Can the Kmart Layaway TV Ad Be Your Credit Card Warning Sign? [Consumer]

by on October 9, 2010

in consumer

When Credit Cards are the Evil!

From a pragmatic marketing point of view, the client being Kmart, the TV ad where the consumer is given the opportunity to buy what she wants via layaway is saying it is OK to come shop here.  We’ll give you a chance to still buy what you want, even if you don’t have all the money yet.

I think the premise of a layaway plan, when I first used one some twenty plus years ago, was awesome.  I didn’t have the cash, but I “wanted” my item badly.  And I was instilled by the marketing campaign that if I didn’t grab it up, I would lose it to someone else.

Back then I didn’t have credit cards and lived by cash alone.  This was perfect.  I went to the store, put my money down and they stashed my item for me.  Every week I came back with money and after so many weeks, I walked out of that store a very happy camper.

In this instance, layaway was good. But…

Is Kmart Instilling Bad Credit Card Practices?

But let’s take a close look at this Kmart Layaway TV ad for a moment, can we?

First off, Kmart has posted their ad on YouTube and titled it Shopping Math – Kmart Layaway.  I’m cringing and you’ll see why in a moment, not to mention I’m not sure I could have a job that helps precipitate the juggling of one’s credit.

The shopper obviously wants something and cranks open the purse-wallet.  I believe she’s eyeballing the Wii that’s in her cart already…

I can do a little cash, $50 on this card and…” she’s interrupted before she can finish the sentence by her friend who reminds her that she can use Kmart Layaway.  I have to presume she was about to do continued math about what other credit cards she could spread the money across.

Now who here that is reading this article, thinks this Kmart Layaway television commercial is sad?

Here’s what I’m seeing:  The woman is already stretched to her limit and doesn’t have the cash.  Who cares how she got here?  I’m going to presume the economy has bitten another victim.  Though she doesn’t have the cash, she can’t even put a single purchase on a single credit card.  Could this be a warning sign folks?  I think so.  She wants to buy a Wii.  If you’re strapped for cash, I’m thinking necessities first, but that’s must me.  I could be wrong here!

What I’m seeing is that she’s in such a screwed up financial situation that she HAS to use layaway.  And Kmart would allow her to add yet one more financial responsibility to her already distressed monthly financial situation.

Layaway isn’t a bad thing, but in this case, this is the consumer’s bad move and abusing the ability to use layaway.  You don’t want to get to this situation if you can help it.

Having a credit card or two is not a bad thing.  If you don’t abuse them, they can establish a form of credit for you, the consumer.  The best way to use them is to use them to purchase something then go home and send them the money to the creditor for what you just bought.  You’re showing good credit use and you get added protection for your purchases.  Plus you’re not getting screwed over with interest rates that draw out the cost of a purchase.

When it comes to a point that you have to use a credit card, for no matter what it is, and you can’t pay off that amount, you need to review your situation and without making excuses, explain to yourself how you got here and if you’re on a bad path or not.  You need to address these questions honestly so you don’t get deeper in.  It’s easy to make excuses and make it seem like it’s OK.  But don’t fool yourself, it’s not.

A plan that you derive to get yourself back on track, is on you.  But don’t make any brash decisions without thorough research.  Not all credit consolidation or Debt Settlement orgs have your best interest at heart.  Me, if I had to scramble to deal with debt, I’d do something to make extra money to tackle it promptly.  A 2nd job instead of kicking it with friends and family is one short sacrifice versus the years of being burdened, but that’s just one thought off the top of my head.  There are plenty other ideas out there.  Do you have any?

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