarrassed than I already felt. I wondered while putting gas if gambling could rival how fast that $5 seem to disappear at the pump.
I took my $9 and decided I could crush a ton of Taco Bell. I spent about $7 and some change. I held off on a drink being extra careful with my idea of “budgeting.” I decided to buy a soda at the vending machine instead of overpaying for ice at Taco Bell. (hey-00000)
With my last dollar and change I went to the vending machine. A man was filling up the machine and I asked him if I could buy a soda while he was filling it up. He handed it me and as I handed him my “payment” he stiff-armed me and said it was “ok.”
Free soda??? HUGE!
I over thanked him like three times, and went shouting down the hallway of my apartment proclaiming, “I am so blessed!”
I sat in my room shortly after doing some writing, eating, and TV watching. In excitement I found myself every five minutes muttering some version of the following statement:
“Woke up starving, started cleaning found a solution, went on a mission and after all is said and done I have gas, a full belly and a dollar to get some gummy bears before I head to West Covina, who has got it better than me?”
Seriously though… who does have it better than me?