I was summoned for jury duty for the first time ever last week. I actually always thought it would be an interesting process, but now I know why everyone whines. I had to wake up too dang early, it was boring, and I wasn’t even needed (happy about that one though).
It’s been a while since I had to commute anywhere with the morning traffic, so the hour it took to get from my home to downtown Houston sucked hard. But I arrived, parked in the correct garage, found the Jury Plaza rooms, and settled in by 7:50am.
Other than handing in my summons, reading the obvious rules in about a minute, and watching an obvious 5 minute video about serving, we were pretty much left to our own from 8am to 9:30am. From 9:30am on, the clerk would come in occasionally and type in a range of numbers to display on the video screens. If your number fell within that range, you would follow the appropriate bailiff to court.
My number was included at about 10am. We met in a group with the bailiff, acknowledged our names, and followed him across the street to Court Room 9. Then we just stood in the hall for 30 minutes. At about 11am, it was announced that the case was settled and we could all go home. Yay!
I understand that jury duty is a necessary evil and one of my civic duties, but next time I will prepare way better.
What to Bring
I saw people way smarter than me. Here is what I will bring next time:
- Bottle of water – I was so thirsty and their snack bar was expensive. I kept visiting the water fountain.
- Snacks – I brought a couple of packages of trail mix, but I wish I had packed a sandwich.
- A jacket – The room was cold and I was in short sleeves…yuck.
- A great book – I got really, really bored once my laptop died.
- Paperwork – If I had brought some of the stuff I had been putting off at home, I would have had it all wrapped up by now.
- My laptop – I would bring it again but make sure to only use it to write up posts like this so I do not run its battery out as quickly.
The Money Aspect
And since this is a personal finance blog, does anyone else think it is severely odd that you are only paid $6 for the first day of jury service? At least, that is what they pay here. That means they pretty much will pay me $6 to reimburse the $6 I paid for parking for the day. The toll roads and gas aren’t covered, so I just think the random $6 is odd. I mean, yay for having parking reimbursed (not complaining), but odd none-the-less.
And if I was selected for a jury, I would be bringing in $28 a day for that. Where they get that number, I have no idea. Overall, anyone looking for a career in jury service would be severely disappointed, lol.
Have you been summoned yet? What have I forgotten?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!