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For Just a Few Dollars, a Big TV and Years of Debt

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by weswelker#83, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. weswelker#83

    weswelker#83 Rookie

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    First thing Friday morning, before anyone showed up to rent a television for the Super Bowl, Deborah Williams walked in the door of the Rent-A-Center store under the Broadway el in Bushwick, Brooklyn. She was delivering $109 in cash, her February payment for a 27-inch television that she is buying over time.

    If she does not miss any payments, she will own the television by the summer, for a total of about $900. Such televisions can be bought retail for well under $400, but that would require more money than Deborah Williams can put her hands on at one time.

    This is a big week in the television rental business. Fliers were slipped under the doors at the Astoria Houses in Queens that urged people to hurry to the Rent-A-Center on Steinway Street so they could have a big new TV for the football game. Among the offers was a 40-inch Bravia, with payments of $47.51 a week. In 117 weeks, the customer would own the set outright, for $5,558.

    If this were set up as a loan, the interest rate would be 71 percent and illegal under the usury laws. But this deal is called “rent to own.” In all other particulars, it is much like a subprime mortgage for pull-out sofas and television sets.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/02/nyregion/02about.html?ref=nyregion



    71% Wake up sheeple!
  2. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I don't know anything about what the laws are but there's no law against stupidity. That's why I just laugh when I hear about "predatory lenders" when it's all about "stupid borrowers".
  3. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Yeah, NEM, I just buy what I can afford. Am I poor ? No. But neither am I rich. And I live to my means. My car is almost 10 years old. My house could be afforded by someone making a decent amount less than me. I don't go on any vacations that I can't drive to. I'm not heartless and uncaring, I am just smart enough to live with what I've got - unlike too many people, I'm afraid.
  4. weswelker#83

    weswelker#83 Rookie

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    Actually, may be she is a lot smarter than you think; may be she factored into her decision the devaluation of the dollar, and calculated that she is getting today a tv that she is paying with tomorrow's (cheaper) dollars; at the end of the day she might be ahead of the rest of us who stupidly save our money... (the sad part is that I am not quite sure whether I am kidding or not)

    Where the rest of society is failing these people is in education. These are typically people who didn't have parents that helped them understand the difference between needs and wants, examine offers and advertisements critically, and save up rather than spend. Those are important values for the lower and middle classes, that when passed on successfully, help people get ahead in life.

    So schools should be doing a better job of educating kids about managing their money, and not being sucked in by the messages of conspicuous consumption. And social agencies should be helping the impoverished and working poor to prioritize, in addition to helping them locate the actual items they need.

    You can outfit a kitchen at a place like Salvation Army or Goodwill for under $20. Sure, you'll have mismatching plates and dinnerware, the most basic kind of pot and pan, but it's enough to make do with. Same with outfitting a bedroom or livingroom: you can get a very basic used bed and couch and table and so on for typically under a couple hundred bucks.

    It's not as simple as either telling people "get a job", OR throwing money at ineffective social programs. You need to work with people, engage them, and help them make the positive changes in their life and give them the mental tools they need to set themselves on a path towards self-sufficiency.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2008
  5. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    Some people are just stupid. Some business' are just fugging evil. I'm with Wes on this one in this sense, instead of teaching kids some propoganda based ciriculum, why not teach kids how to balance a check book, some simple basics on managing personal finances, and the ins and outs of credit. I think a couple of classes on this stuff would go a long way into helping people when they got out of school, and into the Real World.

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