I Said No to Some Things And It Felt Great

I had some new experiences on Saturday, and I’d like to tell you about them. I was the first person to show up for breakfast, was one new experience.  I looked at a minibar tray of candy and didn’t even consider eating any of it, was another. And the biggest one of all: I cancelled an ATM transaction because the fee was too high.

Punctual brunch happened because I overestimated the amount of time it would take me to get to breakfast WHILE AT THE SAME TIME my friend underestimated. It was  a great confluence of events. Being early is super. I’m going to try it more often.

The minibar resistance occurred after breakfast. We went back to my friend’s fancy hotel so that I could marvel at its fanciness (it was fancy). While hanging out in her hotel room, looking at prominently placed minibar, I recalled another minibar of my life, and thought about how far I’d come. Then, I’d eaten expensive M&Ms  and thought, I’ll deal with this later. Now I looked at the expensive M&Ms and snubbed them. 

Did I still want the M&Ms? Some M&Ms, sure. But those M&Ms, no. I had no urge to grab the bag. The “touch sensitive device” that “automatically charged … any item removed from minibar for more than 20 seconds” may as well have been threatening to blow the room up, is how much I didn’t even think of eating those M&Ms. “I don’t even want that candy,” I said to Lisa. “Me either. Though I do want to experiment with the touch-sensitive device.” She grabbed the bag of M&Ms from its touch-sensitive perch and put it on the counter. “But what if it charges you?” “I’ll pay $5 for science.” I thought this to be crazy. And then I realized how crazy it was that I thought it was crazy. Five dollars was NOTHING, my former self thought. But now … it was crazy. For candy or for science.

On the way out I stopped at the ATM in the lobby of the fancy hotel so I could have funds in case of an emergency (ice cream truck,  cocktail, cab ride). I swiped my card,  and indicated I wanted $60. And then: “This ATM charges a fee of $3.95 in addition to any charges from your financial institution.”

I paused. Could I do it? I was just one push of a button away from having $60 in my hands and not having to find another ATM, but: I COULD NOT DO IT. I cancelled my transaction. Who would pay that, you might wonder. Well, me, up until that moment. If you’re going to pay $2 plus the $1 from your own bank, $4 plus the dollar from your own bank is actually quite negligible, one might argue. And also probably everyone sitting in the lobby of the hotel. They all looked European and rich as hell.

I didn’t get the cash. I didn’t buy the ice cream. I walked along Central Park East and then I went to the Met, because it showed up right in front of me. Suggested admission is $25. The lady asked the dude in front of me, “Is $25 alright?” He said, “Yes.” I would have said, “No,” but bypassed the question by walking up to the counter and saying, “I’d like to pay $5.”  I handed over my card, got my button, and went to see some art. I didn’t think about M&Ms the rest of the day. Later, in a bar across town, I used an ATM with a $1.95 service charge. Some might still cringe at that, but for me, right now, it felt fine.


16 Comments / Post A Comment

Megano! (#124)

“The “touch sensitive device” that “automatically charged … any item removed from minibar for more than 20 seconds””
Jesus Christ is this true!?
Also I almost never get money from a foreign atm unless I ABSOLUTELY have to, which is rarely. Like not ever, not since I’ve had my own bank account. And I don’t think my bank even charges me also anymore.

Lily Rowan (#70)

@Megano! Oh yeah — if you can’t resist picking something up and then putting it back, you have to convince the front desk that the thing is actually still there so they don’t charge you $15 for a bag of nuts. Or whatever.

ElBlynx (#499)

@Megano! Once my mom wanted to use the fridge so she took out everything, used it for her stay, and then put everything back inside. Little did she know that it was touch sensitive and she was shocked when the hotel charged her $$$ at checkout. Luckily she was able to prove she didn’t eat and drink the entire minibar!

@ElBlynx oh god when a bag of m&m’s costs $5 … that bill must have been horrifying.

wearitcounts (#772)

i am so with you on this! i’ve been working REALLY hard to not spend frivolously, set limits, say no to things because i REALLY AND TRULY DO NOT HAVE MONEY, and it does feel great! better than i thought it would feel.

better than i felt after many of the things i’ve said yes to in the past, and then not had money for things i really needed.

kellyography (#250)

I HAVE to know if the touch sensitive device worked and charged your friend.


Dancercise (#94)

I’m imagining an Indian Jones-esque scenario, with a similarly-weighted item in one hand and the M&Ms in the other.

AlliNYC (#1,725)

@Dancercise I would even want to do a full M&M switch… swap the minibar bag with a bag I bought for $1 at a bodega, just to SEE if the $5 m&ms taste better. They probably do.

ennaenirehtac (#199)

Yes, more articles reporting on little victories! They are energizing.

monteig (#2,100)

I’m sorry, but “Central Park East” is not a thing. That would be 5th Avenue.

But good job on the ATM fee, that is a fight I often lose.

MaliceMunro (#1,692)

Applies to my life so much–not just in terms of money, but in terms of saying yes to everything and overextending myself in general.

ElBlynx (#499)

My FCU reimburses up to 12 ATM fees per month and it has saved me so much time and my husband at least $100 as he was not as diligent as me at using his previous bank’s ATMs. As long as laundromats still require quarters which requires cash money, I can use any ol’ atm without having to worry about the ridiculous fees.

Yay Logan! My current goals to reduce spending are riding my bike instead of driving or busing and making big meals to eat leftovers. Poco a poco…

MegFro (#2,105)

Way to go! I’m so proud of you. I also want to know more about these fancy, smancy minibars.

Trilby (#191)

I can totally get behind not buying things. Sometimes I go shopping and come back and annmounce “I just saved hundreds of dollars– I didn’t buy anything!”

bloodorange (#105)


sorry, I got a little excited there

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