I Slept Through My Psychiatry Appointment and Other Ways I Lost Hundreds of Dollars in 2019
As this year comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting, as I often do, on one of life’s most important queries: Where has all my money gone? To be honest, I didn’t have much to lose to begin with, but I certainly had more than I do now.
As I examined 2019, I was struck by the large number of peculiar expensive events that have taken place over the past year. This wasn’t your average “I ordered thai delivery too many times” year (although I did), it was more a “my vacation rental was double booked and I had to find a last minute place from the driveway” type of year. This would be an easy place for me to say that in 2019 I had a difficult time “adulting,” but I refuse. I will not enter a new decade still recognizing “adult” as a verb. It is not a verb. It is a noun, and it describes humans age 60 or above. The rest of us are just idiots and it’s time we accept that.
I’ve decided to write down these events and investigate just how many of them were my fault and/or avoidable, and how many of them were pure bad luck. This is one of the first articles I’ve posted on here in a while that has not been satire, though I wish it were. Sadly, this is hard-hitting news; a true story about how one woman (me) lost large chunks of money in one year to circumstances that both were and were not her fault.
1. My Hipcamp was double booked.
If you don’t know what Hipcamp is, go read about it yourself I don’t have time to tell you. Despite this story, I actually love Hipcamp and would highly recommend it to all. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about.
For New Years Eve last year, my boyfriend and I decided to stay in a tiny house in the Santa Cruz mountains (I know that makes us sound like douchebags, but we’re not). My boyfriend ended up getting sick for most of December and half of January, so we decided to postpone. This was our first sign we should have just cut our losses and cancelled the trip. But we didn’t. We rescheduled (at no cost) for mid-January.
When we drove up the INCREDIBLY steep driveway to the tiny house, we noticed an extra car in the driveway but didn’t really think much of it. But when we got out and walked to the tiny house, we saw another couple behind the sliding glass doors. Hoping these two were just the ghosts of our Christmas past, I knocked on the door. The ghosts answered with confusion and told us they, too, had booked the house for the weekend. We showed each other our respective reservations on our phones and then stood there awkwardly. The female got her wide-brimmed hat and her fancy camera out of her bag, and I knew she was not going anywhere until she got her content. I gave in and we decided since they had gotten there first, we would have to be the ones to leave and figure it out.
Long story short, the owner of the property lived next door, so we rang her doorbell and told her what was up. She was mortified that she’d double booked the property (she’d never ever ever ever done that before, she said) and offered us a full refund. However, she didn’t have anywhere for us to stay except for a cabin that had yet to be renovated and had no heat and one cot. Deciding we didn’t want to be murdered freezing in the woods, we went back to the driveway and booked another last minute property I’d had bookmarked for the weekend. I got stuck in the driveway on the way out and finally we went to the new place. All in all everything worked out — the new place was beautiful and we spent most of the weekend inside — my boyfriend napping because he was still sick, as it turned out, and me reading by the fire. We did, however, lose about $80 total in renting the new place last minute.
Money spent/lost: ~$40 ($80 split between my bf and I). Not a lot at the beginning of the year, but as I’ve learned, that shit adds up.
Was it my fault: On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being not at all my fault and 10 being 100% my fault, I’d give it a 1/10.
2. I missed a psychiatrist appointment.
In the early months of 2019, I was desperately trying and failing to find a psychiatrist. This struggle calls for another article entirely and I won’t get into it now, but I’ll just say that process of asking for help with your mental health is sometimes more challenging than the mental health issue itself.
In March, I found what I thought could be a good psychiatrist.
I made an initial appointment for 9 AM on a Tuesday.
And then I slept through the appointment.
No big deal, I figured, I’ve missed doctors appointments before and usually the fee is about $50. Not this time — the fee for a missed appointment was TWO. HUNDRED. DOLLARS. More than double the cost of the appointment. I’m sorry, that’s just absurd and completely unnecessary. If I got charged $200 every time I was more than 15 minutes late for something…I would just add it to the hundreds of thousands of student loans I owe and pay it back until I die, like I’m going to be doing anyways.
Money spent/lost: $200
Was it my fault: Yeah I get it, it was KIND OF my fault since I overslept. But is it my fault that we live in a money hungry capitalist society that puts almost no emphasis on mental health services? I’ll say 7/10 my fault — the rest of the blame lying on our broken health care system and AMERICA.
3. My Airbnb host was evicted while I was out.
Airbnb, I still love you.
For the night of my sisters rehearsal dinner, my boyfriend and I booked a condo in a new luxury building on the Williamsburg waterfront. It was one of those places you can tell isn’t legally supposed to be used as an Airbnb, but it’s the Big Apple and anything goes.
Someone who was not the Airbnb host OR the guy who had been texting me all day about check-in let us into the property. He said he was the rental manager. Sure. There were some notices on the door saying the tenant was due in court. We glanced at them and thought huh, sucks to be that guy, but whatever. It’s not uncommon for people to use Airbnb to make ends meet, and we weren’t too concerned.
