Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Walmart's Honeyed Trap for the Terminally Stupid and Socially Unconscious
Look, I get that Layaway looks really attractive this time of year, especially to the millions of alleged "Christians" out there who think that the best (only) way to celebrate the birth of the Lord and Savior of the Universe who 33 years later was Crucified for Our Sins is to buy as much cheap crap as possible and wrap it in pretty paper and stick it under a soon-to-be-dead tree. But there is so much wrong with this concept. I'll just hit on a few things that annoy me the most;
First- as Christmas gets closer, the sales tend to get better. This happens because retailers get nervous as the Big Day arrives and realize that no matter how much they trim their profit margins, they are still better off doing that than trying to unload all this junk AFTER the holiday. So putting something on layaway in the first week of October is actually pretty damned stupid- do you really think that Walmart is going to run out of that item, or that it's price is going to go up? No, probably not, because that would require some actual thinking. Which brings us to....
Second, Layaway may have been invented with all of the best and most noble of intentions (yeah, like Aarons and Rent A Center were started because someone felt that people with crap credit had a "right" to laptops, living room sets and big-screen tvs.) But now it's really just a come-on designed to encourage poor people to overspend. Look, just pick out all the stuff you want but can't afford, we'll set it aside for you and you'll just pay a little per week! With luck, you won't even NOTICE the bottom line (and if you are an Aaron's or Rent A Center customer, you are already good at ignoring it anyway) and what you've done to your family's food and rent security won't really hit home until the second week in January (around the same time you lug that browning tree to the curb.) Bottom line- if you can only afford to buy something if you put it on layaway, you really can't afford to buy it. Sounds mean, maybe- but not as mean as convincing you to go into hock so you show well for your kids.
Finally- hey, people? This is Walmart. Everything except the big bags of candy and maybe the shampoo is crap. The low prices on electronics and clothing are covered with the invisible blood of the Asian children who slave to put it together so you can walk off with more stuff and the heirs of Sam Walton can afford another chain of South Pacific Islands and still leave enough cash when they're dead so that the next descendant who actually has to work for a living is born around the year 3500. How about celebrating the holiday by doing something other than reveling in the exploitation of people you'll never see but who (inconveniently for your soul's sake) exist nonetheless?