In late June of this year I realized I was going to have to go and get another night job to compliment the daytime job I already had or I was going to be broke as hell. I scored another gig in July. I didn't get any tips from anywhere for the entire week of training. I was counting on a couple of hundred dollars for the training but I didn't get a training check. Someone in the office had fucked up and all my hourly wages were withheld to the IRS. This here paragraph pretty much sums up what happened. If you're fascinated and can't get enough, I urge you to (re-)read the most recent previous episode of These American Servers™, "THIS IS NOT A CHECK." But wait, there's more.
I know I was cutting it close but the training check for about $200 would've made it so that I'd have enough to pay August's rent. Not getting it meant I wouldn't have enough. I had to think of something. What I came up with was pretty unsavory.
First, I went to a neighborhood storefront called 24/7 Financial™, or something like that. I don't really know how their business model works, I just went there because it's near my crib. It's one of those legal-in-some-states establishments that prey on poor people. I don't really consider myself poor but right then I guess I was.
They didn't seem to have anything palatable to offer me so I went to one of those cash for titles places where they loan you money in exchange for you letting them hold your vehicle's title. I'd used the services of one of these places before, an off-brand one that time, way back in the mid-90's. I know I borrowed $500 and got done with them in about two months or so. Other than that I don't remember too much about it.
I knew where a TitleMax® location was, just a few miles down the road, and I went there. I wanted to know what I'd need to bring with me should I decide to make the deal with them, which I was pretty sure I would. I talked to a very nice, cute young woman named Monique. She told me that my title looked good and what else I'd need to make the deal; a recent light bill, evidence of car insurance, shit like that. I told her I'd probably be back soon.
A couple of days later I returned, with everything Monique had said I'd need. She was off that day so I dealt with someone else. No problem, but I like Monique a lot better. I was approved for up to a couple of thousand dollars but only asked for $175. I was informed that the loan had to be in one hundred dollar increments so I got $200, $30 of which I gave back immediately as my first payment.
I went back about two weeks later and made another payment. Monique was there this time. A couple of weeks after that, through a lot of good fortune and a little hustle on my part, I had enough to pay off the whole thing. I went to see Monique one last time. We closed everything out, she thanked me and invited me to return. I told her she'd been great and thanked her for making an unpleasant ordeal a little more bearable, but that I hoped I'd never have a reason to return. I'd gotten my title back from TitleMax.
I could have worked more during the first half of this year. If I had, I wouldn't have needed TitleMax. If work hadn't of screwed up my withholding, I'd have been OK. I felt kind of scummy and ghetto going to a cash for titles place until I thought of how many of my friends and co-workers (a lot), some of whom I hold in high regard, patronize these kinds of places regularly and who the fuck do I think I am anyway?
I got a loan of, really, less than $200. I paid it back in a little over a month. With the interest, TitleMax made about a $70 profit and my wallet feels like it's spent some quality time in a Georgia bathroom with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. And you know how they drive your whip around the block to make sure it runs OK? The fatass store manager knocked the moulding on the door a little loose when he drove my car. Oh, well. Nobody forced me to go there but I still don't have to like it.
If you have any thoughts about the cash for titles industry and related services, be they good or bad, I'd love it if you'd share them with me and These American Servers™. In fact, I'd be downright thankful! Have a good one everybody.