My previous jokes about being a poor student came true today. Having your debit card decline payment of the food you just ate due to insufficient funds is scary. Especially scary when your OTHER debit card is yet again lost and you can’t access your OTHER bank account.
I freaked out. Sam, being the awesome person she is, of course spotted me money for our adorable heart-shaped pizzas at Boston Pizza. Then she drove me to the bank where I freaked out on the lady who told me she couldn’t tell me anything about my account because it was a trust account and my mom had to be there. Basically I was like “This piece of plastic gets me into that account, and that account has ten dollars in it now, and I am freaking out and you need to tell me what is going on.”
Let’s get this straight—my bank is like a small town bank. One time the Bank Lady I was dealing with did not know how to use the printer and she did not know how to process a money order, okay? Another time I could not get $300 USD. I would think that $300 USD would be an acceptable and simple amount of American money to acquire via your financial institution, but it turns out I was wrong.
What was going on was I bought $450 of textbooks and a $302 iPod and then was essentially, you know, broke after buying things like overpriced cafeteria food at school. Because seriously, I handed that bank lady my ID and was like “she is my MOM and this is MY account and she is on there because we opened this account when I was SEVEN. THAT is probably why it is a trust account, and she will be coming in THIS AFTERNOON to relinquish control of my funds.”
Except I said it much less eloquently than that and more angrily and then Bank Lady decided I was legit and started spouting off numbers of Future Shop and university and food purchases and it all made sense, except for the part about the trust account [which I knew previously from past arguments with the bank]. Bank Lady could not give me a statement though and my MOM had to go in there and pick it up if I wanted it.
I essentially became a poor student, because I could not even buy lunch on debit. It was scary.
My mom saved me from my poorness and met me at the bank and relinquished any control of my bank account that she never used anyways, and replaced the money she owed me for textbooks and then some while I tried not to be too angry at the bank again. Because every time I go in there I have some sort of problem. Yes, I know becoming poor was my own fault because no, I did not read my last statement they mailed me, but really, last time that whole Trust Account issue would not allow me to withdraw $35 from them, and then I walked twenty steps to the ATM, withdrew, and got change for $40 from them.
The thing is, I know I have people who have my back, I know I have investments and alternate savings accounts. I know I have another bank account with money in it. And it scares me to know that how I felt today must be intensified hugely when you are an independent adult with legit bills to pay and people to feed and you DON’T have the above things and you get a receipt that says INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. People who have debt and mortgages and children and pets and have to buy essentials like food and soap and medicine who cannot make ends meet.
When Bank Lady was clicking at her computer, I was leaning on her Teller Ledge with my hands on my forehead praying for grace and resolution while Sam stood beside me, witnessing me verbally accosting Bank Lady with, um, very little grace. I’m not a good angry person—I don’t yell, I just, you know, get all frustrated and talk weird, and often call the bank stupid as I am leaving it.
I encounter problems with my bank all the time. Yet this was not a fault of theirs, but of mine. Most of my faults with my bank are actually faults with myself—they’re just doing their job, I’m the one who thinks what they do sucks when they charge me $16 for a money order or don’t let me withdraw money straight from the Tella’ Fella.
These problems are not with them, they are with me. But of course, while blaming ourselves is the easiest thing to do in some situations, it is the toughest to do in others.