Later that night, I got a phone call from a friend who was also staying with us at the property. She was headed back to the condo before us and I’d given her instructions on how to get in. Apparently, upon arriving at the building, she’d been told by the man at the front desk that the tenant whose unit we were staying in had just received his final eviction notice that day and it was FORBIDDEN for anyone to enter the room. She literally had to beg to be allowed upstairs to retrieve her bag we’d brought up for her. She then arranged to stay with a friend that night.
At this point, I was still at my sister’s rehearsal dinner because that’s why I was there and it was about 11 PM. I logged onto Hotel Tonight while my boyfriend texted our Airbnb contact. We were able to snag a last minute room in an INCREDIBLE hotel at a super low price (no, this is not a sponsored ad for HotelTonight, we just got a sick deal), and as we headed back to grab out stuff the Airbnb host responded. He said, and I quote, “Wow I’m so sorry, I’ll get in touch with the owner.” BRO, THEN WHO THE F ARE YOU??
We snuck past the security guard in order to go up to the original spot to grab our stuff, and sure enough, there were a few more “final notices” on the door. The door was also halfway open which made me feel very good about all my belongings, including my laptop, being inside. Luckily it was all accounted for. We took a bajillion pictures of the notices and got the heck out.
The hotel ended up upgrading us when we told them our saga and the room was the nicest I’ve been in in a while. After the weekend was over, I contacted Airbnb, flagged the condo profile, and made sure I got a lot of money back. We were able to get a full refund and half the cost of our hotel covered. It was more than I thought I’d get, but we still ended up losing money in the end. Luckily it was the best wedding of my or anyone's life, so it was easy to forget about the small hiccup, and it was a great party story. I don’t know what happened to the dude who was trying to rent out his place until the absolute LAST minute, but I have to commend him on his boldness.
Money spent/lost: About $125 each after everything.
Was it my fault: 0/10!!!
4. I had to pay for damage on a car I rented from Getaround.
If you don’t know what Getaround is, you’ll once again have to do your own research. I’m not going to link to them here because they are my mortal enemy and I want 0% affiliation with them.
This one really gets my blood boiling. I used Getaround for quite some time and was a huge fan — cheap rental cars nearby, no annoying guy at a counter grilling you about insurance or placing a bajillion dollar security hold on your card — what’s not to love? I have also been warned about using Getaround by a lot of people. The platform leaves a lot of room for ambiguity when it comes to damages and liability. No big thang I figured, I’m a safe driver and the insurance provided by Getaround combined with my credit card insurance should be more than sufficient. WRONGO.
This Spring, I rented a car for about an hour for a small errand. I returned the car at about 1 pm in the afternoon, locked up, and said farewell. The app asks if you’d like to submit photos of the vehicle when you return the car but it is NOT REQUIRED to check out. I did not take the photos. Guys. LISTEN TO ME. TAKE THE PHOTOS. TAKE. THE. PHOTOS.
One month later I get an email detailing damage done to the vehicle and the estimates to fix it. I was very confused and panicked, and I tried to contact Getaround customer service on the phone. They were able to do very little for me and advised me to go online to the help center. This began a month long email exchange with someone named “Charm” in which he was as unhelpful as a robot (I think he might have been?)
What happened became clear based on the pictures: Someone had hit the car between the time I returned it and the time the owner checked on it that evening. I’d returned it under the sunny light of day and the photos of the damage were taken when it was very dark out. There were some scratches and a dented fender. Naturally, as I was the last one with the car, the blame was put on me. I like to consider myself a decent human and would never in 10,000 years return a car with a dented fender on purpose, mostly because that would be dumb. It was also enough damage that I wouldn’t have just “not seen it” upon returning the car. It was also obviously damage that occurs when someone is trying to parallel park and hits your car. Which is common in that neighborhood. BUT WHATEVER.
All I had to go on was my word because I DIDN’T TAKE THE PICTURES at check out. The damage, in my humble opinion, did not warrant a visit to the car repair shop. Maybe for the fender to be fixed, but this guy also got his side door REPLACED because of a long scratch on it. REPLACED. I’m sorry, but if you’re the type of person to replace an entire door because of a scratch, you are probably not the type of person who needs my money to do so. But, per Getaround’s terms, the owner was under no obligation to contact the renter. He never reached out to me, not even upon discovering the damage just to ask what happened. Not what I would have done, but okay.
At the end of the day, it was my innocent lil’ word against this guys stupid photos of his damaged car and Charm’s useless recitation of the Getaround terms and conditions. I had to pay $750 and was very pleased that this incident coincided with the opening of my new credit card, because no way in hell could I have payed that out of pocket. On the bright side, the payment helped me reach my bonus 50,000 miles that much faster. Thanks for the trip to Europe, Charm.
Money spent/lost: $750
Was it my fault: Kinda, yeah, I GET IT OKAY. I should have taken pictures of the vehicle when I returned it. I will never make that mistake again. NEVER EVER EVER. I also will never use Getaround again. But also, this situation was ridiculous and I don’t want to take full blame for it because I did not damage the car. So I’ll meet you halfway. 5/10