Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Screwed

I hate being screwed out of my money, even when I know full well it was a risk I willingly took. The problem is, sometimes you have to take those risks whether you want to or not.

Case in point: My son's preschool. I signed him up for this fall last spring paying a 50 dollar deposit fee and half of August tuition (60$) for a total of 110 dollars non refundable. I did this knowing full well that I would probably be moving to Arizona at least part way through the year if not before it began. But the reason I took this risk is because there was a small chance that we wouldn't have moved and I wanted Gabe to be in this good preschool that is generally hard to get into because they are so popular. Well, we found out that we would be moving in October, and traveling most of September, so it didn't make sense for him to start preschool for a few weeks and then be pulled out, so I more or less told his teacher that she could take him out of her class. Then the green-eyed monster visited me this morning (the day before he would be starting preschool), and I thought two things: 1--wouldn't it be nice if he went to preschool tomorrow and I could have a little break? Or 2--wouldn't it be nice to have that money back given the fact that I know they didn't have a problem finding someone to take his place?

And this is where the danger began. So I called and asked if I could in fact have that money back, and they of course said no (and don't think for a second that they didn't point out that I knew it was non-refundable when I paid it). So then I thought "well, if I have to pay, I should get something back in return, right?" So I then said that I would like to reinstate my Son, because if I paid the money for that slot, I should get it don't you agree? (I certainly did) and this sounds all reasonable and understandable until you factor in that I am now not only paying the non-refundable fee, but I am also now paying by losing my dignity minute by minute. So after what I am ashamed to admit was a long and argumentative phone call which ended in an "I'll get back to you" on her part, a funny thing happened. The keeper of my dignity began to reason with me (you see, it is her job to safe guard as much of my dignity as she possibly can, and trust me, it is a tough job that challenges her daily). "Is it worth it?" she wanted to know. And I said, "Hey, this is a hundred and ten dollars we are talking about!" And then she said, "But think of what you are going to have to go through to get your money's worth. You will have to see each of these women day in and day out, and not to mention how embarrassing it will be to admit to them that really you will be traveling all September and thereby not be in class much. Not to mention there's that 50 dollar early withdrawal fee that you would have to pay." To which I replied "True..." And then, because my keeper is prone to bargaining, she said, "I'll make you a deal. If you cut your losses right now, and call back and apologize for your behavior, you will not only safeguard the rest of your dignity, but you may just gain some back for being the bigger person." And I thought about it, and I thought about all the money I was loosing, and I finally had to agree that my keeper was right, you just can't put a price on dignity.

So I mustered up the courage and called to apologize, but I have to admit that I am still a bit irked. I'm sure they feel justified for making this fee non-refundable, but I can't help but feel that they are making out like bandits. It seems much more reasonable to say "Hey, this fee is non-refundable if we are unable to find a replacement, otherwise you get it back because we understand how much it sucks to be screwed out of your HARD EARNED MONEY that we have no business keeping when there was little to no hassle on our part to make that change."

But before I get all riled up again, I have to remember that I took the high ground, and that also, as much as it sucks, it is a part of life, and as much as I hate to be screwed out of my money, I hate even more being that person that just can't let go.