California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

Experience overshadows bank account

Illustration by Dina Arakcheyeva/The Pioneer

Illustration by Dina Arakcheyeva/The Pioneer

Veronica Hall,
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There are some things in life you just can’t get out of. Coming from a queen of catting off, I’m really good at flaking on people. But when it came to my best friend’s birthday, I couldn’t bring myself to do it this time, even though I had a legitimate reason.

I’m broke.

Her birthday fell on a Friday, so it was no surprise that she wanted to go clubbing. I was excited at first and then reality slapped me in the face: my rent was due the next day. I cringed at the thought of getting her a gift, buying an outfit, drinks, and all the other expenses that come with a night out.

I did not have enough funds to go out and even worse, I didn’t have my rent money either. I made a stupid decision to check my debit card balance and almost cried when I saw the $2.41 balance, and I knew I had to make some moves to salvage the night. After all, my best friend only turns 22 one time.

First, I started with her gift, which actually turned out to be the art of regifting with the power of exchange. At my job’s staff party, I won two $50 gift cards for Cheesecake Factory in a raffle. Having two separate gift cards gave me the chance to sell one for cash and give one as a gift. Selling the gift card gave me a little over $40 which was perfect to buy drinks and overall worked out swimmingly.

Next came the more time-consuming process of getting a respectable outfit together. I have a section in my closet which I refer to as the depths where I store old clothes and things I try on, but never wear. I dug deep to find an outfit none of my friends have seen me in prior. While I would have loved to get some new clothes for the event, I made due with what I had.

When Friday arrived, I was feeling good. I had a gift, outfit, and some cash to spend.

Everyone got ready at the hotel that my friend got for us with the purpose of pre-gaming and sleeping afterward. I was in the bathroom for a majority of the time, getting my hair done by another friend and doing my make up. When I went to gather my stuff and noticed my wallet was out on the bed. I was confused and when I opened it up, all my cash was gone.

My friend, the birthday girl who was getting ready in the bathroom with me, checked her stuff and found that her money was missing too. Nobody came in the room, meaning someone present stole our money. In this hotel room full of alleged friends, the whole atmosphere changed. It went from a party to a criminal investigation. We dumped out everyone’s stuff, and looked everywhere but found nothing.

Since I was in the bathroom most of the night, I had no proof. I was at a loss for words. My money, which I spent all week trying to come up with, had vanished.

I felt bad for myself but I felt even worse for my best friend who was trying to celebrate her birthday. Instead, she was betrayed by someone she knew and thought was a friend. Our real friends insisted on going out and paying for our drinks but we both knew it wasn’t going to be that fun with the thought of our stolen money on our minds.

However, spirits were somewhat lifted once we went out and people paid for our drinks, rounds of shots, and more since we were a big group celebrating a birthday. We twerked like nothing was wrong and enjoyed the attention as DJs shouted my friend’s name and the bartender generously poured shots.

While money isn’t everything, it can make or break a lot of circumstances, especially when going to a club or bar. The situation put a damper on the night, but I was glad to enjoy the free aspects like gossiping in the bathroom, talking to new people, and going dumb with my girls.

My friend wanted my presence at the celebration of her birthday and I’m glad I was able to be there for her. I can’t say I know how to go out on budget, but I can tell you what it’s like to be broke. It’s not great, but it will give you a different outlook on what you’re spending money on and what’s really important in the grand scheme of life. Money comes and money goes, but friendships and experiences endure.

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California State University East Bay
Experience overshadows bank account