I am a teacher, and I work at the same school my son attends. Earlier this week, he was goofing around and stepped on a teacher's school iPad. I only partially blame my son. He shouldn't have been running through her office. But, why she had her iPad, without a case, laying on the floor in front of the door, I will never figure out.
Anyway, she was pissed. And came storming to me, expecting me to be as furious as she was. Well, I wasn't. Shit happens. I told her that it was fine, just tell the tech department that my son was responsible, and I will take care of it. She was decidedly unsatisfied with my casual disregard to her emotional response, but she quickly realized that it was the only response I would give.
I spoke with my son. He was devastated. He never meant for it to happen. He swore that he would pay for it. I told him that it might be $600, that it was an accident, and it was only partly his fault. I said he could help me clean the yard to make up for it, but I wasn't going to have him drain his savings to repay it. He has like $50-$60 saved up from birthdays and events. He saves about half of what he gets, and doesn't have an allowance. So, that takes a while to build up.
Anyway, none of that is the real point. I go down to talk to the tech person about what I owe. Figure I can just reconfigure my budget to cash flow it, even if it was the full replacement cost.
"Oh, it was $85."
"But, don't worry. You are a teacher, so you can make payments."
WTF? Payments on an $85 bill? I pointed out how insane that would be. She told me that a lot of teachers and staff don't have $85 just laying around. Not her, of course, but she would still want payments so she didn't have to lose that $85 all at once.
I don't even understand that. How do people survive when they can't swing an unexpected bill under $100? Heck, I had an expensive as hell week (emergency vet bills over $700) and expected this to be up to $600 and wasn't even sweating it. Worst would be having to move a little cash from savings and reduce some unnecessary spending for the next month. And that's to handle something I thought might be 20 times as high.