If this little incident isn’t a total microcosm of the utter crap sandwich of the past two years–and counting–then I don’t know what is…
Last Sunday (the 5th), I went out to pay our rent. On the way down to the rental office, I stopped at the dumpster to unload some trash, and then swung by the mailboxes to pick up the mail. But I got so intent on the mail that I made it all the way back to the apartment before remembering that I hadn’t dropped off the rent and water checks. Durrr. So back to the office I went.
Fast-forward two days to Tuesday the 7th. Checking that morning, I saw that our rent and water checks had not yet cleared the bank. This was unusual, as our rental office is really efficient at getting our money into the bank with lightning speed. Furthermore, I had a nagging tingle at the back of the ol’ brain…because I didn’t actually remember dropping the rent checks through the mail slot after the office closed on the 5th.
So at work, I called the office. They checked, and said, no, they had no record of us paying our October rent or water bill, and unfortunately, since it was the 7th, a $47.65 late fee would have to be assessed. Shit. Well, my own fault, and I immediately called Wife Unit and asked her to run the checks by the office. She did, lesson learned, the checks cleared the bank on the 9th, end of story.
Until today at 4:45 pm.
That’s when the rental office lady called me, apologetically, and informed me that she had just found my other set of checks–the ones I couldn’t remember whether I’d put through the mail slot on the 5th–and deposited them. Only after she deposited them did she think to check whether we had a balance or not.
This left us, to put it politely, screwed. We’re going to Georgia in a few days for my wife’s biggest craft show of the year. This requires extensive money to rent a car (as neither of ours will make it), get gas, eat, pay for a motel, etc. With one swell foop of over a grand, not only would we not have money for most of that, but we would certainly overdraw and have no money whatsoever, other than cash, until next payday–next Friday.
So she talked to her manager, while I called Wife Unit. The apartment lady called back and said that no, they’d scanned the checks and they’d electronically gone on to the bank and couldn’t be cancelled out, and they couldn’t refund the money (you have checks, you have pens, WHY THE HELL NOT?), but she advised us to immediately put a stop payment on the two checks. Furthermore, because we did get the checks in on the 5th but they weren’t found until the 13th, she would credit the late fee on next month’s rent.
More fun–today’s Columbus Day, a bank holiday. I called our bank and got their automated system, which let me put a stop payment on the two checks in question, for a $30 fee–but according to Mr. Recorded Message, “if the checks are presented for payment today, the checks will be paid.”
So it all comes down to tomorrow morning. If the checks slipped in and don’t get stopped by the stop payment order, we have no money to get to Georgia, plus we get hammered for God-knows-how-many overdraft fees at $35 a crack. (At least we have overdraft protection?) And then we have to get the money back from an apartment company that says they “can’t” refund it…by Thursday at the latest. If the checks don’t clear and do get stopped, we get a nastygram from the apartment people that’s basically the literary equivalent of Guido coming to your door and saying “why youse ain’t payin’ Mista Corleone, eh?” We take that to the rental office and they make it go away…but then we have to see if we can get them to pay us the $30 stop payment fee back.
Oh, and if you’re curious just how they could lose two checks for a week? Apparently when I shoved them through the payment slot…they fell down and got hidden in a pile of brochures.
Yep. Hidden in a pile of brochures that were sitting under the after-hours pay drop. First time they’d ever seen that happen, the girl said.
Welcome to my world. How the fuck do I get off?