Why poor people stay poor

I’m sure more than a few of us can relate, yes?

I once lost a whole truck over a few hundred bucks. It had been towed, and when I called the company they told me they’d need a few hundred dollars for the fee. I didn’t have a few hundred dollars. So I told them when I got paid next and that I’d call back then.

It was a huge pain in the ass for those days. It was the rainy season, and I wound up walking to work, adding another six miles or so a day to my imaginary pedometer. It was my own fault that I’d been towed, really, and I spent more than a couple hours ruing myself. I finally made it to payday, and when I went to get the truck, they told me that I now owed over a thousand dollars, nearly triple my paycheck. They charged a couple hundred dollars a day in storage fees. I explained that I didn’t have that kind of money, couldn’t even get it. They told me that I had some few months to get it together, including the storage for however long it took me to get it back, or that they’d simply sell it. They would, of course, give me any money above and beyond their fees if they recovered that much.

I was working two jobs at the time. Both were part time. Neither paid a hundred bucks a day, much less two.

Anything can make you lose your apartment, because any unexpected problem can set off that Rube Goldberg device.
I wound up losing my jobs. So did my husband. We couldn’t get from point A to point B quickly enough, and we showed up to work, late, either soaked to the skin or sweating like pigs one too many times. And with no work, we wound up losing our apartment.

It’s amazing what things that are absolute crises for me are simple annoyances for people with money. Anything can make you lose your apartment, because any unexpected problem that pops up, like they do, can set off that Rube Goldberg device.

It’s a traumatic story and I don’t want to relive it in any detail, but a couple of weeks ago, my car got towed. Illegally. I finally got it back several hours later, but if not for the help of a friendly cop, I would have had to cough up $250 to get my car back. Which was not as bad as my car being stolen – the very thought had me gasping for breath. I’ve taken such good care of this car — how on earth could I afford another one that’s in as good a condition as this one? Thankfully, I didn’t have to.

But I’m always in the shadow. You know?

2 thoughts on “Why poor people stay poor

  1. It’s the modern American business model, isn’t it? One wrong step and we’ll take everything you own.

  2. Or more accurately, just be vulnerable for a moment . . . and we’ll take everything you have. Maybe even your life . . .

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