Saturday, September 8, 2007

Flushing money down the toilet

I rode an NYC bus for the first time in 20 years. Seriously - the last time I rode I was 5. It was easier to get to M on the UWS that way then via subway. I caught the M4 at Madison and 70-something and 40 minutes later, I was two blocks from her house. When I first got on the bus, the machine where you drop your MetroCard is a bit daunting. It eats it for a second and then gives it back. They need a sticker on the bus that says "It's ok - you'll get it back!" because my breath caught in my throat and I thought I'd lost my 30-day unlimited ride. Yeesh.

I also sat behind a couple who was totally putting on a show, making out for the world to see. It would be one thing if they were teenagers but this couple was easily in their 30s, maybe even their 40s. I wanted to pour my water bottle on them. I'm all for love but I'm not all for PDGs (public displays of grossness). As soon as a seat in front of them opened up I moved away.

Once I made it, M and I went around the corner to the storage facility. I had priced out units during the week and it looked like we could get a unit that held (according to the site) 12 medium boxes and two clothing bags for $50/mo on special. Totally doable at $25/each per month.

It had either been converted from a firehouse or an old carriage house; she and I had trouble deciding which. We spoke to the front desk attendant who was very nice. He explained the process to get into the building (security, storage renters have an access card) and took us upstairs to show us units. We went to the 5th floor and walked past the closets at the front (too expensive) to the back, which looked like a closed-in warehouse. M said 'this is where horror movies are filmed.' Great. I'll never shake that now!

Each bay had three units up with a stairway to reach the top, and about 10 units deep. The lowest level hit at my waist, the second level went from my waist to over my head (but I could open it without using the ladder) and the third level had to be reached by ladder. We saw the double-wide, half-height unit that I thought was the one we'd priced online on the first level. M and I loved it. It was a great size.

Me - "So we were quoted $50 a month..."
M - "Right, is this the $50/month unit?"
Guy - "Oh no this one is...(checks)...$141/month."
Me - "No way. No frickin way."
M - "That's totally out of our range."

We asked to see the $50/mo unit, and it was tiny. It was half the size of the double-wide we'd seen. I have a hard time believing it was what we saw on the site. There was no way 12 medium-sized boxes would fit in there! Plus it was on the third level, meaning we'd have to climb up every time we wanted to put something in or take it out. M wanted to store her air conditioner among other things. I pitied the thought of her boyfriend having to climb the stairs.

Me - Sigh. "Do you have anything in the bottom two levels in our range?"
Guy - "OK, well what is your range?"
Me - "Less is more."
M - "Yeah, definitely under $100/mo."

The guy checked his sheet, and took us down to the 2nd floor. After walking through a maze of units, we arrived at a unit just like the first one we'd seen but on the second level. Thank goodness M and I are both tall. The only difference was price - this one was $93/mo since it was on the 2nd level instead of the first. M and I nodded to each other and decided to get it.

They waived the security fee if we did automatic debits, so M signed up for the unit and I was named an authorized user. There was a credit check fee and an application fee for a total of $20. The guy gave us three keys to the unit itself plus two keys to the lock on the unit. M got a door card and we had to pay $10 for a card for me. You are also required to have insurance on the unit at $9/mo.

So, in total, due on signing:
- security deposit (waved) $0
- first month's storage fee $93
- credit check/application fee $13
- extra access card fee $10
- required insurance $9
- TOTAL $125

As we walked out, I told M I was disappointed we were paying double what we originally planned. She didn't seem concerned, but the more I thought about it the more angry I got. $50 per person per month to store crap! I'm going to use it for my moving boxes and my out-of-season clothes and decorations. Still, it seems like a waste. Then again, there was a couple who were renting a second unit because their first one was full. This is just how life is in NYC she said. I think if I wasn't so tight on cash right now I wouldn't care.

The good news I went through my first living-in-NYC paycheck with no problems. I bought some needed stuff for my apartment and still had some cash left over. I'm adding two new bills for sure - cable/internet/phone and the $^&@# storage facility and would like to add one more - the gym! NYSC is running a deal right now where you can join for $33. I'd like to negotiate that down to zero if I can.

Tomorrow is going to be the suck - first Sunday of football and me with no cable. I'm going to try to make it to a bar or something. Ugh. I'm trying not to think about the college football and NASCAR I missed today. Or how many "What Not to Wear"s and "Property Ladders"s I've missed on TLC. I am such a media whore.

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